Nine Guardians Essay Research Paper The Nine

Nine Guardians Essay, Research Paper

The Nine Guardians

?Nine Guardians? takes places in the State of Chiapas, in Mexico, where from the

remains of the Mexican revolution came the presidency of Lazaro Cardenas. His presidency

takes places between 1934 and 1940, during the time this novel takes place. Cardenas

expropriated foreign-held properties, distributed land to peasants, and instituted reforms to

benefit indigenous people and Mexican workers. Cardenas found it unfair for the Indians to not

be treated as equals, so he demanded rights for Indians. Land holdings were controlled by a

ruling elite. The Indians were encouraged to rise against the landowners and demand their rights.

They have the law on their side and they start to realize they don?t deserve to be treated as slaves.

With the help of others, Cardenas breaks up large estates and forces families off of the lands.

The novel is written from the point of view of the author, Rosario Castellanos. However, a seven

year old girl is the narrator through most of ?The Nine Guardians?. She takes us through the

book by introducing the people surrounding her life and her family?s life.

The seven year old girl is the daughter of a wealthy landowner, Cesar Arguello. Since the

Arguellos are wealthy, the girl is not raised by her parents, but mostly by an Indian servant, she

calls Nana. Nana has nurtured and cared for the girl and her little brother, Mario, since birth.

Nana is an Indian that lives with this elite, controlling, possessive, landowning family. Despite

the fact that she is treated as a slave, Nana loves the Arguellos. Nana becomes a big influence on

the little girl, along with her parents, and the retaliation of the landowners and the Indians against

one another. The girl and her brother will become innocent victims mostly because of her father,

who will try desperately to hold on to their land for Mario?s future. Some of the damage done

cannot be fixed and will remain permanent. It is a tragedy of money, power, and male

supremacy. The situations that occur will leave a strong impact on how she thinks and feels.

From beginning to end, the seven year old girl?s perspective of the Indians will change


In the beginning, the girl is ignorant to the thought of being an Indian. She doesn?t want

to know their history and how they stand in their society. She speaks of how young she is and

wants no part of what is going on. She loves her Nana but doesn?t think she knows what she is

talking about. The thought that she could have been an Indian threatens her. She wants to be

idle, absent-minded, and not aware of her surroundings. Perhaps, she wishes this for Nana also.

The Indians frighten her and she is ignorant of their part in society. In this novel, when bad

things happen, some of the characters are superstitious and believe they pay for their mistakes

through curses given by the sorcerers, especially the Indians. She starts to understand her Nana

when she sees her wounded knees done by a curse that has followed her from her home,

Chactajal. ?It?s withches? doings that?s afoot, child. They gobble everything up-the crops, peace

in the family, people?s health.? Since Nana grew up in the Arguellos house and loved the family

she lived with, she was being punished. The Indians could not understand how she could love

those that give orders and have possessions, it was against their beliefs. The girl is angry at first

at the Indians and begins to understand the sacrifices and hardships her Nana must have and is

going through to be apart of the Arguellos family. From this experience, she starts to see who

her father is and becomes disgusted with him because he is one that gives orders and own things.

She starts to put a lot of faith in her Nana and believes the things she tells her. She

becomes more aware that this time in her life is not going to be a time for fun. She also begins to

learn to look with lowered eyes when humility looks at bigness, like the Indians do out of respect

for the Nine Guardians. From what I understand, the Indians believe that there are nine

protectors of the earth that watch over all and control everything. The girl learns things from her

Nana and learns to think differently about her parents. She witnesses an Indian killed because

her father trusted him. It makes her sad and fearful of the power that her father possesses. She is

seeing her parents differently. As a child, your parents are the world and they can do no harm.

As a child, you think your parents are all-knowing. There comes a point where a child starts to

grow up and sometimes perhaps their parents are not who the child thought they were. The girl

begins to grow up a little and realizes she is now seeing her parents otherwise, almost with a new

set of eyes.

Her father is completely self-absorbed, except for the fact that he wants to save his land

for his son?s inheritance. He thinks of himself as all mighty. He doesn?t think the Indians are

worth schooling when the law demands it be done. Her father thinks the Indians could never

learn Spanish and are not worth the pay of a master to educate them. Cesar has a sense of

self-importance and cares only that his ?commands have power and his scolding inspire fear.?

He despises the government and believes Cardenas is inciting Indians against their masters and

handing them over the rights that they can?t use and don?t deserve. ?He (Cardenas) doesn?t know

them; he?s never been near them and found out how they stink of filth and drink. He?s never

done them a favour and been rewarded with their laziness. And they?re so hypocritical, so

underhand, so deceitful!? He sees the Indians as little children. ?Cesar was incapable of

speaking to people he didn?t consider his equals.?

The story moves from Comitran to Chactajal where her father?s ranch is located. Her

father needs to supervise the grinding and branding of his crops done by the Indians. At the

Arguello ranch, there are many families of Indians taking care of his land, the Indians that he

pays little money too, along with no respect. The family goes to Chactajal without Nana because

she is afraid of the witches? curses. On their way, the girl starts to learn about death, how easy it

is to die when her cousin shots a deer to kill it. Her and her brother Mario are surprised at how

easy life can be taken away.

The feud that explodes against the Arguellos leaves everlasting effects on the children.

The girl has seen her Nana?s status in society, she has seen the effect of Nana?s love towards her

family, she can no longer go to school because it was ordered to be shut down. she has seen a

man killed from trusting her father, Their land is set to fire and the threat that they will die in the

fire, her illegitimate cousin is killed in rebellion towards her father, she sees her aunt go crazy,

and she believes in the power of sorcery. She misses her Nana and her wisdom on life. She is

ultimately going to learn the about male supremacy and the effects it has on society. Her brother,

Mario, is the pride of the Arguellos family. The Indians curse the boy to death because of the

endless fight her father has for power and wealth. The two things that matter to Cesar the most.

?For the Indian is helpless to do better if the white man?s will is not behind him. The Indians are

starting to realize they are equal to white men. They lose all respect for the landowners and fight

back just as bad as the Arguellos fought to keep them as slaves. They are aware now that they

own the ranch and are not obliged to work for anyone because now Cardenas has more power

than all the landowners. Perhaps, it would have all been better if Cesar Arguellos realized that

male supremacy should not control all of society. Cesar Arguello humiliated his wife, did not

treat her as an equal, although she put up with him. He also put his children in jeopardy for

having them around in the time of trouble. He didn?t realize what he thought and did was not the

way the world was supposed to work. He was one man who believed he had a want to control

and posses all the power and the wealth he could manage to get a hold of. His arrogant pride led

his family to separation.

Her mother, Zoraida, was responsible for her life and her childrens? lives, although she

allowed herself to do as Cesar demanded. Her mother demands that Nana leaves because Nana

informed Zoraida about the curse put onto Mario?s life. The only reason the Arguello family

managed to stay together was because of their beloved Mario. If Mario was to die, not only does

she lose her son, but possibly her husband that she cannot communicate with. She fires Nana and

leaves her daughter scared and enlightened even more about the people she loves and respects.

The girl has lost her Nana, her brother dies because of the curse put on his life, she has

lost all respect for her mother and father. She only wants to be with Nana since she is the only

one that loves and cares about her. Her brother is dead and she feels guilty because she thinks

she could have stopped it from happening. Perhaps, she punished her mother for not caring

about her. Her mother only cared and loved Mario. Without Mario, her mother felt she was no

longer worthwhile.

The girl finally realizes who her parents are and realizes that her Nana, despite being an

Indian, is the one who cares about her. She looks for forgiveness from her dead brother because

she realizes that it was not his fault she was a female without love and respect from her parents.

She realized that if her father just accepted that the time for male supremacy was to end, then the

events that took place may never have had happened.


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