Mexico - M Mexico T he n ext morning we arrived at the broad causeway[which led t o Mexico and we stood there marveled at what we saw and we said

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M Mexico The next morning we arrived at the broad causeway ... [which led] to Mexico, and we stood there, marveled at what we saw, and we said it was like those things of enchant- ment described in the book of Amadis ... some of our sol- diers even asked if what they saw was not a dream .... BERNAL DiAZ DEL CASTILLO. THE TRUE STORY OF THE CONQUEST OF MEXICO The conquistador's dream-his awe-rapidly turned into the nightmare of the indigenous world. Of that enchanting thing that was once Tenochtidan, not a single stone remained in the end. The dreamer became the destroyer. Despite all that, however, let us not forget that the conquistador was also a man of desire: a complex desire made of fame and gold, space and energy, imagi- nation and faith. There is no such thing as innocent desire because desire im- plies not only possessing the object of our desire but transform- ing it as well. Discovery leads to conquest: we love the world so that we can change it. Bernal Diaz's melancholy is that of a pil-
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hurlies grim who finds himself facing a paradise he must immediately Awe will way to pain and the only way Bernal Diaz can save both is through memory. He is the first Mexican writer, the one who initiated the Spanish-language narrative tradition of the Ncw \Vorld. An iIlullense country five times the size of France, Mexico loves itself, paradoxically, through all that is small. Not because we Mexicans like to dress fleas but because we compensate for vastness of our land and landscapes with delicate decorum, meticulous, tender attention to the tasks of daily life, from a cui- sine whose preparation often requires hours and even days ("slow food") to the protracted lunch of three, four, six hours so that we may infuse the acts of community life with words, memories, fra- ternity, aud human joy and warmth. A country of contrasts, de- spite the cliche, it is a community of space, a gathering place. The saddest songs and the happiest songs. The most humble of men and the most arrogant of men. The most natural, perfect courtesy alongside the most offensive vulgarity. Extremes that are painfully invisible and patently present. "Who goes there?" "Nobody, sir." "Who goes there?" "Just your father, you motherfucker." "At your service." "Go to hell." house is your house." "One more step and you're a dead man." ''I'm nobody." "You don't know who you're talking to, you wretch." the master of my own hunger." "I earned my money, and 1 don't have to share it with any- body." "Whatever you wish, sir." "Watch it: around here, what I say goes." "What can I do? I'm the one they left behind." Mexico "Jalisco never loses, and when it does, it steals." "Yesterday 1 may have been marvelous, but today 1 am not even a shadow." "You do whatever I fucking say." "Woman, woman divine, your poison is so sublime." "You are to blame for all my anguish, all my sorrow ... " "This is a motherfucking mess." "My heart belongs to Daddy." "What lovely eyes you have beneath those two lovely eye-
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This note was uploaded on 09/12/2011 for the course SPANISH 101 taught by Professor Andrews/cunniceli/martinez during the Spring '10 term at Temple.

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Mexico - M Mexico T he n ext morning we arrived at the broad causeway[which led t o Mexico and we stood there marveled at what we saw and we said

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