Virtuous Husbands, Powerful Wives: Marriage and the Dangers of Power

  • Maya Mayblin
Part of the Contemporary Anthropology of Religion book series (CAR)


Lucia’s brick hut stood at the end of the dirt track. As I approached it in the thick afternoon heat I felt strangely apprehensive. Perhaps, I sensed why Lucia had asked me to come to her. As I got closer I could see her leaning against her doorframe in an oversize T-shirt, emblazoned with the name of some past political candidate. She was smoking a cigarette and squinting into the distance, through the dust and heat. As soon as she spotted me, she stubbed out her cigarette, smiled warmly, and invited me into the house. Entering the front room, I noticed that Lucia had framed the photograph I had taken of the two of us and placed it on top of her television. Her front room, painted blue, was always neat. A calendar bearing a picture of the Virgin adorned one wall, and on the table in the middle of the room, was a crisply ironed tablecloth. “Maya,” she said to me as I sat down at the table, “I am going to tell you about my mother’s death and I want you to write it down. When you understand about this terrible thing that happened, you will understand my life.” Without much preliminary talk, Lucia then began to narrate to me her version of how her father, Seu Roberto, had murdered her mother, Dona Beta, with a scythe, fifteen years ago:

I was young, only thirteen, my life was dedicated to playing. I never dreamed, never thought, you know, about marriage, nothing like that. But Maya, on that day at that hour I had become so anxious. I was at home with my mother washing dishes under a cashew tree. And there I was crying.


Village Doctor Moral Discourse Cashew Tree Local Understanding Conjugal Relationship 
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© Maya Mayblin 2010

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  • Maya Mayblin

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