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The Significance Of Heritage And Tradition In Latin American Society

1368 words - 5 pages

The Significance of Heritage and Tradition in Latin American Society

The Latin American household is one based on traditional values and
reverence for ancestral customs. Their heritage is founded upon the
beliefs of pride, legacy, and respect for the elders and the wisdom
that they imparted. However, as families become engulfed in political
and social revolutions, tradition gives way to new and contemporaneous
thought. Time-honored Latin American traditions such as recipes,
remedies, and customs prove invaluable to the families of The House of
the Spirits andLike Water for Chocolate during times of conflict and
hardship, providing emotional and physical support while allowing the
characters to preserve their spirit and essence for future generations
to draw upon.

The simplicity and efficiency of the remedies and treatments offers a
level of support and peace scarcely found within the tumultuous
society and internal family turmoil of either novel. As the ants
threatened to ruin all of Tres Marias, and modern science failed to
stop the plague, a desperate Pedro Segundo Garcia referred to his
ancient father, Pedro Garcia, and his "old people's tale's"(Allende
111). After mumbling advice and recommendations, prayers of wisdom and
enchanted formulas to the ants, and simply showing them the way out, a
delicate old man was able to do what the most modern technology could
not. Similarly, the same kind of wisdom and acumen is shown by "the
Kikapu" towards John's ailing great grandfather Peter (Esquivel 111).
Previously ridiculed for her strange herbs and lack of knowledge of
modern medicine, she goes on to stop Peter's hemorrhage, which was
ironically brought on by the "best of scientific knowledge"(Esquivel
112). Eventually, she saves Peter's life in one afternoon, singing her
strange melodies and applying curing herbs. Such simplistic and
unsophisticated traditions illustrate man's dependence on nature, that
the benefits that nature can offer are unrivaled by any modern
technology or treatment.

The possessions and belongings of ancestors hold special value to the
Trueba and De la Garza family, mainly as relics reminding them of an
age of prosperity and solitude. Faced with tragedies and grief,
Esteban stubbornly states that he will go to Tres Marias, the property
of his forefathers. As Ferula emphatically argues against it, Esteban
states "land is something one should never sell. It's the only thing
that's left when everything else is gone" (Allende 44). He is revolted
at the indigence of the land and considers it a personal insult. By
feverishly working the land and re-establishing the Trueba name in
Tres Marias, Esteban soon forgets about Rosa and envisions a life as
the patron of his new land. That decision eventually turns out to be
the pivotal point of Esteban's life, leading...

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