Tensions Between the Empire and the Nation
“The Old Gringo” by Carlos Fuentes brings out two main themes of tension between the empire and the nation with U.S involvement in Latin America as an imperial power, and notions of civilization and progress in Latin America. The three main characters Ambrose Bierce, Tomás Arroyo, and Harriet Winslow all are in Mexico for a sense of redemption from their past and each of their stories resemble United States and Mexico during the times of the Mexican Revolution. The Mexican Revolution occurred around the 1930s to the 1990s and during this time the United States imperialism and notion of civilization and progress was taking place in Mexico. The three main characters each have different stories and different reasons for being in Mexico to achieve redemption. Ambrose Bierce also known as the old gringo was a journalist for William Hearst in the 1900s. His whole family left him because they were so shamed by what he wrote. He describes his writing as mocking God, his Homeland, and Money; and his family thought when would they be next for him to go against them, judging them, telling them their no exception, they prove the rule, and are all part of the ludicrous filth, the farts of God, we call humanity. (Fuentes, p.75) Some of the family left him through death and others left by just choosing to never see him again. The old gringo joked, “I think my sons killed themselves so I wouldn’t ridicule them in the newspapers of my boss William Randolph Hearst” (Fuentes, p. 73). Through his journey of redemption he met up with General Tomás Arroyo’s revolutionary group on the Miranda hacienda in northern Mexico. His plan of redemption was through death, “He wanted to die because everything he loved died before him” (Fuentes, p. 37) The general Ambrose Bierce met up with was Tomás Arroyo. He lived on the Miranda Hacienda in Northern Mexico for his whole life. He was a product of rape by the hacienda’s owner and grew up as a poor...
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