Honor In La Constancia

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In two of his chapters, Gutiérrez defines the aspects of honor and manhood within the history of Latin culture. He defines honor as “the first value judgement concerning one’s social personality, and not only the value of a person in his or her own eyes, but also the recognition of that worth in the eyes of others” (Gutierrez 177).
Gutierrez first introduces the Spanish folktale of “La Constancia ” because it describes the core values of most Spanish colonists in New Mexico, which was honor. The story tells of seduction and intrigue, of malevolence, rivalries, and a pact with which, of how one man took the honor of another, and most importantly of how honor was won and lost honor avenged (176). Honor was “polysemic word embodying meaning
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“Calidad evaluated a person solely in relation to his rights and privileges; nobleza, in relation to the honor and virtue which is assumed to accompany it” (191). This was used in Spanish New Mexican Society to differentiate people to how they are suppose to be given privilege or punishment. For example, those who had a lower status, such as the Native Indians, were whipped as punishment for crimes. On the other hand higher status, such as Spaniards, did not receive public punishment due to being given privileges as reward for expanding their land and thus heightened their honor through titles of …show more content…
Men were honorable if they acted with hombría (manliness) and exerted authority over their family. Manhood is intimately tied to the male autonomy, the miembro, the virile member or penis, which produced masculinity. Men were powerless without it. An emasculated man was referred to as manso, meaning meek and gentle(209). In 1606, Gaspar Reyes found himself sick and destitute and begged for food. Fray Pedro took him in and fed him lavishly with a meal. When Gaspar was finished eating, the friar stuck his hand in his pants and diminished his masculinity by telling him his penis what at a smaller size than his(210). This story not only shows the importance of masculinity one had, but the lengths one went to show superiority over one another.
Husbands were more concerned about what everyone else thought so they needed to be constantly on guard to exhibit conduct benefiting their sex, as well as vigilant that no one maliciously tarnished their reputations (224). The story of “La Constancia” vividly illustrates the relationship between honor-status and honor-virtue. When Jose Maria believed that his wife’s virtue had been taken, he was dishonored not because his he believed that Constancia actually committed adultery, but because Jose believed what he had been told about his wife’s

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