Term Paper: Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman

Pages: 4 (1489 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Family and Marriage  ·  Buy This Paper


[. . .] Rigoberta joins a guerilla group fighting the government, and eventually has to flee to Mexico or face execution herself.

There are several remarkable things about Rigoberta's story. First, she tells it in the first-person, so the reader sees her experiences directly through her eyes. Second, the Indians fight fiercely for their land, because it is the only thing they have, and the only thing that seems to matter to them. Their lives are filled with poverty and oppression, but they do not know any other way to live. Rigoberta saw that education and language were key to changing her life, and the reader has to wonder why others did not see that too. While the peasants were fighting to retain their lands, why didn't they fight for better educational opportunities for their children, so they would not have to live the same kind of brutal lives as their parents? In addition, a group called Catholic Action was active in the area, they brought Catholicism to many of the Indians, in fact, Rigoberta routinely taught Bible study classes in her village, and she received some of her teaching from local priests. Why did the church not become more involved in the peasants' plight, and organize classes for the children to teach them Spanish? Rigoberta acknowledges that some of the churches did support the peasants and their problems, but that others turned a blind eye. It is difficult to understand how, in the 20th century, anyone could turn their back on the plight of a people living in 18th century conditions, and with no hope of ever changing their way of life. These questions are never really answered in the book, and they leave the reader hanging, wondering why so little was done for these people, and why they could not recognize the need for educating their young, to help them all live better lives.

Another remarkable thing about the book is that Rigoberta only learned Spanish a few years before she met the anthropologist who recorded the book, and she did not learn it by reading, she picked it up by listening and immersing herself in the language, yet she is articulate and amazingly candid in her memories of Guatemala and her people.

The book is difficult to read because the peasants' lives are so arduous, and the violence against them is ghastly - meant to quell any other resistance by sheer inhumane violence. Yet, the people keep fighting, because they have nothing else but the land they tend so faithfully. They see their families disintegrate, their land disappear, and their work go unrewarded, and yet they fight on. The reader cannot help but feel emotionally toward them, and hope that their lives are better now than they were when Rigoberta was growing up.

This is a coming-of-age book, but it is nothing like most books of that type, where privileged people find themselves as they grow up and move out into the world. Rigoberta finds herself, but she also discovers her people. She relates some of the folk tales of her people, who mainly relate their history orally, and she discusses her love for her people and her country, but not for the harsh conditions her countrymen must face. It is difficult for a reader who has grown up with all the creature comforts to understand how a group of people could fight so diligently for land, rather than the betterment of their people through education and advancement. However, Rigoberta's story has touched millions, and she won the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992 for her continued work in bringing the plight of her people to light. Rigoberta's story is the story of a young girl growing up and making her own decisions, but it is also the story of a people's fight for their rights and their lives. Rigoberta says religion has helped her make sense of their struggle. "Through all my experiences, through everything I'd seen, through so much pain and suffering, I learned what the role of a Christian in the struggle is, and what the role of a Christian on this Earth is" (Menchu 245). Because of that, she returned to Guatemala after her flight to Mexico, and created the Vincente Menchu Revolutionary Christians, a group formed in memory of her father that continues to address the plight of Guatemala's peasants.


Menchu, Rigoberta. I, Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in… [END OF PREVIEW]

Four Different Ordering Options:

Which Option Should I Choose?

1.  Buy the full, 4-page paper:  $28.88


2.  Buy + remove from all search engines
(Google, Yahoo, Bing) for 30 days:  $38.88


3.  Access all 175,000+ papers:  $41.97/mo

(Already a member?  Click to download the paper!)


4.  Let us write a NEW paper for you!

Ask Us to Write a New Paper
Most popular!

Women and Violence Research Proposal

Women's Inequality Thesis

Women's History Research Paper

Women in Management and the Glass Ceiling Has it Been Shattered Models and Best Practices Research Paper

Women's Suffrage in the 19th Century Term Paper

View 1,000+ other related papers  >>

Cite This Term Paper:

APA Format

Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman.  (2004, March 19).  Retrieved June 25, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/rigoberta-menchu-indian-woman/7023348

MLA Format

"Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman."  19 March 2004.  Web.  25 June 2019. <https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/rigoberta-menchu-indian-woman/7023348>.

Chicago Format

"Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman."  Essaytown.com.  March 19, 2004.  Accessed June 25, 2019.