TTh 3:00-4:15 p.m., Shingleton Hall 8

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Motorcycle Diaries Assignment for April 5, 2016

Dear Class,
What a ride we've had this semester! It's therefore appropriate that we turn to a travel narrative as we approach the home stretch. Let's begin by considering the multiple layers of the travel narrative. Notice that the genre usually depicts not only a geographical journey but also a personal one as well. Typically, the writer uses the journey from one location to another as a metaphor for his or her own growth from one type of person into another more enlightened or mature one. For example, in Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto "Che" Guevara compares his nine-month journey to a gestation that will result in the birth of a new mindset (31). This week's online assignment is to locate (pun intended!) a particular moment in the memoir that suggests Che's movement not only from one location to another but also his transformation from one mindset to another.

Assignment: In a two- to three-paragraph comment to this post, address the above prompt. Use standard English. Cite textual evidence from the memoir. Your comment may respond to previous comments as long as it otherwise fulfills these assignment criteria. Citation includes in-text citation and a list of Works Cited. This assignment counts as one online work grade and is due by class time on Thursday, 4/7/16.

10 comments:

  1. Che has a laid back personality in The Motorcycle Diaries. He makes a lot of jokes about his misfortunes and is quick to keep moving. Che's mindset is revealed when he is about to leave San Martin and go further south. At this point Che includes a letter to his mother telling her about all of his struggles on the road in "Dear Mama" (50). This letter is very detailed in emotion. Che describes his misfortunes, love of land and people, and feelings of homesickness. This brings to light why Che is continuing on this journey and reveals to the reader that Che is more than some kid running away from medical school.
    Che beings the letter by including humor about his misfortunes. He describes his long sickness by saying, "I was given a little-known drug, penicillin, and recovered four days later..." (50). He wants to keep his aloof attitude but still admits to his mother that this journey has been difficult.. He also states that he misses his home life. Che demonstrates that he knows he left a lot behind at home. The first sign of his maturation is that he realizes that he made a big sacrifice to travel instead of stay home.
    Before this letter Che sounds more like a kid because he never fully justified why he is willing to be sick or ride a motorcycle that keeps breaking down. He just says that these are small setback and does not concentrate on them. Che admits that he is homesick by stressing that he is worried about his family (50). In this letter he shows that he realizes that it will be a long time before he sees his family again. His maturity level is elevated because he illustrates the seriousness of the journey and then explains why the journey is worth all of the downfalls. Near the end of the letter he talks about the beauty of nature and how he is using his medical knowledge to identify a tumor. He also describes the beauty of the people that help him along the way. This point in Che’s journey is key to Che's growth because he can clearly defines why he chose to make sacrifices and leave home. Even though he still laughs at his misfortunes, he now knows why he had to take this journey.

    Guevara, Che “Dear Mama” The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey Ocean, 2013. 50-51 Print.

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  2. In The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto “Che” Guevara embarks on a long journey through South America that enabled him to better understand the world. As Guevara came across numerous towns, countries, societies and cultures, he observed the disparities and discrimination suffered by various peoples, noting the oppressed and ostracized groups with whom Guevara deeply sympathized with. This resulted in a change of views and a new mindset forged by his newfound knowledge and experiences. Guevara inevitably was transformed by his nine-month journey.

    One particular moment in the memoir that suggests Guevara’s transformation from one mindset to another is when he travels from Antofagasta to Chuquicamata in Chile. In the Chuquicamata region, Guevara stops to rest near a small town called Baquedano, where he meets a young communist couple that fears prosecution for their political beliefs. Guevara befriends this couple and relays their tragic situation stating, “by the light of the single candle illuminating us . . . the man’s shrunken figure carried a mysterious, tragic air . . . he recounted his three months in prison . . . his fruitless pilgrimage in search of work and his compaƱeros, mysteriously disappeared and said to be somewhere at the bottom of the sea” (Guevara). Guevara immediately sympathizes with the communist couple and, following their discussion, transforms from one political mindset to another. Specifically, this is where Guevara begins to develop a new political mindset, a political conscious, as he notes the injustice done to this young couple. This transformation is further conveyed as Guevara states, “it’s a great pity that they repress people like this. Apart from whether collectivism, the ‘communist vermin,’ is a danger to decent life, the communism gnawing at his entrails was no more than a natural longing for something better, a protest against persistent hunger” (Guevara). Hence, Guevara takes on a new attitude toward communism and his experience transforms his attitude regarding a government’s obligations to its people. Perhaps Guevara’s conversation with the communist couple allowed him to better understand the fundamentals of communism and further shift his political views throughout his journey across South America.

    Works Cited:

    Guevara, Ernesto Che. “This Time, Disaster.” The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey. Ocean Press, 2003. Kindle file.

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  3. While his journey across South America is riveting and eye-opening as a whole, the opening of the novel is particularly driving and life changing for Che. He continually finds himself breaking free from the restraints that hold him back, becoming addicted to the liberation that he seems to have been seeking for quite some time. For instance, as he prepares to leave Chichina, he writes that he was unable to explain his motives to her; he was unsure of when he would return, and had merely a lightweight bracelet to tie him back to his lover (713). Immediately after leaving he feels as if he can, “breathe more freely, a lighter air, an air of adventure” (745). Later, as he intends to leave the restraints of his bed and escapes his illness, he again feels an urge to get away, unwilling to waste an extra second waiting for his flu to pass (766). These instances near the beginning of the story show his apparently new eagerness to escape the constraints of typical “civilized” living and live freely, even if uncomfortably.

    Embarking on his journey immediately changed Che as an individual, as he transitions from consistency to exploration. With more courage and a sense of adventure, he leaves all he knows, with only his friend (and trip planner) as a guide. He quit his job, unsure of his return, and generally cut all ties that he had to his community. These acts mark a transition in his life from one of order to one of excitement and spontaneity. He remarks that a journey “finishes when it finishes,” suggesting that he may believe that the fun was in the journey, and not just the destination, perhaps because the journey is where you feel the most vulnerable and free; arrival means an end, yet he yearns to believe that “the means are endless" (713). Of course, as the novel progresses, and he experiences the hardships that many South American people are living with, it is evident that his newfound feeling of liberation is no solace to the atrocities facing the impoverished and oppressed people of the world.

    Works Cited
    Guevara, Ernesto Che. The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey. Ocean Press, 2003. Kindle.

    (*Note, Kindle does not provide me with page numbers for each novel. This file is labeled by paragraph, thus, I provided this information in my in-text citations. The novel ends at paragraph 2985).

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  4. In The Motorcycle Diaries, The main character Ernesto Guevara, also know as “Che”, heads for an interesting, life changing journey to help him understand who he is and the world in which he lives. His travels take him on a long and treacherous journey through South Africa. As the main character, Ernesto Guevara, adventures, he stumbled upon many people different than himself. He discovers new towns that he never knew were there, as well as different cultures and societies. Guevara learned about the hardships of others and was able to witness discriminations that happened between others. Guevara’s heart went out to the people who he discovered were suffering. His discoveries help fuel a new mindset for the upcoming travels and helped change the course of his journey.
    There are many points within the written work that show Guevara’s mindset changing throughout his travels due to his discoveries. A particular point in the written work that would suggest this would be Guevara’s pit stop though the small town of Baquedano. In this small town, Guevara comes across a young communist couple that fear for their lives and safety. The couple lives in fear due to what is going on where they live and because of their political views and values. Guevara empathizes with the young couple and it is clear to the reader that this encounter changed the political course of Guevara’s journey. His encounter made him that much more charged to help make a change and become more politically aware. You can see this when Guevara states: “it’s a great pity that they repress people like this. Apart from whether collectivism, the ‘communist vermin,’ is a danger to decent life, the communism gnawing at his entrails was no more than a natural longing for something better, a protest against persistent hunger” (The Motorcycle Diaries). It is because of this interaction with the couple the increases his social awareness and desire for political justice.


    Works Cited
    Guevara, Ernesto Che. The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey. Ocean Press, 2003.

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  5. One moment that exhibits Che’s change in location and transformation in mindset is when he and Garando travel to the leper colony of San Pablo in the Peruvian Amazon Forest. Che was taken aback by the horrible living conditions in which the healthy and sick inhabitants were forced to live. During his time there, Che swam four kilometers across the Amazon river because it divided the doctors and sick leper patients on either side. He remarks that there were no clothes, almost no food, and no medication.
    Che experienced a transformation from one mindset to the other as he worked with the lepers, commenting that, “All the love and caring just consist on coming to them without gloves and medical attire, shaking their hands as any other neighbor and sitting together for a chat about anything or playing football with them” (Guevara, 2004). This is a humbling experience for Che, who sees that the leper patients are human, just like the rest of us, and want to be seen as such. He gets the opportunity to form deep bonds with the patients and learns about accepting and loving people for who they are, no matter what their physical or medical condition might be.

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  6. In The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto “Che” Guevara encounters a moment in his journey where there is a, “love sick pause”. Alberto, a resident he has come across is going through this longing for Chichina. Chichina was a women that Alberto fell inlove with who is no longer around. After Guevara listens to Alberto, his walk at the beach makes him ponder on the separation between a man and the one he loves. During that moment, Guevara uses his train of thought to fall into another mindset. That is what makes him gain a better understanding of love.

    Guevara states, “The two days I’d planned...out to be” (Guevara, 36). In this section he is explaining his feelings of leaving this place he was visiting. He created a sentimental tone when he uses the word bittersweet because he was grateful to have had the opportunity to be there. Guevara leaving and going on with his journey is what was making it sad. In comparison, Alberto went through the same situation when he was leaving Chichima, it was just taken in a more dramatic route(Guevara, 37). That created confusion to Guevara. Luckily, his walk near the beach helped him come to a realization. It states that “But a man in love...under construction” (37). At this moment Guevara realizes that the beauty of everything else does not matter when one is missing something dearly. This transition helps him understand the difficulties of traveling. He then says, “The first commandment...means are endless” (37). He has used the situation Alberto had with his poor Chichina and compared it to an explorer and his love for foreign places. This made him shift his mindsets, instead of mourning the experiences he has had with certain places he now knows not to be dramatic. In that way, enjoying the moments can create and endless satisfaction for Guevara.

    Guevara, Che “Dear Mama” The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey Ocean, 2013. 50-51 Print.

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  7. In The Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Guevara or Che goes on a journey to start over and create a new identity for himself. He wants to go through South America to see what else is in the world. Che said he felt uneasy because he had “the spirit of a dreamer.” This is true because he sees another part of life than what he is used to. His nine-month journey signifies he will come out a refreshed person with a wider view on life and everything else. The nine months can be related to a baby in the process from start to the finishing of development. When it is time the baby will disperse from the mother and begin its own journey through life. Babies have essentially a lifetime to develop and from birth the world is this weird place they have to get used to. Even though Che in his thirties has more experience in life and has more knowledge than a child he knows he can be open minded to expand more while on the journey.

    In his letter to his mom he expressed that even though she hasn’t heard from him he hasn’t heard from her and it made him worried. Che had fallen ill but still wanted to continue his journey. He had a sense of continuity of problems and that’s exactly what he did. He starts to explain to her all of the beautiful wonders that he had come across. Che knew his mom would enjoy it the same way he did. On the next days of his journey he had to endure a puma and what seemed to be endless traveling. He says “I was looking to the future, through the narrow band of Chile and to what lay beyond, turning the lines of the Otero Silva poem over in my mind.” Here Che was thinking about the future as if he could almost see it and thought about what might he find when he comes closer to his dreams. He thought of the poem by Silva because it gave him that familiar feeling of belonging and adventure. His transformation was based on him not giving up and to still press on no matter what problems came his way.

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    Replies
    1. Guevara, Ernesto Che. The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey. Marxist.Org Reprint. Web.

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  8. In Motorcycle Diaries, Ernesto Che Guevara goes through different experiences while on his journey that make him into a more enlightened and mature person. At one point during his journey, Che gets really ill and is not able to continue his travels for four days. While he dedicated a chapter to writing about his sickness, when you read it you don’t really get the idea that it was super serious (at least in the chapter). I say this because when he got sick, all he wanted to do it leave. It’s the doctor that made him stay. “He prescribed a course of penicillin and within four hours my temperature had lowered, but whenever we talked about leaving the doctor shook his head and said, “For the flu: bed.” He also mentioned how right when the doctor gave the okay that he can leave, they left “within the hour” (41).

    However, as you read in the book you’ll notice that he makes references back to his sickness. I saw it a few times, and one was when he wrote a letter to his mother. “I’ll just say that two days after leaving Bahia Blanca I fell ill with a temperature of 40 degrees which kept me in bed for a day. The following morning I managed to get up only to end up in the Choele Choel regional hospital where I was given a dose of a little-known drug, penicillin, and recovered four days later…” (50). This was one of the hardships he went through his journey, and at the moment he was ill he didn’t realize the severity of his illness until he reflected back on it. Despite this, he kept continuing his journey which is also worth noting. I think this experience certainly made him more into an enlightened person.

    Guevara, Ernesto Che. The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey. Ocean Press, 2003.

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  9. Che Guevara's mindset changes when he visits Cuzco. Although Guevara was an educated doctor, he had never witnessed the splendor of the Incan Empire before. While in Cuzco he reflects on the rich cultural value of the Incan Empire and how it was taken away from them by the Spaniards.Their empire was destroyed not only through colonization but through forced assimilation, which he notices more throughout the rest of his journeys through South America.

    Che Guevara talks about the multiple visions of Cuzco. In the city there are monuments paying respects to the Spanish conquerors of the city, along with baroque churches and museums. However there are also the ruins of the great civilization that tell another side of the story, and this is the vision that inspires Che Guevara."The vision of this Cuzco emerges mournfully from the fortress destroyed by the stupidity of illiterate Spanish conquistadors, from the violated ruins of the temples, from the sacked places, from the faces of a brutalized race. this is the Cuzco inviting you to become a warrior and to defend, club in hand, the freedom and the life of an Inca"(104). This mindset change is important not only in how Che views the native people in South America, but this experience also further inspires him to fight for oppressed people.

    Guevara, Che “the land of the incas” The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey Ocean, 2013. 102-104 Print.

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