Sunday, January 17, 2010

The mind game continues.

I gotta be honest with ya: the second half of Leyendas de Guatemala makes about as much sense to me as the Bible (again, no offense is meant by my lack of enthusiasm for religious literature. I'm just tellin' it like it is). By this comparison I mean that both involve characters that remind me of pompouos aristocrats making statements about 'who they are' and what lineage they come from, while going about their own little isolated worlds starting wars and making claims to property. I now consider these 'leyendas de Guatemala' to be the Mayan equivalent to paganistic/bibical stories. Yet not ALL of it was boring. For example, when Guacamayo got drunk off the chicha, I was quite entertained. Of course, in all truth, the guy had a toothache and I'm pretty sure that in ancient mayan times chicha would have been the anesthetic most commonly used [by the way, I've tried the chicha in Colombia and if the Guatemalan type is anything the same, then it would be sure to cure any physical malady that plagued Guacamayo!] But just the fact that Guacamayo would get drunk in these 'sacred' legends illustrates a part of the culture and spirituality of the Mayans, and not to mention more information about the character; whom I have come to affectionately think of as 'El Diablo'. To continue with this pseudo-theatre scenario, I would cast Cuculcán ("Soy como el sol!" p. 79) as Jesus, Chinchibirín as John the Baptist as he constantly tries to protect Cuculcán from the engeñador Guacamayo, and the tortugas as the disciples, simply because a religious leader needs disciples, and why not turtles with beards? Yaí is a bit of a conundrum. At first I cast her as Mary Magdalene due to her being promised to Cuculcán (p. 126), but then Guacamayo tries to trick her into strangling Cuculcán, and claims that she would die if she doesn't do it; which causes her to seemingly go insane due to 'un ataque nervioso' (p. 126) and incessantly laughs throughout the next cortina (p. 133)....poor poor Cuculcán. Could this be an allusion to Eve who is tricked to take the apple from the snake and consequently damns humanity into a societal slump of clothes and sin for the rest of eternity? It seems that the women in any religious culture are always doing something of the sort.

Again, these leyendas concentrate on the distinction of colours; the most marked of which in the second half of the book being las cortinas de amarilla, roja y negra. I've been trying to find a common thread to these colours. An obvious one would be that they signify the passing of a day, and thus Cuculcán and his sun, with amarillo in the morning, rojo in the afternoon, and negro at night. On top of this, the 'tones' appear to change from cortina a cortina: yellow feels pretty and full of love, red involves arrows flying at the curtain and battles between Guacamayo and Chinchibirín, and black always seems to have....tortugas. However, the third cortinas of each colour added extra confusion with Chinchibirín and Guacamayo yelling at one another, and then, at night, Chinchibirín receives no answers to his calls, doesn't carry his arrows, and does not jump. Then he falls and stops moving. Fin. .....what a mind game!!

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