Tuesday, February 2, 2010

deuxieme partie

I was really, really impressed by this book. After the first half of the book, I thought that lo real maravilloso had to do with brujería and vodú. However, I now think that the genre was created possibly not on purpose but because of the unbelievable history of Haiti's Independence and the many conflicts that followed its success. I find it very interesting to think that Haiti was the first country in Latin America that gained independence (2nd in the Americas) and that it was the lowest class in society that succeeded in doing so. The majority of the independence revolutions that followed throughout Latin America were led by Creoles (european-blooded elites)! The story of how Haiti gained independence is also the story of the first country in the Americas (i think) to have abolished slavery. What a magical story.

I really liked Carpentier's style of storytelling. Something in particular that I picked up on was that after Henri Christophe's people destroyed his castle in the sky and he is standing there realizing how quiet it is without his servants, he describes a bat flying up the empty staircase and a butterfly in one of the rooms. Subtly, nature begins to enter into the mansion. To me, this represented Christophe's culture. Not the european one he had tried so hard to adopt, but the magical african/american vodú culture of his people. Christophe denied his roots, his natural beginnings and a culture deeply connected his nature. He exploited his people and his island's resources only have them ultimately destroy him. I also found his death to be a perfect end.

p.s. did anyone else notice a theme of frio in the second half. it was word i kept stumbling upon but was the last word i expected in a climate like Haiti's.


Liz Rogers said...

I was equally intrigued by Ti Noel's sporting the old coat. What a layered comment on...cultural-ethnic stigmas. I totally agree that it's a hopeful act and one that contradicts the blacks' former attempt at reshaping their people's and culture's health by Henri's failed handling of a lot of power. Tyranny reigns supreme! Not an optimistic work, or is it?

Anonymous said...

I really like your analysis of Henri Christophe and the seeping-in of nature. I also found that it was really interesting that several associations are made between Henri Christophe and Louis XIV. He's a really interesting character, and especially when read through the lens of Carpentier!!

Alex Ellingboe said...

I noticed the recurrence of frio and also found it strange. We'll have to ask Jon about it in class sometime and see if he can shed any light on the significance (or perhaps total lack thereof).