That was a ton of reading for a first weekend back at school. However, I truly enjoyed the legends and found them most entertaining. It is interesting to see how writing historical content in a completely non historical or scientific manner can capture a reader such as myself and create a world in which I desire to travel to in reality. Through use of language, Asturias was still able to transport me to his settings, in which I gladly lost myself in the legends. These stories helped me to better understand the meaning of "magical realism". To be quite honest when I first heard the term I was flabbergasted at what type of "cuento" belonged to such a category. The magic comes from the descriptions and the world the author creates through use of his poetic voice and magical elements; most evident in Asturias reference to the natural world, and the reality comes from the fact that this real world, described in a magical tone was inhabited by the indigenous people. The indigenous people have an unbelievable connection to the natural world. The energies between earth, sky, water and fire, are found in the daily lives of the inhabitants and these legends are a major part of the culture.
Many of the stories contain descriptions of the inhabitants customs and traditions, especially there religious ceremonies that involved sacrifice. The spiritual reference is important I think because it draws towards a sense of identity that the inhabitants had. The natural world obviously played a major role in the spiritual sense. It is a major aspect of a culture that is vital to better understand their differences.
I could see how these legends were used as a marketing tool to advertise the new world. The descriptions of the enormous amount of wealth found in the new world: emeralds, pearls, gold, fertile lands, and other rare resources, all acted as temptations to the European mindset and merchants in search of new found wealth. Perhaps however this ended up doing more harm than good to the people of Guatemala.
My favourite legend is "leyenda de tatuana". For me, los caminos, are metaphors for the different paths one can take in life. I interpreted a sense of optimism is necessary when viewing life, that there is freedom found in one's dreams and love can make one's reality seem as a dream. Like the other legends I found the story serves a greater purpose and helpful life lessons and that wealth is not necessarily measured by possession either. The tattoo is kinda cool at the end too. Still today I find people get tattooed with symbols they find important or to remind them of something significant.
Thought these stories were awesome and I had fun reading them :)
PS. I hope this is how we are supposed to blog.. if not ...SORRY. catch ya on the flypside. xx