Popular Culture as folk culture

Posted by: | February 2, 2009 | Comments Off on Popular Culture as folk culture

When I was struggling to understand the writing of Asturias I found myself captivated by the words themselves. I often found myself re-reading paragraphs in an attempt to pick up the general direction of the “Legend of the Singing Tablets”, the “Legend of the Crystal Mask”, the Legend of the Silent Bell”, and the “Legend of the Dancing Butchers”, but also revelling in the beauty of the words that were being used. I especially enjoyed the story of Ambiastro from the Legend of the Crystal Mask, who displayed a strong theme of resistance to the men with “worm-white skin” (Spanish Colonialists I would guess?) and fled into some sort of cave and created symbolic art pieces out of granite and wood and other materials. All these creations were methods of telling stories or struggle and redemption, or at least I think!! All the other legends had similar stories about legendary figures that have been infiltrated by some new group of people or religion and they resist or fight in some way. I think that in all the Legends the characters that represent the Indians end up dying or succumbing to these new external pressures…at least that’s how I interpreted it, I suppose I will find out in class this week! Even though I did not completely understand what was happening at all times i did however enjoy the writing, there is no question it was eloquent and unique.

The second reading “The Pongo’s dream” by Jose Maria Arguedas, was much easier to understand and I really enjoyed the short story. Pongo represents the lowly serf that has been dominated his entire life by people more privileged than him, in this story it is his Lord. After being abused constantly by his Lord and even ridiculed by the other serfs for being small and quiet, Pongo tells his Lord about a dream he has. Since the Lord is the privileged person he gets dipped in honey and shines as though he is made of Gold, while the lowly Pongo is covered in excrement and feces and looks and smells horrible. However, in the end, the Lord is forced to lick pongo’s excrement covered body clean while Pongo gets to lick the honey covered body of the Lord. I think this mythical story describes the how the poor people of Peru have been mistreated but also foreshadows how they will resist and gain their independence from the Landlord’s rule. A descriptive and interesting taste of what Peru was like as recent as the 1950’s.


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