# How to Write an Effective Literary Analysis of La Miski Simi: A Guide for Students and Teachers
La Miski Simi (The Sweet Mouth) is a short story by the Bolivian writer Adolfo Costa du Rels (1891-1980), which is part of his book El Embrujo del Oro (The Spell of Gold) published in 1948. The story tells the tale of Joaquín Ávila, a young man who arrives in Potosí in search of fortune to marry his beloved, and who becomes obsessed with an abandoned mine where there is said to be a vein of silver guarded by a beautiful and mysterious woman.
The story belongs to the narrative genre and can be classified as a mining legend, as it mixes real and fantastic elements related to the world of mining and the Andean culture. The author was inspired by his own experiences as an oil seeker and mine prospector, as well as by the oral traditions of Bolivia.
The story is structured in three parts: the introduction, where the setting of Potosí and the character of Joaquín Ávila are presented; the knot, where the main plot is developed and the conflict between Joaquín and the miski simi is introduced; and the outcome, where the conflict is resolved in a tragic and surprising way.
The story has a first-person narrator, who is Joaquín Ávila himself, who tells his story in the form of a confession or testimony. The narrator uses a simple and colloquial language, with some terms proper to the mining environment and Quechua. The narrator also makes use of literary resources such as description, dialogue, inner monologue, flashback and suspense.
The story has as its central theme human ambition and its consequences. The author shows how Joaquín Ávila lets himself be seduced by the illusion of finding silver and by the beauty of the miski simi, forgetting his true feelings and values. The author also criticizes the exploitation and abandonment of the miners, as well as the loss of cultural identity in the face of colonialism.
The story has as main characters Joaquín Ávila, the miski simi and the uncle. Joaquín Ávila is the protagonist and narrator of the story. He is a naive and in love young man, who arrives in Potosí with the hope of becoming rich and marrying his girlfriend. However, his character changes when he comes into contact with the miski simi, a woman who offers him pleasure in exchange for silver. Joaquín becomes obsessive, selfish and violent, losing his humanity.
The miski simi is the antagonist of the story. She is a beautiful and mysterious woman, who lives in an abandoned mine. She represents temptation and deception, as she attracts miners with her sweetness and then kills them or drives them mad. She also symbolizes the Andean nature and its resistance against colonial plundering.
The uncle is a secondary character, who acts as a mentor or adviser to Joaquín. He is an old miner who knows
the secrets of the mine and warns Joaquín about the dangers of the miski simi. He also represents the wisdom and tradition of the Andean people.
To write an effective literary analysis of La Miski Simi, you need to follow these steps:
- Read carefully and attentively the original text, taking notes of important details, such as characters, setting, plot, theme, style, etc.
- Identify your thesis statement or main argument about the text. For example: "La Miski Simi is a story that reflects on human greed and its tragic consequences."
- Support your thesis statement with evidence from the text, such as quotes, examples or references.
- Organize your analysis into paragraphs, each one focusing on a specific aspect or point of your argument. For example: "In this paragraph I will analyze how Joaquín Ávila's character changes throughout the story."
- Use transitions words or phrases to connect your paragraphs and make your analysis coherent and clear. For example: "However", "In addition", "On the other hand", etc.
- Write an introduction that introduces your topic, provides some background information about the author and the text, and states your thesis statement.
- Write a conclusion that summarizes your main points, restates your thesis statement in different words, and provides some final remarks or implications about your analysis.
## How Joaquín Ávila's Character Changes Throughout the Story
One of the most interesting aspects of La Miski Simi is the evolution of Joaquín Ávila's character, who goes from being a naive and in love young man to a greedy and violent one. At the beginning of the story, Joaquín is presented as a humble and honest person, who works hard to save money and marry his girlfriend. He is also respectful and grateful to the uncle, who helps him find a job and a place to stay in Potosí. He shows his love and loyalty to his girlfriend by writing her letters and sending her gifts.
However, everything changes when he hears about the miski simi and decides to enter the abandoned mine. There, he meets the mysterious woman, who seduces him with her beauty and sweetness. She offers him silver in exchange for his kisses, and he accepts without hesitation. He becomes addicted to her and to the silver, forgetting his girlfriend and his original purpose. He starts to lie, steal and kill to get more silver and to keep the miski simi for himself. He also becomes paranoid and distrustful of everyone, including the uncle, who tries to warn him about the danger of the miski simi.
The author shows how Joaquín's character changes through his actions, words and thoughts. For example, at the beginning of the story, he says: "I was happy with my work and my savings; I only thought of my girlfriend and the day when I would return to marry her." But at the end of the story, he says: "I only thought of the miski simi and the silver; I hated everyone who came near me or looked at me with suspicion." The author also uses contrast to highlight Joaquín's transformation. For example, he describes Joaquín's appearance before and after meeting the miski simi: "He was a handsome young man, with a healthy complexion and bright eyes." But later: "He was pale and thin, with dark circles under his eyes and a nervous expression."
The author makes us wonder what causes Joaquín's character change. Is it his innate greed that is awakened by the miski simi? Is it the influence of the miski simi, who has some kind of supernatural power over him? Is it the environment of Potosí, which is marked by poverty, violence and exploitation? Or is it a combination of all these factors? The author leaves this question open for interpretation.
## The Symbolism and Themes of La Miski Simi
La Miski Simi is not only a story about human ambition and its consequences, but also a story that explores different symbols and themes related to the Andean culture and history. The author uses various elements of the story to convey deeper meanings and messages.
One of the main symbols of the story is the miski simi herself, who represents both temptation and resistance. On one hand, she is a symbol of temptation, as she lures miners with her sweetness and silver, making them forget their true values and goals. She is also a symbol of deception, as she hides her true nature behind a beautiful appearance. She is like a siren or a mermaid, who attracts men with her voice and then destroys them. On the other hand, she is a symbol of resistance, as she defends her territory from invaders who want to take her silver. She is also a symbol of nature, as she lives in harmony with the earth and its elements. She is like a pachamama or a mother earth, who protects her resources and punishes those who abuse them.
Another symbol of the story is the silver itself, which represents both wealth and curse. On one hand, silver is a symbol of wealth, as it is a valuable metal that can provide economic prosperity and social status. It is also a symbol of power, as it can influence people's actions and decisions. On the other hand, silver is a symbol of curse, as it brings misery and death to those who seek it. It is also a symbol of oppression, as it reflects the colonial exploitation of Bolivia by Spain.
Some of the themes that emerge from these symbols are:
- The conflict between materialism and spirituality: The story shows how Joaquín Ávila chooses materialism over spirituality,
## The Influence of the Author's Biography and Context on the Story
La Miski Simi is not only a product of the author's imagination, but also a reflection of his biography and context. Adolfo Costa du Rels was born in Sucre, Bolivia, in 1891. He belonged to a wealthy and influential family of French origin. He studied law and diplomacy, and had a successful career as a diplomat, journalist and writer. He traveled extensively around the world and represented Bolivia in various international organizations and events.
Costa du Rels was also interested in the culture and history of his country, especially in the Andean region. He was fascinated by the legends and myths of the indigenous people, as well as by the colonial past and the mining activity. He wrote several books and essays about these topics, such as La Llama de Oro (The Flame of Gold), El Embrujo del Oro (The Spell of Gold), El Oro y el Barro (The Gold and the Mud), etc.
La Miski Simi is one of the stories that he included in his book El Embrujo del Oro, which is a collection of mining legends that he heard or witnessed during his travels around Bolivia. He wrote this book in 1948, when he was living in Paris as an ambassador of Bolivia to France. He dedicated this book to his friend and fellow writer Alcides Arguedas, who also wrote about the Andean culture and history.
Costa du Rels used his personal experiences and knowledge to create La Miski Simi. He based the character of Joaquín Ávila on himself, as he also came to Potosí in search of fortune and adventure when he was young. He also based the character of the uncle on a real person, who was his guide and friend in Potosí. He also used his own observations and research to describe the setting and the atmosphere of Potosí, as well as the customs and beliefs of the miners.
Costa du Rels also wrote La Miski Simi in a historical and social context that influenced his perspective and message. He wrote this story after Bolivia had lost its access to the sea in the War of the Pacific (1879-1883), and after it had suffered several political and economic crises. He also wrote this story during a time when Bolivia was facing a cultural identity problem, as it had to deal with the legacy of colonialism and the diversity of its population.
Costa du Rels wanted to show through La Miski Simi the reality and the challenges of Bolivia, as well as to celebrate its culture and history. He wanted to denounce the exploitation and the abandonment of the miners, who were the backbone of the economy but also the victims of injustice and violence. He also wanted to highlight the richness and beauty of the Andean culture, which had survived despite centuries of oppression and discrimination. He also wanted to warn about the dangers of greed and materialism, which could corrupt and destroy individuals and societies.
## The Reception and Impact of La Miski Simi
La Miski Simi is one of the most famous and acclaimed stories by Adolfo Costa du Rels, and one of the most representative works of Bolivian literature. The story has been praised by critics and readers for its originality, style, symbolism and message. The story has also been translated into several languages, such as English, French, German, Italian, etc.
The story has also inspired other artists and creators to adapt it or reinterpret it in different media and formats. For example:
- In 1950, Costa du Rels himself adapted his story into a radio play for Radio Nacional de Bolivia.
- In 1952, Costa du Rels collaborated with the filmmaker Jorge Ruiz to make a film version of his story, titled La Boca del Diablo (The Devil's Mouth). The film was shot in Potosí with local actors and won several awards.
- In 1978, Costa du Rels published a novel version of his story, titled La Miskisimi: Novela de la Plata (The Miskisimi: A Novel of Silver). The novel expanded
La Miski Simi is a story that combines reality and fantasy, history and legend, to create a captivating and meaningful narrative. The story explores the theme of human ambition and its consequences, as well as the symbols and themes of the Andean culture and history. The story also reflects the biography and context of its author, Adolfo Costa du Rels, who was a prominent Bolivian writer and diplomat. The story has been widely recognized and appreciated by critics and readers, and has inspired other artistic expressions and adaptations. La Miski Simi is a story that invites us to appreciate the richness and diversity of Bolivian literature and culture, as well as to reflect on our own values and choices. 4aad9cdaf3