Song of the Hummingbird
Song of the Hummingbird by Graciela Limón- Study Guide- Contreras
Journal Entry #_ (counts as both participation and journal grades)
Some themes that the novel deals with:
- Clash of cultures
- Religions, the “Spiritual Conquest” of Latin America, and the subsequent fusion of Christianity and Native religions
- The writing and re-writing of history. What difference does it make who tells the stories?
- Malinche (Malintzin; Doña Marina) and the concept of “betrayal”
Your thoughtful responses to the following questions. For each, try to transcend the novel to the extent that you can and place the issues into historical perspective.
1) How was Huitzitzilín, as a native woman, different from what Father Benito’s teachers in Spain had taught him? (21ff)
2) How do the Spanish priests view the native people’s religion? (59ff)
3) What is the significance of the scene in which two Indian boys who are prodding a donkey greet Father Benito? (82-83)
4) How does Huitzitzilín view the Tlaxcalteca (people from Tlaxcala) (103ff)
5) On p’s 126, 127 there is a conversation between Fathers Anselmo and Benito about the description of a ceremony? What does this tell us about the writing and the rewriting of history?
6) From pages 132 to 135, what is the significance of the exchange where Father Benito ultimately tells Huitzitzilín: “Señora, why would anyone want to distort the truth? What gain would come of it?”
7) By page 138, Father Benito no longer sees the chronicles as he once had. What is this about?
8) To what factor do the Spanish attribute their final defeat of the Mexíca? What factors does Huitzitzilín argue were most important? (146ff)
9) On page 148 there is an exchange between Father Benito and Huitzitzilín about the personal versus the historical. What is it? Why is it important?
10) How does Huitzitzilín and other natives view mestizos (children of Spanish and Native parents)? (161ff)
11) How does Huitzitzilín view the people of southern Mexico and Central America? (164ff)
12) Who does Baltazar marry? What does his household look like? (179ff)
13) As Father Benito writes in his chronicle, what does he consider to be historical, and conversely, not historical? (181ff) What does this tell us about the writing of history and the images we come to have of it?
14) How does Huitzitzilín describe Baltazar’s wife? (pp. 185ff)
15) What was Tenochtitlan like before the Spaniards arrived? What has it become? (177ff, 208ff)
16) Has Huitzitzilín accepted Catholicism? (p. 210) Discuss the issue of religious conversion in this novel.
17) Throughout the novel, Huitzitzilín asks Father Benito “will you forgive me?” What does she mean by this? (217)
18) Discuss any other important issue the novel raises that I did not ask you about.
Song of the Hummingbird Essay
2183 WordsDec 12th, 20059 Pages
Fountain of Life Imagine living in a civilization that practiced human sacrifice and ritual dances, and then one day that civilization no longer exists because another culture decided to conquer them. These people are known to modern society as the Aztecs. In Graciela Limon's novel, Song of the Hummingbird, she illustrated how a culture like the Aztecs or Mexica, can quickly diminish when there are people such as the Spanish that have very limited understanding about certain subjects. Some people may say that the Aztecs were slaughtered because the Darwinian principle of natural selection even applies to mankind. This concept was perceptible when the Spaniards marched with horses, advanced technology, and armor. But through this novel,…show more content…
Also, Huitzitzilin stated that she saw Paloma (her daughter) years after when she went with Captain Cortés to Spain. Huitzitzilin saw the change in her when she asserted, "When we were paraded for the benefit of those people, it was Paloma who outdid herself in mocking my deformity. By that time, I understood the language in which she spoke, and I had to bear the anguish she caused me when she ridiculed me, making the others laugh." (207) In essence, many readers can see why Paloma mocked the Mexica woman, and another reason she did this was that maybe it was one way to get back at her former community which she no longer accepted since childhood. Just like Paloma, many children have had outbursts against either their parents or community. I remember the time when I was in kindergarten, and I temporarily ran away from home. I felt that my dad had not treated me right because he slapped me for peeing in the garden. In Indian tradition, discipline had been taught by using some sort of force such as the hand, and I was too young to understand that my father was actually trying to help me. I ran away over to the next neighborhood circle, and I remained there for about a couple of hours. My dad started to scream my name, and that was when I realized that what I was doing was stupid. I returned that moment to my father, and he had apologized but stated, "Ravi, you need to learn that this is how we were taught how to do discipline our children. When I was a child,