Thursday, August 9, 2012
Maximiliano with haunt me forever.
This morning, bright and early, I walked onto the metro feeling confident. I had finished my literature reading and discussion breakdown a few days before, leaving me time to read some supplementary texts. We were to read Huitzilopoxtli by Ruben Dario and then break the viaje (journey) into thematic divisions, each was to have a key word to summarize the section. I was proud of my breakdown. My viaje was in 8 sections: an introduction, 6 out-of-body/shared experiences and a closing. The viaje circled around the theme of modern day Revolucion Mexicana v Leyenda Azteca and lived experiences v substance induced viajes. (If you happen to be doing your own analysis of Huitzilopoxtli, please don't copy my story breakdown... *spoiler alert*... it's wrong!)
My Literature professor come crossed as a jovial great uncle, ready to quote Kahlil Gibran or Twain at any given moment; also looking a lot like Hemingway. But here is the catch (Old Man and the Sea reference intended) my professor looks at literature as if it were a mathematical equation... one answer only. The study of Literature has always been near to my heart and something I feel is accessible to everyone, of any subject. Mathematics however, there is little room for personal expansion and growth because formulas never change, there are multiple ways to arrive at the same answer, but there is only ever one answer. I would go as far to say that my he-shall-remain-nameless professor doesn't even believe in different paths toward the same end, the path is his and his path is right.
So, the Dario story we read does not provide any sort of background information as far as the allusion to the title or historical setting for the Revolucion Mexicana. The fallowing information is the fruits of my own, out-of-classroom-time labour.
Huitzilopoxtli- was an Aztec god of war, sun and sacrifice, also the patron god of Tenochtitlan. He had a sister who had intimate relations with their father while Huitzilpoxtli was still in his mothers womb. He became angry at his sisters sexual actions that he sprung from his mother's womb fully grown and armed, killed his sister, threw her head into the sky and created the moon and killed all of his other siblings (over 400 of them) and threw them into the sky to create the stars.
La revolucion mexicana- started the 20th of November 1910 when the president of Mexico was Porfirio Diaz. Before the changes in power happened throughout Mexico's history, France invaded Mexico and placed Maximiliano on the throne as the only monarch of the Second Mexican Empire. During Maximiliano's reign, the country was left in political shambles and economic stagnation. Porfiro Diaz then took over and the revolution began.
After reading and taking notes on this subject (this educational moment was provided by Westminster College) I was ready for the difficult questions my professor was certain to mumble at us. After making it clear that Huitzilopoxtli is broken into 4 sections and never into 8 and telling me that by calling the traveling journalist a foreigner, I missed the entire plot he decided to ask me a History question; "¿Cómo obtener su poder de Maximiliano en México?" (How did Maximiliano obtain his power in Mexico?) My answer was more concise than the paragraph above but my information was correct and I was sure proud of knowing the answer.
But here is what my professor did...
He laughed. And not only did he laugh but he swiped a hand motion that translates to "silly little gringa, of course she doesn't know anything about Mexican history" and he said that it was entirely the opposite. Then he had the audacity to REexplain exactly how the French appointed Maximiliano to power, etc.
While talking yesterday to my man, I tried to explain to him how being here is a very humbling experience. I have to ask for help all.of.the.time. I have to ask people to talk slower to repeat themselves, or even ask them what a certain verb means "cachai?" But this was the first time I was not only humbled, but embarrassed, and frustrated, and downright angry.
I wish I had a moral to this blogpost. Maybe something I have learned from this experience. But the more I think about it, this post has everything to do with the value of self-education. Even though I had a language and a close-minded barrier, I was still learning. Anyone reading this blogpost is learning. So I guess the moral of this post is to keep learning, especially when you the student find yourself at odds with the teacher.
And because my professor doesn't quote Mark Twain, I will...
"don't let schooling interfere with your education"
go be a student,