Revolutionary Norms


            Abuse and sexuality are two themes that are shunned upon by religion teachings and the Bible. This is a problem because many people are struggling with gender issues. Catholicism teaches us to go strictly by the Bible and its teachings, which is a very part of the Mexican culture. On What Night Brings by Carla Trujillo, Marcy an innocent 11-year-old child prayed every night to God or Baby Jesus to grant her two things, one was to change her gender, and the second, was to make her father disappear. According to her family’s religious beliefs, these two thoughts were against religious views. Therefore, how is a person’s desire to change her gender and do something against an abusive relationship, in conflict with Catholicism and cultural values and family norms?

            The innocence and curiosity of Marcy on sexuality and homosexuality followed by religion plague most of her mind. Every prayer of hers is either for God or Jesus and any saint possible to turn her into a boy or give her a birdy, as well as the disappearance of her father. She knew both things were a sin to ask for since religion looks down upon both. After hearing her father who she calls Eddie call her Uncle Tommy queer she begins wondering on the meaning and validity of such word. On one of her visits to the library her interest for the word “queer” arises and decides to look it up. “Queer: differing in some odd way from the normal, eccentric, sexually deviated, homosexual, strange….” (Trujillo 134). Marcy therefore remembers how her uncle always goes to church and how she had found him and Father Chacon in the same confessional booth. In the dark church she hears laughs and noises coming from the confessional booth, making her aware that it was not a confession at all. After a while, she saw her uncle coming out with his shirt un-tuck and later Father Chacon. This made her question what really happened in there. (Trujillo 77-78).

            After some thought the innocent Marcy acting like a detective decided that the word “queer” was something bad and even started questioning the church and its ideals. The word homosexuality made her realize her uncle might be just that and his marriage a disguise as well as both Father Chacon and him to follow religious orders. Marcy also takes into consideration how she is also queer since she likes Raquel and she is a girl liking another girl; which was the purpose of church to make you queer. How the Father didn’t really see her confession of liking girls as bad. This makes her question herself even more (Trujillo 137). These specific associations can be a revolutionary way of thinking as Marcy being such a young child is opening her mind to other ideas, accepting herself, getting education on the subject as well as others, and questioning the church/religion and why certain actions were bad.

            The novel raises questions about the current political debates on “family values”. Heterosexual relations are the social and religious norms but in many ways this book is questioning such norms. El Paso sure does share the Mexican traditions and beliefs of religion. But being religious doesn’t mean you will be a good person or have a great family spearing them from the abuse many men and even women push onto their families. Mexican men are very sexist and macho. Women have to stay in the marriage because according to religion and their family it is a sin to get a divorce or feel like they might be breaking a promise and causing great dismay to family. Kids remain quite because they are supposed to be good to their parents.

As for sexual desire it is normal and hormonal as well as an aim to look for closure and love in the wrong places or people. Marci is young and she believes a girl can give her love because she doesn’t get that at home and her dad is an awful man probably giving her fear of getting with a man who might abuse her as well. It can also be just an experimental case.

Religion and social norms bring so many issues to generations of all ages. The questioning and urge to defy what the laws that have been establish demand upon will always kill part of the spirit. Sexuality is a beautiful thing and shouldn’t be shunned upon it is humane.


















            Trujillo C. What Night Brings. Connecticut: Little, Curbstone Press, 2003. Print.