Kissing the Virgin's Mouth Summary & Study Guide

Donna M. Gershten
This Study Guide consists of approximately 32 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Kissing the Virgin's Mouth.
This section contains 568 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
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Kissing the Virgin's Mouth Summary & Study Guide Description

Kissing the Virgin's Mouth Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Quotes and a Free Quiz on Kissing the Virgin's Mouth by Donna M. Gershten.

Guadalupe Magdalena Molina Vásquez, or “Magda,” has resettled in her hometown after several turbulent years. While her eyesight may be beginning to fail her, the wisdom she has gleaned from the various phases her life has transitioned through is apparent. Despite being in her fifties, Magda has recently adopted a second daughter, Isabel, who she will raise on her own. It is her most fervent wish to pass her strength, wisdom, and experience on to her new daughter, especially since she feels that she has failed to do so with her first daughter, who is strongly influenced by both her mixed Mexican-American upbringing and her ex-husband.

To start, Magda first revisits the lessons and experience she has gained from both her mother, María, and her aunt, Chucha. She tells these stories as an omniscient narrator. Both were raised in abject poverty and squalor, in a world where women are at the mercy of men and their environment. The life that Magda is born into is little different, however, a chance encounter with a prisoner named Cochilco “the crazy pig” gives Magda the encouragement to take a stand against tradition and to make her own way in the world. When her deadbeat father routinely fails to sell any “tejuino” (a corn-based beverage), she begins to push the cart and sell the beverage herself to support the family. One day she is invited into the theatre to watch Pedro Infante films with Gordo Chuy Beltrán, who says he will buy her entire cart’s worth of tejuino if she sits in the theatre with him.

When his wife discovers their activities, Magda is driven out of town by the repercussions. Magda leaves her family and her home behind to become a dancer in Tijuana, where she meets her first husband, the wealthy and well-educated Miguel Angel Aguilar Llosa. They elope and he moves her to his family home in Monterrey. There, Magda is dismayed to discover that her new husband is thoroughly under the influence of his mother, Socorro Llosa de Aquilar. Magda recognizes Socorro as both a fierce rival and as a mentor. While Socorro teaches Magda ladylike sophistication and subtlety, she also works to have her son’s marriage to Magda annulled. During a visit to her family, Magda discovers that Socorro has succeeded. Without any other direction and looking for both a new beginning and rest, Magda moves to Guadalajara.

While in Guadalajara, Magda poses as a formal student, but instead undertakes an informal study of the city and the history of Mexico. After eavesdropping on guided tours, she pursues working as a guide herself, and it is during one of her tours that she meets her “American husband,” Robert. Robert quickly falls in love with Magda, and proposes marriage and a life in the United States. Magda moves to Moscow, Idaho with her new husband and, while there, gives birth to her biological daughter, Martina. There, Magda has a life of comparative affluence and ease; however the marriage fails due to “cultural differences," and Magda eventually returns to Teatlán.

After returning to Teatlán, Magda starts a successful juice business called “Lupa’s Juices.” She begins to develop diabetes, or the “sugar disease” that afflicted her Abuelito, which affects her eyes and vision. As she prepares for eventual blindness, she begins to pass on her business to Martina.

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This section contains 568 words
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