I, Rigoberta Menchu

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1st Essay: Reflections on I, Rigoberta Menchu

There are many things one feels when reading I, Rigoberta Menchu, everything from sympathy, empathy, frustration, enlightenment, sadness, and retribution. Rigoberta’s journey of finding her voice and her story consists of horrific conditions, government oppression, and stunning countryside recollections of life and its many trials and tribulations. Guatemala, in her words as geography goes, sound as stunning as any National Geographic article, and that is where I find it interesting to focus on, the imagery. The recollections of the traditions of childbirth, and her time away from the fincas to the altiplano with her family. There are many themes in which to consider as well when looking into the imagery I saw in my mind’s eye.

One theme in particular that I associated with was the cost of progress she and her people had to experience, from childbirth to the eventual education Rigoberta gains by distancing herself from the old ways of the elders and her people. As a child, she was educated from her community in keeping the tradition of childbirth very sacred. In chapter 2, she reflects on the birthing process, “Well, when the woman is about four months pregnant, she starts taking these baths infused with evergreens, pure natural aromas. There are many plants the community uses for pregnant women, colds, headaches, and things like that.” (Menchu pg. 10)

While I’m very for the natural, organic ways of caring for women during pregnancy, who knows how many children and mothers lost their lives while in labor due to traditional ways of the

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Guatemalan Indians. The imagery is fascinating to imagine pregnant women bathing in large, warm baths, almost as if they were being stewed for a feast. With deep beliefs in the ancestor’s teachings and traditions, the children of the antiplano were born healthy and ready to work. It surprises me that she does not mention any cases of stillborn babies or even...
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