Throughout the beginning of her testimonial, Rigoberta Menchu defines her life and circumstances through suffering eyes. Tradition teaches her that life is about pain and hardships that must be endured. Generation after generation has accepted this lot in life, which is inevitable. She feels suffering is her peoples fate. Yet in Chapter XVI a profound movement occurs within her consciousness. She starts questioning the inevitability of suffering, wondering if it is somehow preventable. She also implements her communal outlook on life to encompass other Indian communities besides her own. Her knowledge of the injustice being rained on her people is realized to effect neighboring communities as well. Being suffocated by oppression, Rigoberta starts to move from suffering to struggle in an attempt to find a new way of life.
Her realization that she is not alone in her oppression brings her a sense of freedom. It validates her emerging thoughts of wanting to rise up and shine a light on injustice. Her worries about not wanting to grow up because of the harsh life that awaits her is a common thought among others besides the people in her community. As she makes friends with other Indians in other communities she realizes the common bonds they share, even down to the most basic such as what they eat, which comforts her and allows her to empathize with them.
Rigobertas intellect begins to flourish. She analyzes the gap between the rich and the poor and discovers that exploitation is at the core. By keeping the poor paralyzed with fear, the rich are able to take advantage of the poor and bear the fruits of their labor. Rigoberta sees the manipulative ways that the rich capitalize on the poor. If not through sheer force and violence it’s through the overcharging of legal fees, underpay at the finca, and using the language barrier to their advantage. All these exploitive measures light the fire of hate in Rigobertas’ heart. She’s too disgusted to fear anymore and is no longer in acceptance of her passive role. All these new realizations and thoughts start cultivating a mind set of activism which is new to Rigoberta and is most definitely outside the box from which she was brought up to think inside.
Rigoberta starts questioning her perspective on ladinos, wondering if they are really all bad. She befriends Indians who have worked with poor ladinos who suffer from the same problems as her community does. The poor, from ladino to Indian, are exploited just the same yet they are so conditioned to dislike one another it’s hard for them to unite and really consider their circumstances the same. This troubles Rigoberta...