Song of the Hummingbird

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Fountain of Life
Imagine living in a civilization that practiced human sacrifice and ritual dances, and then one day that civilization no longer exists because another culture decided to conquer them. These people are known to modern society as the Aztecs. In Graciela Limon's novel, Song of the Hummingbird, she illustrated how a culture like the Aztecs or Mexica, can quickly diminish when there are people such as the Spanish that have very limited understanding about certain subjects. Some people may say that the Aztecs were slaughtered because the Darwinian principle of natural selection even applies to mankind. This concept was perceptible when the Spaniards marched with horses, advanced technology, and armor. But through this novel, anyone can see that the Aztecs were willing to make peace with the Spaniards until they started to be aggressive against the Aztecs. Limon also portrayed that the Spaniards didn't even try to understand the Mexica culture, but they saw human sacrifice as an act that pertained to the devil. Many people can agree with Graciela Limon that people needed to treat and understand each other better, because it was clear that if people had not done so, then it created several problems between people just like the Aztecs and Spaniards.

Limon used many characters to show that no matter how difficult it was to understand each other, sometimes perception was achieved, and sometimes points of view just clashed. It was difficult for Father Benito to understand Huitzitzilin because she believed in idols, while he believed in Jesus. He tried to compare them, but that was considered a sin in Christianity. Every time Huitzitzilin tried to approach Father Benito with the discussion of her gods, Father Benito wanted an immediate change of subject. He considered ritual dances and human sacrifices as articles pertaining to Satan. It is spiritually hard for him to understand her because since she confessed to him in the confessional, and he can't seek anyone's help on how to forgive her. As the novel progresses, Father Benito forgave Huitzitzilin for her sins. And from this, Huitzitzilin contemplated that he has grown wiser because he is able to forgive her, and this is apparent when he stated, "Yes. I have forgiven you. But it is not I who should…" (204) Her sins are considered to be highly dreadful by the Spaniards, but Father Benito still found it in his heart to relieved her sins. Another character who tried his hardest to understand like Father Benito is Montezuma. Through various signs, his culture believed that the Spaniards were gods, so Montezuma decided to understand and be kind to the Spaniards as soon as Cortés approached the gates of Tenochtitlán. Even Huitzitzilin saw this when she stated to Father Benito, "Montezuma did everything in his power to please the white men. He housed them in his late father's palace, he continued to shower them with gifts, he visited with them, and he even appeared to like Captain Cortés." (102) Even though he was one of the few people that tried to make an attempt to understand the other culture, there were others that just were mentally scared through all the mayhem. Paloma was one of the characters that psychologically had been affected. During the conquest, she was taken away at a young age, and she grew up to be the young woman who mocked the maimed Mexica woman. The reason for this was that she was laughed at by her own community. Since Huitzitzilin and Baltazaar Ovando had sexual intercourse, Huitzitzilin produced Paloma and Baltazaar, and their traits were different from everyone else's. Paloma had a mix of Mexica and Spanish traits, thus making her a golden blonde color versus the normal Mexica women that had black or brown hair. Also, when Huitzitzilin took her two children to go meet with Baltazaar, they were taken away, and were under the supervision of Baltazaar's wife. His wife beat both children, and those beatings had to have an effect on how Paloma grew...
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