Malinche

by Laura Esquivel

When Malinalli, a member of a tribe conquered by the Aztec warriors, first meets Cortes, she-like many-blieves that he is the reincarnated forefather god of her tribe.  Naturally, she assumes that her task is to help Cortes destroy the Aztec empire and free her people.  However, she gradually comes to realize that Cortes is all too human, although by that time, she is so swept up in the events that she could no longer turn back.

Throughout Meixcan history, Malinalli has been reviled for her betrayal of the Indian people.  Esquivel’s fiction is an attempt to create Malinche as she is, a young girl in hope of love, of belonging, of following the will of God. As events unfold, she desparately tries to reconcile her beliefs – her traditional belief and the God of the Spaniards, to figure out what her role should be, what action she should take.

 A few lines from the book I find interesting:

“She couldn’t believe that god’s emissaries would behave in such a manner, that they would be so rough, so rude, so ill spoken, even insulting their own god when they were angry… There was one thing, though, that was worse than the unpleasant manner with which the Spanish gave orders, and that was the odor that emanated from them.  She never expected thtat the emissaries of Quetzalcoatl would smell so bad… If they in fact were gods, they would be concerned with the earthm with the planting, with making sure that men were nourishedm,  but that was not the case.  Never had she seen them interested in the cornfields, only in eating.”

“Gold, known as tecocuitlatl, was considered to be the excrement of the gods, waste matter and nothing else, so she didn’t understand the desire to accumulate it.”

“(from her grandmother) Your task is to walk.  A still body limits itself to itself, a body in movement expands, becomes a part of everything.  Walking fills us with energy and changes us to allow us to lok into the secret of things.  Walking transforms us into butterflies that rise and see truly what the world is.  What life is, What our body is.  It is the eternity of consciousness.  It is the understanding of all things.  That is god iwthin us.” 

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Published in: on March 20, 2007 at 2:34 pm  Leave a Comment  

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