Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 38

34 Populär Culture Review o f Malinche are the result o f the bias o f those who wrote about her in the last five hundred years. Malinche and the Chroniclers I replied that if he wished to know the truth, he had only to ask the Interpreter with whom he was speaking, Marina, whom I have always had with me. Cortes, Letters from Mexico The Chroniclers were advocates and propagandists. They presented M alinche as they wished her to be, rather than as she actually was. Peter Novik argued in The Authority o f Experts, “We know that it (truth) w on’t hold under the severest strain, but in high wind and shoal water, even a light anchor is superior to none at all” (x). The Chroniclers agreed on five “truths,” however flimsy their evidence or blatant their bias. M alinche was beautiful and intelligent. She acted as the interpreter, guide, and mistress o f Cortes. She accepted Christianity and brought it to the indigenous people. She was the mother o f the first mestizo and instrumental in the overthrow o f the Aztec empire. Cortes referred to his interpreter as the “tongue” (la lengua) “who is an Indian woman o f this land” (72). He credited his success to God and Malinche (Lenchek 2). This young Mesoamerican woman advised Cortes to appear more like the incamation o f the Aztec god Quetzalcoatl. She muted the brash demeanor, abrasive speech, and cultural insensitivity o f Cortes. Malinche convinced the indigenous people to join the Spanish and fight for their ffeedom from the choleric Aztec empire. The combined Spanish and native army o f Cortes was ninety-five percent Amerindian (Saylor 2). She communicated the Orders o f Cortes to his allies on the battlefield. Gömara, his biographer and secretary, exalted the Spanish leader in his History o f the Conquest o f Mexico (1552). He described Malinche as one o f the women slaves that Cortes assigned to his officers to cook and satisfy their sexual needs (Perez-Lagunes 7). He pointed out her importance to Cortes as interpreter and secretary. He also related the story o f her baptism and role in uncovering a plot to ambush the Spaniards. Diaz, a Spanish foot soldier, fashioned Malinche as a central figure in his narrative, correcting what he considered Gömara’s errors. Diaz described her as a heroic, beautiful, and intelligent woman who served Cortes as an interpreter and trusted ally. Diaz noted that Father