Coco’s Miguel: The Victim of Family Abuse

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June 4, 2018 by Paula Reyes

Miguel grew up in a small town called Santa Cecilia, Mexico. From a young age Miguel had a hidden passion: music. He wanted to be a musician like his idol, Ernesto de la Cruz. But there was an issue that prevented him from following his passion.

It all started out when Imelda, Miguel’s great-great grandmother, and Coco, Miguel’s great grandmother, are left by Hector, Imelda’s husband. Angered at Héctor for neglecting his family, Imelda tears his picture off the family portrait and decreed music was forbidden from then on. Needing to support her daughter, Imelda turned to shoemaking as Coco grew up, often making shoes for her own daughter and becoming very good at it. Soon, she taught everything she knew about shoemaking to her daughter and son-in-law, and Coco taught her own daughters in turn. Working together with the growing Rivera clan, Imelda’s hard work evolved into a family business. When Miguel comes in to the picture, Imelda’s once small business is a thriving family shoe business.

One day, Miguel accidentally damages the picture frame holding a photo of Coco with her parents at the center of the family ofrenda and removes the photograph, discovering that his great-great-grandfather (whose face had been torn out) was holding Ernesto’s famous guitar.

He assumes his Ernesto de la Cruz is his family, and therefore declares his passion for music, “I’m going to be a musician,” expecting small trouble at first, but acceptance from his family, though this was not the case. His grandmother out of fury breaks the guitar Miguel had made, and bursts into his secret room and breaks apart his collection of Ernesto de la Cruz causing Miguel to run away from home. But this was not the first moment Miguel was treated unfairly.

The first moment we can see Miguel being treated wrong is when his grandmother, constantly reminds him “No music!” This is shown throughout the movie by showing clips of his grandmother yelling at him and puts fear in Miguel.

The second moment we can see Miguel being treated wrongly is when he leaves home in order to polish shoes for money. Miguel is only 12 years old, and therefore a victim of child labor.

The third moment, like mentioned earlier, is when his family not only disapproves of his love for music, but his grandmother, the reoccurring abuser, violently breaks his guitar in front of him, and, therefore causes his to run away from home.

Miguel may be seen as a passionate character and lover of music, but he is also a victim of his family’s abuse. He even blames himself for his family hatred of music stated in the opening narration of the movie, “Sometimes I think I’m cursed ’cause of something that happened before I was even born.”

Would you want a child to feel this way?

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