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    Women of The Underdogs Essay

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    Mariano Azuela’s novel. The Underdogs. is a male-dominated novel. The narrative of the feats and wartime escapades of a rebel set during the Mexican Revolution is chiefly driven by work forces ; the bulk of the characters are work forces who are separated from their households and lives and who are contending for a cause in which they strongly believe ( at least at the beginning of the novel ) . Despite the masculine narrative. nevertheless. there are two extremely developed and important female characters in The Underdogs. These adult females. Camila and War Paint. are a representation of two of the functions adult females played during the Mexican Revolution. While the portrayals Azuela pigments of these adult females and their function in society and revolution are improbably accurate. he does pretermit the explore the other avenues of engagement that adult females had in the revolution. Thus. Azuela semi-accurately portrays the functions that adult females played in the revolution during this clip through the characters of Camila and War Paint.

    Through these two adult females. the modern reader can accomplish a sense of understanding as to two of the primary functions that adult females played during the revolution in the early twentieth century. Camila is a immature adult females who embodies a chiefly domestic function. supplying comfort. attention and shelter to the Rebel soldiers as so many adult females did during this clip in Mexican history. War Paint provides a blunt contrast to the mild Camila ; as her name suggests. she is a ferocious and hardened warrior. a soldadera. Her function in the revolution is much different: she really joins the ranks of the Rebel set led by Demetrio Macias. and battles alongside the work forces.

    While the two adult females are extremely developed characters who accurately represent the part of society from which they come. there are many adult females who participated in the revolution whose functions did non fall into the “domestic” and “warrior” classs. Many adult females were journalists. lobbyists. and propagandists ; some were nurses. be givening to the hurt exterior of their places ; some even participated in spiritual protesting. Therefore. while Camila and War Paint’s functions in Azuela’s portraiture of the Mexican Revolution are accurate and well-developed. there is a much larger image of women’s functions that is losing from the novel.

    Womans in Mexican Society: Pre-Revolution

    In order to efficaciously understand how women’s functions in Mexican society changed during the Mexican Revolution. we must analyze the social outlooks of women’s behaviour before this disruptive clip in their history. Womans in Mexico between the 18th and 19th centuries experienced many alterations as the enlightenment swept across Europe and impacted Spain. Were adult females merely good for bring forthing kids and caring for a hubby? The reply to this inquiry was in the procedure of being determined even every bit early as the eighteenth century.

    In the late 1700’s. little stairss were taken to reform the intervention and outlooks of adult females. Education. even if improbably limited direction was to be had. became more accessible to adult females populating in urban countries ; alterations were made in order to let adult females to come in the work force ; adult females were even pushed and encouraged to fall in in the battle for independency. As with many states during this clip. women’s rights had been limited for centuries. so the alterations that were made in Mexico during the Enlightenment allowed adult females to interrupt free of the cast that society had placed upon them and research other avenues. They could work outside of the place. have an instruction. and take part in political relations. even if it was to a limited extent. Many adult females did take part in the wars of independency. offering their services for the benefit of the state.

    After the freedom was eventually achieved. adult females were expected to return to their private domains and traditional functions ; that is. raising a household. maintaining a place. and caring for a hubby. However. many adult females did non wish to return to their old lives ; they continued organizing organisations. subscribing requests. and trying to demo the authorities how valuable their parts to society could be. They seem to hold succeeded. at least limitedly ; the authorities seemed to acknowledge that adult females could be valuable social participants. but made accommodations to the ways that they would be allowed to take part. Education was oriented toward the place and household. organisations and requests set up by females remained entirely for adult females. and the similar. Regardless of developments in the authorities. nevertheless. adult females did go on to raise and foster their households and serve their communities as they had prior to the wars of independency.

    By the clip the Mexican Revolution began. adult females were ready to be recognized to the full for their endowments and abilities. While many adult females chose to remain behind the scenes and attention for the soldiers on the out of boundss. like Camila in The Underdogs. there were every bit as many adult females who chose to actively take part in the revolution. Womans such as War Paint chose to go combatants. while others followed less unsafe waies ( although many were every bit as extremist ) . Despite the fact that Camila and War Paint are both accurate representations of the adult females who chose the same waies during the revolution. there are still many different functions that adult females played during this clip that Azuela does non admit.

    Womans in The Underdogs: Is It Enough?

    Even though Camila and War Paint’s narratives are woven throughout the “bigger picture” of Azuela’s novel. their characters are meticulously developed and show readers how adult females within their functions in society and revolution were expected to act ( and how they really behaved ) . Camila is present throughout the full narrative ; if non in individual. than in name. She is the domestic. mild miss who stays on the out of boundss of the conflicts and passively delaies for injured. hungry or dog-tired soldiers to demo up on her doorsill and let her to care for them. War Paint. on the other manus. has a wild personality and refuses to allow her life be dictated by outside influences ; she joins the Rebel set as a combatant. non a caretaker.

    There were existent adult females who would hold embodied the features of War Paint and Camila and participated in the same or similar activities during the revolution. but there were besides many other adult females who did nil of the kind. Thus. Azuela could hold done a much better occupation portraying. or at least adverting. the other types of opposition and engagement of adult females in the revolution. War Paint and Camila’s functions in the revolution and society environing it. nevertheless. do give readers a semi-accurate portrayal of some things that adult females were making to take part in civilization and society during this clip in Mexican history.

    Camila: Womans in Society during the Revolution

    Camila. the domestic. first appears after Demetrio Macias has been wounded in a battle. The Rebels carry their leader on a stretcher to a little small town. where they expect Camila and the other adult females to take attention of him and nurse him back to wellness. Azuela introduces Camila as an obedient miss who follows tradition and conforms to the outlooks environing her function in society as a adult female. After Macias is brought into her small town.

    A really friendly miss brought a jicara filled with bluish H2O. Demetrio grabbed the calabash with his trembling custodies and drank avidly.

    “Want any more? ”

    Demetrio raised his eyes: the immature adult female had a really ordinary face. but her voice was filled with much sugariness.

    Camila is a typical small town miss. carry throughing her responsibility of supplying attention to the soldiers who show up on her doorsill.

    The immature miss shortly becomes infatuated with Luis Cervantes. though he does non return the fondness. and Macias desires for Camila to go his lover. After the Rebels leave her small town. she disappears from the narrative until Macias decides to direct for her. She does so go his lover at this point. siting along with the Rebel set and supplying Macias with the amenitiess he asks of her ; nevertheless. she is non precisely the most convenient individual to be labeling along with the set. as she cries on a regular basis and is invariably acquiring into statements with War Paint. Camila is finally stabbed after an statement with War Paint. which devastates Macias. who so turns all of his attempts to contending.

    Camila embodies the features of the domestic adult female in Mexican society during the revolution. By the clip the Mexican Revolution began. 80 % of the population of Mexico lived in rural countries untouched by the modernisation that occurred in urban countries ; therefore. the bulk of adult females were housewifes. farmers’ married womans. or sellers at small town markets. selling flowers. veggies. or nutrient to hungry travellers. Many adult females who lived in these rural countries chose non to contend were frequently forced to offer their places. nutrient. and organic structures for the comfort of those contending for the Rebel cause. Supplying attention to the work forces of the revolution was non the lone function that adult females played. nevertheless. Some adult females joined the ranks as combatants. every bit good.

    War Paint: Women’s Functions in the Revolution

    As the lone female warrior presented in the novel. War Paint is proven to be one of the most plucky and hotheaded characters. The first description that Azuela gives of her shows her wild spirit and non-conformist attitude:

    “Are you Demetrio Macias. so? ” asked the immature adult female all of a sudden. spliting in from atop the saloon. singing her legs and tapping Demetrio on the dorsum with her coarse leather places.

    “At your service. ” he replied. hardly turning his caput about.

    Indifferent. she continued traveling her exposed legs. demoing off her bluish stockings.

    War Paint’s debut to the narrative is a complete contrast to the immature and mild Camila. who seems. for the most portion. to obey the outlooks of adult females from anterior to the Mexican Revolution. War Paint refuses to bow to pre-revolution criterions for adult females and alternatively nowadayss herself in the complete opposite visible radiation: as a Rebel. She is perfectly successful in this enterprise. and really becomes one of the Rebel combatants. As a female combatant. she is known as a soldadera ; these adult females were among the first of their race and civilization to fall in ranks with work forces and battle for a cause.

    Many adult females chose to follow the same way as War Paint and becomes soldaderas. These female soldiers were foremost developed during the wars of independency as adult females joined the ranks of soldiers to fix nutrient. rinse their vesture. and assist to take attention of them when they were injured. During the Mexican Revolution. they traveled around with the Rebel bands that their hubbies or lovers belonged to. frequently take parting in the combat themselves. War Paint fits this description: she joins the Rebel set with the adult male she loves. Towhead Margarito ( though she is besides attracted to Macias ) .

    Artists and authors during this period frequently portrayed these soldaderas as heroes. making pictures ( and. for writers like Azuela. characters like War Paint ) and even vocals that were sung about female combatants. While this was non the most popular avenue for adult females populating in Mexico during the revolution. there were still many that did take this way of rebellion. alternatively of a less unsafe one.

    Other Women’s Roles during the Mexican Revolution

    As was antecedently stated. Camila and War Paint. while their characters do embody two of the big functions that adult females played during the Mexican Revolution. are non representative of their full sex. Aside from going soldaderas to fall in in the combat or remaining place to be given to soldiers that needed attention. there were many other activities that adult females participated in to demo their support for the revolution. Womans were active participants in countries such as news media. where they would compose about the revolution and its effects on society ; they would propagandise and protest to promote other work forces and adult females to fall in in the opposition ; some of the educated adult females became nurses on the front lines of the combat and on the place forepart ( similar to Camila’s function ) . Some adult females participated in opposition groups. assisting to garner ammo and weaponries and transport them to those contending. every bit good as executing messenger undertakings and espionage. Many of the in-between and upper-class adult females who lived in urban countries off from the combat avoided engagement wholly.

    Prior to the revolution. adult females were merely get downing to emerge as of import members of society and some were make bolding plenty to force the bounds of what was deemed “acceptable” female behaviour. While many adult females of the revolution chose to conform to those outlooks and go the caretakers of the soldiers. like Camila. there were many more like War Paint who fought against them. They were non merely soldaderas. They did much more than that. but Azuela doesn’t reference them in The Underdogs.

    The adult females of the Mexican Revolution were active participants in many more Fieldss than merely the two that Azuela portrayed through Camila and War Paint. While his female characters do demo how domestic adult females and soldaderas were active participants in the revolution. he neglects to demo merely to what extent adult females in general really engaged in the revolution. Readers get a good sense of the function of the domestic caretaker and the female combatant. but learn nil about the nurses. protestors. propagandists. journalists. and the similar from his novel.

    Plants Cited

    Arrom. Silvia Marina. The Women of Mexico City. 1790-1857. Stanford: Stanford University

    Imperativeness. 1985.

    Azuela. Mariano. The Underdogs: A Novel of the Mexican Revolution. Trans. Sergio Waisman.

    New York: Penguin Books. 2008.

    Buchenau. Jurgen. Mexican Mosaic: A Brief History of Mexico. Wheeling: Harlan Davidson. Inc.


    Macias. Anna. “Women and the Mexican Revolution. 1910-1920. ” The Americas. Vol. 37. No. 1

    ( July 1980 ) . pp. 53-82.

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