Guatemala And Spanish Cultures Essay

1202 words - 5 pages

     Guatemala has more people than any other Central American country, with an estimated population of 11,980,000 it is home to many different cultures. The population can be divided into two groups; Indians and people of mixed Spanish and Indian ancestry. But in Guatemala, being called an Indian or a non-Indian does not depend entirely on a person's ancestry. It is basically a matter of how people live and of how they categorize themselves. For example, a Guatemalan is considered an Indian if he or she speaks an Indian language, wears Indian clothing, and lives in a community where the people follow the Indian ways of life. The Indians think of themselves more as part of their community than of their country. They pay little attention to affairs outside the community. Indians make up about 45 percent of the population of Guatemala. Most of them are extremely poor and uneducated. Spanish is the official languages spoken in Guatemala, but there are 20 other Indian languages that are spoken as well. Guatemala's fifth constitution was adopted in 1956. The army seized the government again in 1963, and a sixth constitution went into effect in 1966. Elections were held that year, and civilian government was restored under President Julio Cesar Mendez Montenegro. But the country remained troubled. Secret political extremist groups both rightist and leftist made terror raids. Guatemalan political leaders, the U.S. ambassador, and others were killed during the raids.

     The movie "El Norte" tells the story of how two siblings (Enrique and Rosita) lose all of their family to military raids in Mexico. When seems to be next to impossible to survive in Mexico, the two decide to flee to the North (America) which they feel ca be there stepping stone to opportunities and freedom. After a difficult journey the finally arrive in America. As illegal immigrants they had to find immediate work and the had to learn to adjust to American cultures, for instance Rosita did not know how to use a washer and dryer so she did it as if she were still in Mexico. While both of them worked hours of hard labor daily, Enrique is offered a job in Chicago that could guarantee him the right to a green card, but in order to take the job he would have to leave Rosita behind. Meanwhile, Rosita becomes very ill from being exposed to rats during their journey to America. At the last minute Enrique decides stay with Rosita and he gets to her bedside just as she passes away.

     In the movies there are three different languages spoken; Quiche, English and Spanish. Rosita spoke Spanish and Quiche, Rosita would speak Spanish outside of the home with friends, but she would speak Quiche during prayer, while talking to her mother, and at her father?s funeral. Rosita would speak Spanish as well to Enrique and her brother. Enrique spoke Spanish when he talked with his father and he spoke ?broken? English when he was working in America. Rosita had to speak different languages in...

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