Plot Summary: The Nine Guardians

Topics: Mexico, Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous peoples Pages: 6 (2340 words) Published: December 1, 2012
The Nine Guardians
�Nine Guardians� takes places in the State of Chiapas, in Mexico, where from the remains of the Mexican revolution came the presidency of Lazaro Cardenas. His presidency takes places between 1934 and 1940, during the time this novel takes place. Cardenas expropriated foreign-held properties, distributed land to peasants, and instituted reforms to benefit indigenous people and Mexican workers. Cardenas found it unfair for the Indians to not be treated as equals, so he demanded rights for Indians. Land holdings were controlled by a ruling elite. The Indians were encouraged to rise against the landowners and demand their rights. They have the law on their side and they start to realize they don�t deserve to be treated as slaves. With the help of others, Cardenas breaks up large estates and forces families off of the lands. The novel is written from the point of view of the author, Rosario Castellanos. However, a seven year old girl is the narrator through most of �The Nine Guardians�. She takes us through the book by introducing the people surrounding her life and her family�s life. The seven year old girl is the daughter of a wealthy landowner, Cesar Arguello. Since the Arguellos are wealthy, the girl is not raised by her parents, but mostly by an Indian servant, she calls Nana. Nana has nurtured and cared for the girl and her little brother, Mario, since birth. Nana is an Indian that lives with this elite, controlling, possessive, landowning family. Despite the fact that she is treated as a slave, Nana loves the Arguellos. Nana becomes a big influence on the little girl, along with her parents, and the retaliation of the landowners and the Indians against one another. The girl and her brother will become innocent victims mostly because of her father, who will try desperately to hold on to their land for Mario�s future. Some of the damage done cannot be fixed and will remain permanent. It is a tragedy of money, power, and male supremacy. The situations that occur will leave a strong impact on how she thinks and feels. From beginning to end, the seven year old girl�s perspective of the Indians will change dramatically.

In the beginning, the girl is ignorant to the thought of being an Indian. She doesn�t want to know their history and how they stand in their society. She speaks of how young she is and wants no part of what is going on. She loves her Nana but doesn�t think she knows what she is talking about. The thought that she could have been an Indian threatens her. She wants to be idle, absent-minded, and not aware of her surroundings. Perhaps, she wishes this for Nana also. The Indians frighten her and she is ignorant of their part in society. In this novel, when bad things happen, some of the characters are superstitious and believe they pay for their mistakes through curses given by the sorcerers, especially the Indians. She starts to understand her Nana when she sees her wounded knees done by a curse that has followed her from her home, Chactajal. �It�s withches� doings that�s afoot, child. They gobble everything up-the crops, peace in the family, people�s health.� Since Nana grew up in the Arguellos house and loved the family she lived with, she was being punished. The Indians could not understand how she could love those that give orders and have possessions, it was against their beliefs. The girl is angry at first at the Indians and begins to understand the sacrifices and hardships her Nana must have and is going through to be apart of the Arguellos family. From this experience, she starts to see who her father is and becomes disgusted with him because he is one that gives orders and own things. She starts to put a lot of faith in her Nana and believes the things she tells her. She becomes more aware that this time in her life is not going to be a time for fun. She also begins to learn to look with lowered eyes when humility looks at bigness, like the Indians do out of respect for the...
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