Sunday, January 10, 2010

My first thoughts on "Leyendas de Guatemala" by Miguel Angel Asturias

I find this reading equally as baffling as it is engaging. The use of the Spanish language is extremely impressive. There are a vast amount of adjectives, metaphors and poetic language throughout the entire text, although in some stories more than others. For example the following, “ni nada pasa realmente en la carne de las cosas sensibles” (14). The stories themselves seem to get lost in all the detail. There is so much description going on that my mind was going a bit crazy just trying to wrap my head around all the language.

In the beginning in the section titled “Guatemala”, there is a lot about rituals and of the sacrificing of virgins. The area that is described seems to be full of riches and colour. “El trópico es el sexo de la tierra.” Much of the language suggests to me, a romanticizing of rituals and the sacrifices of virgins.

I had a hard time creating any sort of timeline. “El Cuco de los Sueños va hilando los cuentos” (20). The readings are like a big mix of stories, dreams and memories. Many of them are a mix of cultures and worlds. There is the world of nature and man and the rituals which bring them together, as well as the world of the Catholic Church.

Since every story is so different it’s hard to tell who the narrator is, and if that even carries any significance. The “Leyendas del volcán” remind me of reading the Popol Vuh. The distinction between human being and nature is distorted the magic of the story line. It’s as if all aspects of nature, including man kind are working together towards a greater objective.

The next story is the “Leyenda del cadejo” which I found very different from the previous story. There are references to Latin, the devil and to hell. This seemed like a story touched by the Spanish where as the other seemed pure and similar to the stories of old Mayan texts such as the books of the Chilam Balam and the Popol Vuh. I don’t know much about this book so I could be way off; these are only my first reactions to the text as we move forward.

So far I am enjoying these readings but at times I feel a bit lost. I look forward to learning more in class in regards to the text, the author and the role they play in Latin-American literature and in the world.


1 comment:

  1. Well I have to agree with you the vast amount of details some what makes it overwhelming, but the visuals it creates allow you to truly see what he describes although half the time I'm not sure if I'm getting the true meaning of each of the legends