Born in Blood & Fire: Chapter 5

The Perils of Progress:

  • The lure and influence of Europe is everywhere in Latin American writings of the late nineteenth century. (Chasteen,perils of progress, born in blood and fire107)
  • The mythic gaucho no longer roved freely over a boundless landscape, butchering semi wild cattle whenever he chose. Instead, he bace a rural proletarian who sheared sheep for countless hours under the watchful eye of an overseer to provide wool for the international market, as in the novel No Direction (1885). (ibid)
  • Could technological innovation be, in some ways, a faddish obsession, an empty and thoughtless imitation? The short story “Evolution” (1884) subtly invited its readers to ask themselves that question. (ibid108)

The Inauguration Of The Railway From Mexico City To Texcoco:

  • Today poor and languishing, Texcoco was once a great city, a rival of Tenochitlan that occasionally defeated the Aztec capital on the battlefield. (ibid109)
  • Texcoco seemed to stir from her three centuries of torpor and sit up in spite of her anemia. Her pale, sad countenance broke into a smile when she heard the voice of the locomotive, the voice of hope, coming at last to this silent region to instill spirit and vigor. The moment of the locomotive will shake things awake and restore the vitality of the native people of this place, scattered and  crushed by three centuries of conquest, despotism, and civil war. (ibid 110)
  • The lake, so vast and calm, became little more than a cesspool for the effluents of unhealthy and licentious Mexico City. (ibid 111)
  • The arrival of the railroad was Texcoco’s first intimation of what the future holds in store. (ibid 111)
  • If the first arrival of the Spanish in Texcoco brought missionaries of Christianity, this second Spanish mission brings a gospel of Science and nineteenth-century Civilization. (ibid 111)
  • It was nothing like the sublime songs of Nezahualcoyotl from the old glory days of Anahuac, but it showed that the ancient poetic inclination of these lands is alive and well. (ibid 111)

Definitions

  • Proletariate: a term used to describe the class of wage-earners (especially industrial workers) in a capitalist society whose only possession of significant material value is their labour-power (their ability to work);[1] a member of such a class is a proletarian.
  • Faddist:
    a temporary fashion, notion, manner of conduct, etc., especially one followed enthusiastically by a group.
    1. an intense but short-lived fashion; craze
    2. a personal idiosyncrasy or whim
  • Languishing:
    1. expressive of languor; indicating tender, sentimental melancholy: a languishing sigh.
    2. lingering: a languishing death.
    3. to be or become weak or feeble; droop; fade.
    4. to lose vigor and vitality.
    5. to undergo neglect or experience prolonged inactivity; suffer hardship and distress: to languish inprison for ten years.
  • Torpor:  sluggish inactivity or inertia. 2. lethargic indifference; apathy.
  • Countenance: appearance, especially the look or expression of the face: a sad countenance. 2. the face; visage.
    3. calm facial expression; composure. 4. approval or favor; encouragement; moral support.
  • Effluents: something that flows out or forth; outflow; effluence. 3. a stream flowing out of a lake, reservoir, etc. 4. sewage that has been treated in a septic tank or sewage treatment plant
  • Licentious:  
    1. sexually unrestrained; lascivious; libertine; lewd.
    2. unrestrained by law or general morality; lawless; immoral.
    3. going beyond customary or proper bounds or limits; disregarding rules.
  • Envoys: a diplomatic agent. 2. any accredited messenger or representative.
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