Maria Full of Grace and Colombian Culture

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  • Topic: Family, Latin American culture, Colombia
  • Pages : 5 (2091 words )
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  • Published : May 10, 2013
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Colombian culture can tend to be stereotyped when the rest of us outsiders are viewing it. What I have always heard about Columbia usually had to do with stories of cocaine and mountainous warfare – due to cocaine. In this essay I will be discussing the movie Maria Full of Grace and how it explains Colombian culture. I like to veer away from stereotypes, but as most people know unless they have been living under a rock during the past few years, Maria Full of Grace deals with the exportation of drugs into the US via drug mules. I wondered how I might explain that Colombian culture was not just about drugs given this context. We meet a young Colombian girl named Maria. It is clear immediately that she is a smart girl, someone above the status-quo. Unfortunately she is also someone who is caught up with the naivete, or perhaps curses of her youth and circumstances. Interestingly we see two aspects of Colombian culture in this film. First we are with Maria, her family and compadres in the rural town she has known all her life outside of Bogotá. Later after a lucky entry, or even an entry full of grace into the US by Maria, we meet Colombian immigrant culture. When we first meet Maria Alvarez she is up before the sun waiting for a bus with her mother to take her to the factory she works for de-thorning roses. That was one of the first things on culture I caught, was her mom waiting for the bus with her so early in the morning. Maria is seventeen and a more than capable girl, so it’s not like she needs someone to wait with her. I think that is a part of Latin American cultures though, to see your almost grown child off on the bus before dawn and forget about your own lack of sleep. The Alvarez household, like most in Latin American culture, is made up of not only immediate family but extended family as well. There is Maria of course, her sister and nephew, her mother and her and her grandmother. It seems that Maria at the young age of seventeen is the breadwinner, a title she obviously resents. Abuela is the household cook. Factory work is brutal and Maria is strong willed enough not to put up with her boss’s tyranny, so she quits. Maria and her friend Blanca meet up with fate when they run into Franklin at something I will refer to as a street party. Knowing the little I do about Latin American/Colombian culture, I wasn’t exactly sure how to refer to this scene. Let me just say it looks like they know how to have fun if this is indeed what they do. They had a full band with excellent music, fireworks, dancing, food, drinks, people hanging out the windows and everyone looked like they were having a great time. I would love to run into a band like that on the street! Soon enough Maria realizes she is pregnant, and tells her boyfriend so. Instead of doing the traditional thing and accepting his proposal of (loveless) marriage, she breaks up with him. I noticed in this scene a depiction of maleness that seems to be fairly prevalent in Latin American culture, the concept of machismo. After Juan suggests they marry Maria realistically asks where they will live. He suggests his house, but she says there are already ten people there and he has to share a room. She says if they are going to do it her place would be better, but he says no way because “a guy should never live in his girl’s house.” Also when Maria tells Juan “I don’t want to marry you,” he says, “sorry but you’ll have to.” I love that she defies his patriarchal ideals. Maria runs into Franklin again on her way to find work in Bogotá. When she tells him she plans on becoming a maid he laughs at her and says she is “too pretty” for that. He mentions he could hook her up with a friend of his being a drug mule. When she seems unsure he says, “you know what? Never mind.” That statement makes me think he was out looking for young girls like her on purpose, like that must be his job to find these young naive girls who are in need of work and in Columbia your probably...
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