Monday, January 14, 2008

The first 1/2 of Facundo

Reading the conversation Sarmiento printed between him and Dr. Don Manuel Ignacio Castro Barros made me very grateful for living in a free society, where not half the population is fleeing from lack of resources or government cruelty or a severe lack of medical care. This conversation I felt really exemplified the reason for why Sarmiento wanted to speak out against the injustice and pain his society has suffered and write about a dictator. He gives an unusual amount of background on some of the history of Argentina and barbarization, but it really sets the reader up for understanding 1) Where he's coming from, and 2) How dictatorships came to be in Argentina, or just in general.
Just this page long conversation alone really depicts the state of anarchy that revolution and/or war can bring about. This revolution in terms of Marx wasn't a failure, based on the fact that no one in particular had a lot of money; the doctor mentions that everyone is very poor, no one had any large fortunes of fifty thousand pesos. Therefore, everyone was relatively on the same economic plane. However, this revolution destroyed Argentine economy and even population.
It's easy to tell that Sarmiento is greatly impassioned by the history of Argentina and the vast amount of social problems it has faced. One way he shows this is by answering all of his own furious questions with a resounding "no!" He also ends many sentences in exclamation points. An example being, "Might you think that such mediocrity is normal for a city of the interior? No!"
When I got to the fifth chapter, Life of Juan Facundo Quiroga, it seemed to me that the book really should have started here. He had a wonderful, masjestic beginning that painted a vivid picture for the reader. It felt like the first few chapters were more of a self-indulgent rant, to show his knowledge of previous history and to set up the horrors that Argentina has faced, but much of these chapters involved his anger that could have been omitted. His writing takes on an entirely different approach and purpose starting in chapter five, to the point where it might have been easier to just do a bit of research on the 1810 revolution, The "Baqueano," and looked at a map of Argentina before reading "Life of Facundo Quiroga."
I liked the line on page 100, "I see in them a greant man, a man of genius in spite of himself and without knowing it, a Caesar, a Tamerlane, a Mohammed."

No comments: