Week Four

This week’s lecture was packed with information focusing on several narratives of independence. I really enjoyed reading Jose Marti’s “Our America” even though it was complex and difficult to understand. I liked the creative metaphors he used, they were poetic and interesting to imagine (i.e. comets gulping down worlds, trees form ranks like soldiers), however overall, I feel that his piece showed off his writing style more than it conveyed what he intended it to. Did he intend his writing to be so complex to understand? And if so why did he make the decision to write it like this? In a different sense, it captures the many complexities that exist within America as well which is intriguing. It was also impressive to read “Our America” knowing that it was and still is such an important statement of Latin American identity. Also, I’m curious as to why Jose Marti was frequently exiled from his homeland. How can you be exiled more than once? Did he go back even though he wasn’t supposed to?

On a different note, I was impressed to learn about the Haitian Revolution and how it initiated because of slaves that joined together and rose up against plantation owners. This became context for Simon Bolivar’s letter from Jamaica in 1815 which brings me to my next point. I was struck to find out that decisions were being made in Europe about America without taking into account the people that were being affected by it. (I had never considered that anyone, except the Europeans in America, was making big decisions about the Americas). This was shocking to me because there were many Europeans living in the America’s at the time and it seems crazy to me that the Europeans in Europe were marginalizing the people that were actively living in the Americas. Of course, the Europeans in America were also making executive decisions about the indigenous people and slaves which infuriates me but that’s going onto a different topic. Going back to what I was saying before, I can imagine to some extent why European Americans may not have been included since communication was a lot slower back then than it is today, but I’m still perplexed by it.

There is a lot of information that was presented to us this week that I haven’t covered here that I’m still trying to conceptualize and wrap my head around; I’m looking forward to discussing all of this more deeply in class this week.

Sophie

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