113th Annual Conference - Portland, Oregon
Friday, November 6 - Sunday, November 8, 2015

The Fall and Rise of the Myth of La Llorona

Alexis Wong, California State University at Los Angeles

A shedding of light on the formerly debilitating myth of La Llorona.


Although the tragic myth of La Llorona can be traced back to several colloquial stories, contemporary authors have recreated the myth of the crying woman to represent not a one-dimensional character, but a more complex figure. The faulty foundation as to what La Llorona was created and based upon could be argued as a justification for abnormal female mental, physical and/or emotional health states. Authors in the past may have relied on the character and myth of La Llorona simply because they did not have the medical or scientific knowledge to identify the symptoms of certain debilitating anguish. Contemporary authors have recognized this unjust identification, thus creating an evolution of the myth of La Llorona in order to transform a formerly known child murderer to a more complex character, one capable of neurosis, physical, and/or emotional disability. Contemporary recreations of La Llorona do not necessarily justify the murdering of her children, but offer a more logical rationalization of her behavior, and in some cases even bring empowerment to the formerly disabling myth.