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Fiction, Literature

La muerte de Artemio Cruz / The Death of Artemio Cruz (Letras Hispanicas) (Spanish Edition) epub ebook

by Carlos Fuentes

La muerte de Artemio Cruz / The Death of Artemio Cruz (Letras Hispanicas) (Spanish Edition) epub ebook

Author: Carlos Fuentes
Category: World Literature
Language: Spanish
Publisher: Catedra Ediciones; 3rd edition (November 1, 2004)
Pages: 368 pages
ISBN: 8437613930
ISBN13: 978-8437613932
Rating: 4.1
Votes: 652
Other formats: mobi azw lit mbr

The Death of Artemio Cruz is a novel written in 1962 by Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes. It is considered to be a milestone in the Latin American Boom.

The Death of Artemio Cruz is a novel written in 1962 by Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes.

Many types of book like this one.

The Death of Artemio Cruz: A Novel (FSG Classics). Escogí este libro porque Carlos Fuentes fue alabado en la prensa en la ocasión de su muerte

The Death of Artemio Cruz: A Novel (FSG Classics). Escogí este libro porque Carlos Fuentes fue alabado en la prensa en la ocasión de su muerte. Como estudiante del idioma español, quiero leer las novelas de los mejores escritores que escriben en el idioma. Este libro es muy profundo, y un poco difícil de entender, especialmente para alguien, como yo, para quien español no es su primer idioma.

Originally published in Spanish as La Muerte de Artemio Cruz.

Few Latin American writers have such an intimate knowledge of Americans or see the American/Lati. Originally published in Spanish as La Muerte de Artemio Cruz. Carlos Fuentes is one of Latin America's most distinguished novelists and a one-man international cultural and political force.

In La muerte de Artemio Cruz we are present in the last moments of the life of a powerful man, one who was a revolutionary soldier, a lover without passion, and a father without a family. Carlos Fuentes reveals in this novel the thoughts of an elderly man who can no longer fend for himself; the man is confronted with an imminent and torturous death, but his will does not allow him to be defeated. Also by Carlos Fuentes. See all books by Carlos Fuentes.

La muerte de Artemio Cruz The Death of Artemio Cruz . The story line becomes personal Artemio Cruz is a man whose impending death compels him to look back over the span of his life to re-live its peak experiences

La muerte de Artemio Cruz The Death of Artemio Cruz, Carlos Fuentes The Death of Artemio Cruz is a novel written in 1962, by Mexican writer Carlos Fuentes. The story line becomes personal Artemio Cruz is a man whose impending death compels him to look back over the span of his life to re-live its peak experiences. In a real sense Cruz was more than a man living in Mexico during a time of revolution: he is a microcosm of Mexico itself. I deeply respect and admire the inventive, narrative technique, which in some respects is revolutionary.

A soldier who without qualms betrayed his comrades and yet was unable to withstand the wounds inflicted by destiny, reaches the end of his life. Confined to a bed, he faces an imminent and demeaning death; but the will that helped him carve his prominent place in society, refuses to give in.

Translation of: La muerte de Artemio Cruz. Top. American Libraries Canadian Libraries Universal Library Community Texts Project Gutenberg Biodiversity Heritage Library Children's Library.

Gran Medalla de Verneil 2010; y Premio Formento de las Letras, 2011. The Death of Artemio Cruz: A Novel (FSG Classics).

Gobierno Francés, 2003; Premio Roger Caillois 2003; Premio Real Academia Española 2004 por En esto creo; Premio Galileo 2000, Italia, 2005; Gran Cruz de la Orden de Isabel la Católica, 2008; Premio Internacional Don Quijote de la Mancha 2008; Gran Medalla de Verneil 2010; y Premio Formento de las Letras, 2011.

After collapsing from an illness while attending a business meeting, a dying Artemio Cruz, a rich and powerful land owner in modern Mexico, is driven by conscience to recall his corrupt life.
Reviews (7)
Caveat: This review is specific to my current, idiosyncratic reading needs. Specifically, I need not to have my depression exacerbated. Short version: if you are ill and trying not to focus on your physical being, and would be disturbed by the graphic depiction of the physical decomposition and mental fragmentation of a dying protagonist who is sociopathic, power-consumed, hateful and in no imaginable way sympathetic, don't read this book. Longer version follows.


Some people achieve greatness, and some people assiduously avoid it and have great novels thrust upon them. This one was inflicted on me by my book club, which chose it, presumably, to honor the recently-deceased Fuentes (who unquestionably *deserves* to be honored). I chose to read the Spanish edition, just because I could and would have felt guilty about doing otherwise, so your mileage may vary, linguistically speaking, if the English translation is especially good or bad, but I think my opinion would be language-invariant over all editions. I'm sure it'd be equally unremittingly depressing rendered into any form of human communication. (Don't get me wrong; it's a powerful, superlatively-well-written, historically- and politically-illuminating novel. Don't read it if you're already dysphoric, though.)

Understand that this isn't going to be incisive literary analysis (fat chance of that; sooner will I press a Mack truck than succeed in deconstructing Fuente's narrative technique). I'm really more interested in the politics of power and brutality and oppression.

Mikhail Bakunin said that, the day after the revolution, the revolutionary ought to be executed. With the caveat that I don't personally believe in executing anyone, ever, I think that Artemio Cruz makes a pretty good case for Bakunin's assertion. Cruz starts out at the very bottom of the social hierarchy, conceivably with a measure of good intentions in participating in the revolution -- though also an obvious propensity for violence. (He kills his uncle and rapes the woman who's to become the love of his life.) He's more a Mexican Charles Foster Kane, though, than he is the sort of privileged-from-birth man-fratboy sociopathic narcissist that, say, certain right-wing American politicians seem to be.  (He's definitely sociopathic, just not born to the manner.) But he decays spiritually through the flashbacks, if you can put them into any kind of order (as he does physically, in the present) and becomes a monster (though, from my personal perspective, anyone willing to participate in extremities of violence in the first place, no matter what the pretext, doesn't exactly start out from a place of spiritual purity; even revolutionary wars don't enchant me). If Cruz's early life is supposed to redeem him, it doesn't work for me, though his older persona becomes something even more appalling. Winston Churchill, quoting some French general whose name eludes me, is himself famously quoted as having said that young men who aren't liberal have no hearts, and that older men who haven't become conservative have no brains. I remember once declaring to some of my students campaigning for a candidate who shall go nameless that, "as the brainless addressing the heartless," I "really didn't like their politics." Why this occurs to me is that I think Fuentes is playing on the perceived ineluctability of this transmogrification from idealist to monster, and it bothers me, because although it may be common, I don't think itis ineluctable. Also, it fails adequately to indict the silver-spoon, cradle-to-grave sociopaths and megalomaniacs, though I'm sure Fuentes has no use for them, either.

I have some sympathy for Cruz, mostly because he's dying painfully, and it's excruciating to be asked to partake of that experience vicariously when your own health isn't good, and few of us are immune from health issues. There is kind of a "stereo-optical" effect. Could Fuentes have achieved the same effect without plunging us full-bore into moribundity and putrescence? No, I don't think so.

Would I have been more interested in trying to empathize with a character who had exhibited or retained some measure of youthful idealism (and had, consequently, much less (toxic) effect on the world)? Yes, but persistent idealists (e.g., M.L. King, Jr.) are the ones who do actually end up being assassinated, rather than the revolutionaries ripe to become oppressors in their own right, and such a tome wouldn't have been particularly revelatory of the realities of any sort of history or politics.

I admire Fuentes. I think he's a kindred spirit, politically and ideologically. But he merely reaffirms my worst perceptions of the world as a place where "feeble conviction" is almost invariably overborne by toxic "passionate intensity," even in the history of one life. It's deeply depressing.

"The ideal of mestizaje, so pejoratively translated as miscegenation, was based in the reality of mixed races to which the positivists ascribed different virtues and failings, and which had to amalgamate if anything like national unity was to be produced. Unity, in positivist rhetoric, was not so much a political or economic concept as it was biological. Since growth meant modernization and Europeanization, the most extreme ideologues (like Argentina's Domingo F. Sarmiento) advocated a combined policy of white immigration and Indian or Black removal, while others...[as the Mexican ideologues] settled for redeeming the "primitive" races through miscegenation and ideological whitening."

Doris Sommer

The modern Mexican nation emerged in the third decade of the twentieth century during the cultural phase of the Mexican Revolution. The criollo (white) controlled government disseminated officially the myth that mestizos were the offspring of Spaniards and Amerindians exclusively, in that order. Thereafter, this discourse was reproduced and reinforced through various means of mass persuasion, including the novel, until 1968.

The black African heritage of Mexican mestizaje was replaced in the collective memory and national imaginary with José Vasconcelos' "cosmic race" myth. This philosophy, a continuation of Spanish colonial beliefs, codified blacks as tame and their genes as recessive. By insisting that Spanish genes were dominant and that black African genes were recessive in the mestizo, criollos, as supposed heirs of the Spanish genes, "legitimated" a paternity claim; hence, a protagonist role in carving out the Mexican nation. This enabled them to transfer historical glory to their name. The history of cimarronaje was erased and African Mexican national heroes were whitened, thus African Mexican national achievements became criollo based.

According to Vasconcelos' creed, exposed in the first forty pages of his La raza cósmica, the black characteristics of the Mexican were receding through natural selection. In his Christian-rooted vision, "beauty" was overpowering "ugliness" and the mestizo population was steadily and eagerly whitening. The modern nation builders adopted Vasconcelos' views as the unequivocal road toward modernization. La muerte de Artemio Cruz (1962) (The Death of Artemio Cruz), by Carlos Fuentes, reintroduces and reinforces the myth of the Mexican populace's willing submission to whitening.

In this canonized post-modern novel, the central character, a post-revolution Mexican prototype, on a level, appears as a "mestizo" oblivious of his African family tree; but as he reels through memory from his deathbed, the reader is informed that in the depth of his heart he despises his negritude. He is convinced that "the whiter the better." La muerte is read in this study as a link in the chain of canonized criollo works reflecting the cosmic race-discourse on nation whose iron-like determination, from the start, was the cleansing of blackness from the population, if at least psychologically.

La muerte continues the construction of a false national identity. The novel depicts and perpetuates stereotypes of blacks. It posits that for black characters to be rebellious, or to show intelligence, they have to be whitened. La muerte ignores that black Africans from the beginning of the Maafa or Black Holocaust have revolted. Alive in the late sixteenth and early seventeenth century, Yanga, the maroon leader in Veracruz, the home state of the protagonist anti-hero of the novel, is a case in point.

La muerte is read in light of pertinent portions of Octavio Paz' "Los hijos de la Malinche" (1950), El perfil del hombre y la cultura en México (1934) by Samuel Ramos, and La raza cósmica (1925) by José Vasconcelos to track down the codification of blackness under its various Mexican signifiers. The aim is to exhibit the intertextuality of these canonized criollo works, pillars of the modern nation, and disclose how they codify the African Mexican Experience.

La muerte uses chingar as substance in constructing Cruz' character (143-47). It thereby makes him a prototype of the Mexican pelado as pointed out by both Remigio Paez, the catholic priest, who brokers his marriage to the criolla Catalina (47), and Cruz himself (276). Regarding the Mexican pelado, Ana María Prieto Hernández reveals, "zaragates, guachinangos, zaramullos, zánganos, ínfima plebe, chusma, peladaje [plural pejorative of pelado] or "léperos" were the postcolonial names given to the various mestizos of African descent (17-19) (emphasis mine). These euphemisms replaced part of the "sixty-four" Spanish colonial categories used to refer to a person's degree of African heritage (Davis 37).

"Los hijos de la Malinche," a parody of los hijos de la chingada (sons of the raped African Mexican woman), exposes that chingar is a "vulgar" word (Paz 67), and that the general population is master of its usage (Paz 67). It posits that chingar may be of Aztec origin (Paz 68). Thereby, it cleanses léperos or pelados from their African heritage. "Los hijos" claims the mestizo, lépero or pelado as the offspring of Spaniards and Amerindians, in that order.

The Malinche, a synonym of national treason, embodied in a pre-Hispanic born Amerindian woman who gives into Hernán Cortés, is inserted in the place of la chingada. Through its thesis, besides glorifying the criollo and marking the Amerindian genes of the mestizo as inherently "malinchista," it blocks the possibility of establishing the relations between La chingada, her Africaness and the African Kimbundu cradle of the verb chingar (Pérez Fernández).

"Los hijos de la Malinche" replaces the maroon history of mestizaje in the national imaginary. It omits mestizaje's African heritage. "Los hijos" annuls the connection between Africans, African Mexicans, alvaradeños, jarochos, chinacos, léperos, or pelados. "Los hijos" is another vehicle of cultural misappropriation. It confuses ownership of the verb chingar and blurs the African origins and identity of the Mexican mezclas or mestizos.

"Los hijos" fuses all "social" classes through the word chingar. It presents Mexico and Mexicaness as one; this underlines the fallacy of Mexico as a racial paradise. By omitting its Africaness, it creates a "rightful" and preferential space for the criollo within a culture constructed by the Other. Ted Vincent exhibits the two separate worlds constructed in Mexico during the colonial period: the Spanish-criollo world marked by the minuet, wine and white bread; and the mezcla world marked by La bamba, tequila, and corn tortillas (5). For "Los hijos," Mexicaness, embodied in the mestizo, has Spanish and Amerindian roots alone, in that order.

"Los hijos" follows the "psychoanalytical profile" of the pelado in El perfil. After calling the pelado "fauna," El perfil characterizes the pelado as "a being without principles, generally mistrusting, full of bluster and cowardly" (Ramos 76). El perfil manifests that as a subject, the pelado "lacks all human values" and that in fact he is "incapable of acquiring" said values (Ramos 76). El perfil's evaluation of the pelado is linked to Vasconcelos and his philosophy on education (Muñoz 24). El perfil forwards the perspective that Mexican culture is a culture of cultures whose most valuable manifestation is the criollo culture. In La muerte, the protagonist recognizes Mexico as "a thousand countries under one name" (274) where criollos are the mark of civilization (50).

Cruz is narrated as a dying seventy-one year old (16) Mexican of African lineage who does not identify with his African heritage (276). He is the bastard son of a certain "Isabel Cruz, Cruz Isabel," a Mulatto woman whose true name is unknown (314). Cruz' father, Anastasio Menchaca, is a criollo who during the Porfiriato had been a powerful landowner. Cruz is six feet tall and weighs about 174 pounds (247). He has "pronounced features" (41), a wide nose (9) graying curly hair (16, 251) that once was black (314). He has dark skin (16), as the "very dark" skin color of his son (168). He has green eyes that project a cold, unwavering look (171), an energetic mouth, wide forehead, protruding cheekbones (149) and thick lips (115).

Cruz becomes Lieutenant Colonel during the armed phase of the Revolution. Through his cunning marriage to a criolla, the sister of a fellow soldier executed by a firing squad at the end of the armed conflict, he turns out to be first, a landowner and administrator, and later, a newspaper magnate and a millionaire by brokering government concessions to foreigners.

In La muerte, the images are patchy and colored in a cubist fashion. For instance, when Cruz tells himself:

Although I don't want it to, something shines insistently next to my face; something that reproduces itself behind my closed eyelids: a fugue of black lights and blue circles. I contract the face muscles, I open the right eye and I see it reflected in the glass incrustations of a woman's purse (...) I am this old man with the features shattered by the irregular glass squares. (9)

The physical and ideological descriptions of the characters are introduced in scattered fragments and clues throughout the novel, as a puzzle that must be assembled. In the case of Cruz, this renders his heritage confusing. The analytical Afrocentric reader must amass the fragments to realize Cruz is an African Mexican. The level of difficulty of this decoding task is evidenced by the scattered page numbers where Cruz' characteristics and features are introduced bit by bit nonchalantly: 276, 324, 247, 41, 9, 16, 251, 314, 168, 171, 149, 115, and 316, among others.

The reader is forced to travel back and forth in time. The images evoked by Cruz flash in and out of focus. Time, space, physical and metaphysical barriers are shattered as the plot develops in Cruz' psyche. He brings the past to the present at will. One case in point is when he recalls his childhood, as in a close-up scene, and transports the reader to a different place in time (271).

The past and present dissolve into one plane when pain brings Cruz out of his lethargy and he becomes aware of the presence of others in the room (116). An uncertain future intermingles with the present when Cruz foresees what may happen (247). La muerte penetrates the memory of the reader lost in trying to put together the pieces and unexpectedly, subliminally lays an Eurocentrically idealized world in the place of historical facts. Thus, what never happened replaces maroon history. The novel shapes a national imaginary according to criollo beliefs.

Julio Ortega interprets La muerte as "the first product of Latin American post-modernity" and as "a disenchanted reading of compulsive modernity" (2). This is correct to a point. La muerte provides a "fresh" look at the Revolution and indicts the corrupted patriarchal system. Thereby, it passes within the guise of the long awaited voice of self-criticism of a decadent structure.

On a level, La muerte casts the illusion of condemning the existing political structure: the entrenched PRI system that from the onset of the cultural phase of the Revolution sought total control and power over the people. La muerte condemns the Mexican post-revolution's social situation in part; nonetheless, at a subliminal level, it endorses the color divide imposed since the colonial period.

Through a close review, the Afrocentric reader is forced to question the authenticity of the character ascribed to Cruz as an African Mexican in modern Mexico, particularly in light of the prevalent criollo mentality that loathed even a drop of "visible" blackness in a person.

Had racism subsided in Mexico by 1920 as to allow a visibly black person to rise "freely" from rags to riches? How many visibly black Mexicans can be found as tycoons in the Mexico of the first half of the twentieth century? If "it always has been an object of the novel to tell the other version of history, particularly starting after the nineteeth century" as Carlos Fuentes has declared (Güemes 2), would it not have been more true to life to have made the antihero a criollo?

Why make a "pelado" (47, 276) or mestizo of African descent the villain? Is the novel repeating and reinforcing the white myth of the "evil nature" of African blood? Is La muerte reintroducing and reinforcing the Eurocentric colonial stereotypes of los hijos de la chingada and the pelados found in La raza cósmica, El perfil, and "Los hijos"?

Snead clarifies that mass-produced images have political, ideological, and psychological effects upon an audience's beliefs and actions (132). Also, he states "Stereotypes ultimately connect to form larger complexes of symbols and connotations. These codes then begin to form a kind of 'private conversation' among themselves without needing to refer back to the real world for their facticity" (141).

La muerte gets close to the origins of chingar and the pelado. It nearly makes the connections between the mestizo, his language, his worldview and his African heritage. This may have enabled a fuller explanation of the Mexican character and his sense of humor as early as 1962.

However, La muerte continues the same criollo aesthetic found in La raza cósmica, El perfil, and "Los hijos." Cruz is characterized as a mestizo who, notwithstanding, or because of his visible African heritage, the knowledge of his birth, and his having been raised in an African Mexican environment until the age of fourteen, has virtually repressed his black legacy.

It is a sign of indecency for Cruz "to live and die in [the] Negro shack" of his lineage and cultural heritage (276). La muerte whitens Cruz' by making him particularly proud of his criollo identity. Cruz expresses that he has conquered "decency" for his children. He expects them to thank him for making them "respectable people," and keeping them out of the "Negro shack" (276).

According to Snead, a work "becomes 'propaganda' and no longer merely 'fiction' when its aim is to introduce or reinforce a set of political power relationships between social groups" (140). In La muerte, Mexicans whose African lineage is openly identified are characterized as rootless (302), backward, submissive, tame and servile (302-03). They are caricatured as simple, as jungle beings (302) with an endless sexual appetite (279, 288-89), as possessing an innate musicality (288), and as having a natural predisposition to relax (287).

This is remarkable when juxtaposed to criollo portrayal. Criollos are conceived as civilized (50), rooted to the land (48); as history makers (35), with an identity (50); as having feelings, ideals, and even as being chivalrous at the moment of defeat (50). This perception echoes El perfil's notions about criollo supremacy. The Spaniards in La muerte are capable of understanding, and of sacrificing body and soul for family and beliefs (50, 54, 103).

Snead explains, "'Codes' are not singular portrayals of one thing or another, but larger complex relationships" (142). He exposes how these relationships, under the will, imagination and ideological slant of the narrative maker, may "present fantasy or an ideal world that has nothing to do with the real world" as if it were the real world (134).

According to Lanin A. Gyurko, Cruz is developed as a "single character, powerful and complex enough to be convincing, not only as an individual but also as a national symbol" (30). In La muerte, this national character is imagined by his uncle as a black Moses (285). But paradoxically, and as if marked by his African blood, Cruz is constructed as an innate traitor, a despicable being: polygamous (122), immoral, greedy (15-16), treacherous (24-25), cowardly, and corrupted (16, 21, 50, 56).

Cruz is incapable of caring about high revolutionary ideals, or country (56). He is the opposite of José María Tecla Morelos y Pavón (Vargas) and Vicente "el negro" Guerrero, each a Black Moses. In Gyurko's words: "Cruz is literally an hijo de la chingada. Violation gave him life -rape of a slave woman by his father, Anastasio Menchaca; violation pervades his life, and violation (mental and physical) characterizes his death" (35). For Gyurko, on the symbolic level, Cruz is a metaphor for the Frozen Revolution and a nation that "slavishly imitates the value systems of European and North American nations" (39).

Cruz is rich, powerful and married into a criollo family. However, it is made obvious that these "attributes," per se, cannot remove the color line that marginalizes him throughout the story. He enters a marriage where the color divide is kept and cultured within the relationship (103). All the power Artemio Cruz has is not enough to free his conscience from the knowledge of being "the Other," even at home with his wife and daughter (31-32).

This very power, impressive physique and ruthless character, given him so lavishly, mark Artemio Cruz and make him stand out as a whitened black (33). Cruz never gains control of his life, although a millionaire. This creates the illusion that the criollos he wishes to emulate are naturally superior to him and those he is the prototype of, nonwhite Mexicans (32, 33, 50). Snead identifies mythification, marking and omission as three particular tactics to forge and perpetuate black stereotypes (143). He points out that to make whites appear more civilized, powerful and important, they are shown in contrast to subservient blacks. La muerte does this.

Lunero, Cruz' Uncle, is a well-tamed and criollo-loyal young Mulatto who quietly accepts his fate (284). He is still in bondage at the beginning of the twentieth century (295). He silently tolerates the sexual rape and physical abuse of his sister, Isabel, Cruz' mother, by the master, Cruz' father. Lunero helps Isabel during Cruz' birth (314). But he does nothing and stays quiet when the master, a known rapist of nonwhite women (229), beats Isabel with a stick and runs her off the property in his presence (286, 306). Lunero is unbelievably good and incapable of running away. He invents work to support his masters' household (285, 303) when they have become poor due to the war. He is very protective of Cruz and takes care of him for fourteen years even though, or perhaps due to Cruz' being a lighter black.

Jackson points out that discrimination, based on place of origin, color of skin, social class, and religious beliefs, has been instrumental in developing a narrative that depicts black people in "one dimension racist images," as purely sensuous, as merely musical savages waiting to be saved from their supposed incapacity to reason, and from their entirely emotional realm (Black Image 46)

Lunero is narrated as having the rhythm in him (287-88). Every afternoon he sings to young Cruz the songs brought by Lunero's father from Santiago de Cuba "when the war broke out and the families moved to Veracruz along with their servants" (286). He is a prisoner of fear and nostalgia. He fears the New World: the sierra, the Amerindians, and the plateau (302); and is nostalgic of the continent where "one like him would be able to get lost in the jungle and say that he had returned" (302).

Jackson exhibits that Latin American literature, guided by the white aesthetic, caricatures blacks, presents blacks as easily corruptible, with an endless sexual appetite, as possessing an innate musicality, as having a natural predisposition to relax, as inherently drunkard, as polygamous, as irresponsible parents and as devil-like (Black Image 49-59).

According to Snead:

The history that whites have made (...) empties black skin of any historical or material reference, except as former slaves. The notion of the eternal black "character" is invented to justify the enforced economic disadvantage that we enjoy (or don't enjoy)(...). [B]lacks' behavior is portrayed as being unrelated to the history that whites have trapped them in. Let me repeat: that behavior is being portrayed as something static, enduring, and unchangeable, unrelated to the history that whites have trapped them in. Blacks are seen as ahistorical. (139)

Isabel Cruz or Cruz Isabel, Artemio Cruz' mother, is a woman without a fixed name that appears in the narrative only as a vessel to bring another hijo de la chingada into the world (314). Although she appears fleetingly, she leaves the impression of being nothing more than a victim, a fearful presence incapable of making a sound even at the moment of delivery. Jackson has found that even in cases where blacks are defended, they are depicted, among other ways, as backward, submissive, tame, and servile ("Black Phobia" 467).

In La muerte, African Mexicans seem to inhabit Veracruz, and not to extend beyond the sierra. The hacienda of Cocuya is full of blacks (295), "Negroid" people (289), and "... clear eyed Mulattoes with skin the color of pine nuts" who were offspring of the "Indian and Mulatto women that went around bearing them" (289). One learns about blacks "brought to the tropical plantations with their hair straightened by the daring Indian women that offered their hairless sexual parts as a victory redoubt over the curly haired race" (279).

In contrast to La muerte's narrative, it is well documented that black Africans of the Diaspora were taken all over New Spain wherever there was mining, farming, ranching, factories, domestic work, or transportation of goods. History shows that African Mexicans, the infamous mezclas, became the majority of today's mestizos (Aguirre Beltrán 276).

History confirms that the mezclas or mestizos of African descent fought valiantly under the name of "chinacos" and "pintos" during the War of Independence (1810-1821) (Riva Palacio's Calvario; Díaz, xviii). It archives that later, they fought against the French and defeated them in Puebla (5 May 1862). History records that the chinaco and pinto liberals followed the French into the interior of the country and, against all odds, defeated and expelled them from Mexican national territory three years later.

"The omission of the black [heroes], then, has meant the presence of the stereotype" (Snead 147). La muerte's reintroduction and reinforcement of black stereotypes does not end there. Cruz' daughter, Teresa, who is a mestiza of African descent as well, is portrayed as oblivious of her African lineage. They are ideologically whitened. She appears as happily Americanized, going shopping, eating waffles and talking about North American movie stars (22-23, 25). La muerte suggest that post-revolution corruption in Mexico is tied to miscegenation and that mestizaje, of the type embodied by Cruz and his lineage, had a negative effect on the Mexican Revolution (50).

In conclusion, La muerte is a text where the modern Mexican nation is still being narrated in accordance to the "cosmic race" creed; a belief that the "improvement" of the nation rested on the cleansing, by mixing out, of all black African traces of the population. The novel perpetuates the myth of whitening that underlines the ideology of mestizaje in Mexico, as in other parts of the Americas. La muerte contributes to the erasure of the path that leads to the African family tree, of Mexican mestizaje. Just as La raza cósmica, El perfil, and "Los hijos," among other pillars of the imagined modern Mexican nation, La muerte reproduces and reinforces the confusion of the origins of the Mexican mestizo and his culture: "a río revuelto ganancia de pescadores."

La muerte forges and perpetuates stereotypes of black people and their daughters and sons. It thereby codifies them as exhibited under Snead's perspective. The novel marks blacks, mythifies whites and omits mentioning, under a just light, Mexicans of African lineage who do not desire to be whitened and are not servile, tame, submissive, or backward. This renders the African Mexican ahistorical. Just as other Latin American writings studied by Jackson, La muerte replaces the historical image of prominent African Mexicans with caricatures.

Personajes : artemio cruz, catalina, Lorenzo, Teresa, Gloria, Gerardo, Gamaliel, padre Paez, Lilia, Laura, Lunero, Gonzalo , Regina, Locacion: México Año: diferentes fechas
La historia de Artemio es la historia de la ambición por sobre todas las cosas, el deseo desmedido de poder, la corrupción, la degeneración moral, dejar de creer en el amor y en las personas para empezar a creer en lo que se puede comprar y tener, en lo que se puede manejar, dominar, subyugar..... Esta obra esta escrita de diferentes maneras, en primera persona, en segunda persona, y narrador omnisciente, estados de conciencia y semiconciencia caracterizan la trama y los diálogos se sitúan como la vida misma dentro de la cabeza de Artemio, donde las fechas y los recuerdos van tomando su curso, para hacernos entender esa maraña de cosas que se tejen y destejen en su cabeza, para empezar a poner orden a esos pensamientos desordenados, que giran y giran y buscan tal vez el perdón y la comprensión de las mujeres, Catalina que nunca lo amo, Regina que lo amo con el alma, Lilia y Laura que solo querían su dinero, El destino, que lo hace verse viejo y sin herederos, su hijo completando su vida, muriendo la muerte que le tocaba morir a el en la guerra y que tuvo que ser muerta por su hijo en otra guerra al otro lado del mar que sabe a cerveza y huele a melón, que hay detrás del mar? Islas , ... Artemio, muere Artemio, no quiero verme viejo,. Por eso los controlo, por eso las uso, por eso me burlo de ellas, que me odian........ Es también una obra sobre el poder en México y la forma en que se maneja..... Excelente. LUIS MENDEZ

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