THE ESSENCE OF POLITICAL REVOLUTIONS AS SEEN IN MARIANO AZUELA’S LOS DE ABAJO
SELINA DOE ANGMOR
University of Ghana
Mariano Azuela’s Los de Abajo, is perhaps the most enlightening and dramatic novel centred on the Mexican Revolution. It features a revolution embarked on by a group of rebels led by Demetrio Marcias (the protagonist of the novel). It also recounts the state of thecountry throughout the ensuing battles and the reaction of its people to the unfolding events of the revolution. The novel is originally written in Spanish; however, in the writing of this article, an English translated version is used to help the reader to identify easily with the subject matter and content. All quotations are therefore written in English.
NB: This prologue is necessitated bythe primary targeted audience of this article (organizers of GMUN 2009) and is written to serve as a guide to the readers who may not have read the novel.
Many writers, at different times, have expressed varying views on political revolutions, irrespective of their various causes. Like many of these authours, Mariano Azuela, in his Los de Abajo addresses the issue of theimportance of political revolutions, yet with a more indirect approach. He simple lays bare the unfolding incidents of a revolution, puts phenomenal words in the mouths of his characters, and leaves the reader to make an informed judgement on the essence of political revolutions.
In this article, to be able to examine carefully the essence of political revolutions as seen in Los de Abajo, I willundertake a careful study of the significance of the revolution (that is, what it meant), firstly to its perpetrators and then to the masses. Furthermore, I will study the state of the country and its inhabitants before, during and after the revolution.
To ascertain the significance of the revolution to its perpetrators, one question readily comes to mind - “For what course were the revolutionariesfighting?” Answering this question requires a consideration of the various reasons that motivated their commencement of the revolution. A thorough review reveals that each member of the rebel camp had a personal reason for becoming a rebel, but collectively they had no objective, neither did they stand for any significant ideal. Quail, readers are told, joins the revolutionaries because he had“stolen a watch and some diamond rings” and sought to escape justice. In the same vein, we are told that Venancio becomes a rebel because he had “poisoned his sweetheart” and subsequently run away from his hometown. Also on the same subject of purpose, Anastacio tells Luis Cervantes “I’m not here because I’ve got to be ......, I own twenty oxen, certainly I do. You see if there’s one thing I love,that’s riling these government fellows and making them furious”. Even Demetrio, the leader of the revolutionaries, starts the revolution not to fight for any strong ideals or some earnest course. He recounts to Luis Cervantes how he daringly spits on an official’s beard and has to abandon his town and become a rebel to avoid arrest. Conclusively, none of the revolutionaries fought for any concreteideals. Yes, they each had personal reasons for joining the revolution, some to enrich themselves and most to escape the law. It is even interesting to note that most of their personal reasons for joining the revolution were consequential and not initiative. Thus, their joining the revolution was a result of previous actions and not in itself an act with a passionate aim of causing some desiredchange. Individually, they had flimsy reasons and collectively they stood for no clear purpose. It is amazing how a serious phenomenon such as a revolution could be based on such trivial individual motivations.
Also important in the discussion of the significance of the revolution, is a question that Demetrio puts to Luis Cervantes. When Luis, who deserts the camp of the government soldiers...
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