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The Mexican Revolution

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  • Pages: 5
  • Word count: 1007
  • Category: Novel

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The Mexican Revolution had tremendous impact on the men and women who suffered through this period of civil unrest.  Mariano Azuela drafted The Underdogs, a short piece of fiction that portrayed the revolution, what motivated the revolutionaries’ inner drive, and the consequences that affected the lives of the generations of Mexicans who lived through the warring times.  I will discuss, in detail, the characterization of Demetrio Macias, Luis Cervantes, and War Paint to show Azuela’s intentions in his writings and what was wrong with the revolution.

            The Underdogs was translated by E. Munguia, Jr.  Its title of origin is Los De Abajo.  Demetrio Macias enters at the opening of the story, which is an intense situation where a band of men are racing near, searching for him.  The woman pleads for him to hide, lest he be caught and possibly killed.  Azuela description of Demetrio’s reactive temperament lays the groundwork for this man’s calm nature and a sense of fearlessness about him.  Azuela wrote, He was tall and well built, with a sanguine face and beardless chin; he wore shirt and trousers of white cloth, a broad Mexican hat and leather sandals. With slow, measured step, he left the room, vanishing into the impenetrable darkness of the night.

            The revolutionaries who barged into the initial scene are obscenely intoxicated and hell-bent on barking out orders and taking whatever they want.  They even shoot and kill a barking dog.  This is one way for Azuela to meet two objectives: He intensifies the pace of the scene and shows who these men lack any moral integrity. They are self-centered on destroying the land and maiming their own people’s belongings and possessions.  In fact the revolutionaries are not even aware of their geographic positioning, which furthers Azuela’s intent: they are riding the wave of a wrath that’s gone out of control.

Azuela wrote, His alcoholic tenor trailed off into the night. “Tell me what they call this ranch, woman?” the sergeant asked. “Limon,” the woman replied.

Azuela goes on to portray these drunken men who demand sex with the woman.  This is the very same woman whose dog they just killed for no reason other than the fact that they had loaded weapons.   Here, my girl, you let the sergeant fry the eggs and warm up the tortillas; you come here to me.

            Then, Demetrio enters the scene.  His presence alone puts fear into these drunken men.  Azuela described the reactions Demetrio has on these men. “Demetrio Macias!” the sergeant cried as he stepped back in terror. The lieutenant stood up, silent, cold and motionless as a statue.

            Demetrio does not simply shoot them dead. He is wise in many senses and feels its ridiculous to simply sink to their level and kill these men.  Although the revolting band is drunk all the time, Azuela shows readers that alcohol was used to calm many of the people’s distressed state of mind.  Its the revolution that has brought fear upon the people of Mexico.  Azuela wrote, Demetrio let their anger run its course. Then he drew a bottle from under his shirt and took a deep swig; then he wiped the neck of the bottle with the back of his hand and passed it around.  Yes, everyone is stressed, fearful, and yearning for a solution or a way out of this war.

            Luis Cervantes, a journalist and med student, is in favor of the revolution and wants to impress Demetrio by stating that he wants to be known by the people as a person who holds their religion and ideals.  Demetrio, however, replies with such conviction, “What are we fighting for? That’s what I’d like to know.”     

Luis Cervantes character helps to show how the fighting has caused tremendous confusion among the people.  Azuela describes it in the following, Luis Cervantes determined to play turncoat; indeed, mentally, he had already changed sides.  Furthermore, due to Luis’s inconsistencies during the revolution, Azuela shows how the revolution is a form of destruction, not reconciliation.  The first moment he was able to join his coreligionists, instead of welcoming him with open arms, they threw him into a pigsty with swine for company.

            War Paint portrayed the lust men searched for.  Azuela overemphasizes her beauty and that Demetrio and others were held captive by her outer glow.  He uses sarcasm and mockery to get his point across as can be seen in the following, Suddenly War Paint reappeared in the middle of the room, wearing a beautiful silk dress covered with exquisite lace. “You forgot the stockings,” Blondie shouted, shaking with laughter.

As the story comes to a close, Azuela uses the cock fight, a famous event among the Hispanic people.  He analogizes the cock fight and the tiny verbal wars that commonly ensued during this sport to mock the revolution.  What’s even more ironic is that the cock fight oftentimes consists of men and women filled to the point of drunken intoxication, further strengthening his moral point.

In this scene, Demartrio demands that the cock fight ensue.  He loses his temper because he’s been worn down by the constant struggles and battles he’s faced during the revolution. During the cock fight, Demartrio, now stoned with alcohol reacts in this way, which is a fitting means of putting Azuela’s story together.  Demartrio said, “Here you may witness the blessings of the revolution caught in a single tear.” Then he continued to talk like a madman, but like a madman whose vast prophetic madness encompassed all about him, the dusty weeds, the tumbled kiosk, the gray houses, the lovely hills, and the immeasurable sky.

            In conclusion, Azuela showed how the revolution was not the way to alleviate the problems between the Mexican culture and their civil unrest.  The battles will continue, regardless of who won the revolution.


Azuela, Mariano. The Underdogs.

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