CHAPTER 3: The Alienation of the Indian and the Integration Process 56
Chapter Three The Alienation of the Indian and the Integration Process Since the time of conquest and colonization, and above all smce independence from Spain, writers and intellectuals have sought to capture the essence of Latin America through an analysis of the indigenous peoples and cultures. Following independence, archetypes of the Indian were often employed to foster national identity and create social and political cohesion. In the wake of the Mexican Revolution, these archetypes proliferated as artists and intellectuals aspired to construct a national identity based not on European culture, as had been the case during the porfiriato, but rather on a uniquely Mexican one. Authentic "Mexicanness" was discovered in Mexico's Aztec heritage and glorified in the work of many artists, most famously that of the Mexican muralists. During the 1930s idealized images of the Aztecs continued to prevail in the work of many intellectuals and artists. However, at the same time, some writers began to take a more critical look at Mexico's indigenous populations and to analyze the reasons for their continued isolation. In stark contrast to the muralists, the main indigenist novels of the 1930s, El re::,plandor ( 1937), by Mauricio Magdaleno, and El Indio ( 1935), by Gregorio Lopez y Fuentes, find very little to redeem the Indian; he is apathetic, indifferent (even to death), meek, superstitious, fatalistic and prone to alcoholism and violence. The novelists attribute these characteristics to the Indian's long history of exploitation and abuse. They underscore the need for measures to improve the Indian's...
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