With His Pistol in His Hand (Part 2)

To be honest, I found the second part of the book quite boring. I know Paredes has a point in explaining why there are so many different variations of the corridos. There were times that I had no idea if I skipped a page or five because I couldn’t keep track of the people and the places mentioned in the book anymore. At the same time, it was good to see what it was like back then and also to learn a little bit about the history of Mexico. It is interesting to see how the corridos have “evolved” by being passed around as a tradition orally. While it might be impossible to know what really happened, there is something so beautiful as to how that might just stay as a mystery or rather a treasure that will be preserved by those who actually do know what happened.

I believe one of the reasons that it has been altered numerous times is the historical context behind it and what the people of a certain place perceive Gregorio Cortez to be. One can easily assume things about his personality or the role that he played back in the day.  Something I can relate to this is a recent photo of an animated movie that I have seen on social media. I remember seeing a poster of the first Spaniard, Ferdinand Magellan, that “discovered” the Philippines back in 1521 and then there is a guy on the poster on the bottom-right corner of the poster. This guy, Lapu-Lapu, is someone I learned about when I was little. His image was smaller than Magellan’s of course. It is also indicated that Lapu-Lapu is the villain in the movie. To me, it was weird because I learned about the arrival of the Spaniards from the Filipino perspective and I never looked at Lapu-Lapu as a villain. I believe that the arrival of the Spaniards was the first time that the Philippines has had colonizers. It is just intuitive for humans to protect their own, and this is where Lapu-Lapu comes in. Since the movie is probably an original in Spain, it just makes sense that those who are fighting back from the “conquered” side are named the villains or the “bad guys”. From the Spanish point of view, this is a new discovery that brought glory to the name of Spain but to the natives, it meant oppression and slavery.

The same thing might have happened with Gregorio Cortez’s story. The more the people knew about him, the more the stories about him changed.

2 thoughts on “With His Pistol in His Hand (Part 2)

  1. Maria do Rosario Farinha

    Hey Rachel!
    It’s so interesting that you mention Magellan. In Portugal we learn that he expanded our empire, our knowledge of the world (while working for King Felipe). But as nationals we always pride ourselves knowing that a Portuguese man was the first one to go around the world. Your point is really interesting. Our points of views change depending on our cultural history. The question I have is: to what extent do these stories, that were once based on truth, start becoming fantasy? And because we have different views, is there one Truth, or is it simply relative to how its being told, and by who is telling it?
    – Maria F.

  2. stephanie kletas

    Really interesting how you related the figure of Gregorio Cortez and his importance in storytelling through the corrido with Magellan. It is true that as time passes and stories are shared with different people these stories start evolving and changing to the point where it makes it difficult to understand what was reality and what was not. it is quite interesting though to understand the impact of these beings, that even if years have passed people still keep on remembering them in different ways such as in song.


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