Friday, February 15, 2008


‘Like water for Chocolate’, meaning made for each other, is one book by Laura Esquivel, turned into a marvelous picture. I now just finished Malinche a story where history and Native American myth, legend and interpretation of history and facts is mixed together in a short, fast read. If you are interested in language, you need to reed this book. Malinalli, becomes Cortés’ interpreter and lover. He hopes to build alliances. She tries to avoid disaster. Thus she ponders on how the interpret the words of the parties involved. She has long been seen as a traitor to her people. Esquivel shines another light on the end or beginnings of cultures. Interesting is the weaving together of the Old Mayan religion with Christianity, and we learn a bit while reading. And yes it is a love affair of Cortés and his interpreter, that had to clash and break because of his violent ruthless hunger for power. What puzzles me is that this novel is written by a woman and through the main female character's eyes. Yet the cruelty of the human sacrifice is seen as bad, whereas the cruelty and sadistic behavior of Cortés is seen as erotic. Is it because Malinalli has been given away as a slave a few times in her life that she seems to be in a SM kind of relationship, or is she just trying to save her hide and give in to whatever is needed? Or did some trace of prejudice sneak in against Native American cultural expressions?
-What he brought with him, aside from delusion of grandeur and a yearning to see the world, was a desire for liberty.
-Cannons and horses were effective when dealing with savages, but in a civilized context, the ideal thing was to seal alliances, negotiate, win over, and all this could be done only through dialog, of which he was deprived of the very start. --- This was a mission that would be built from the start on the basis of words. Words were its bricks, courage its mortar. Without words, without language, without speeches, there was no mission, and with no mission, no conquest.
-Malinalli believed that words colored memory, planting images each time that a thing was named. --- Being ‘The Tongue’ was a great spiritual duty, for it meant putting all her being at the service of the gods so that het tongue was part of the resounding system of the divinity, so that her voice would spread through the cosmos the very meaning of existence. --- Words were warriors, be they sacred warriors, or simple mercenaries.
-Migration is an act of survival.

No comments:

Post a Comment