Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 45

Malinche: The Voice of a Nation 41 Rivera included Malinche in several o f the murals he painted for the Mexican National Palace. In one mural she Stands next to Cortes, illuminated by his fiery destiny. In another, she Stands defiant, her white skirt lifted provocatively above her knees. In one striking mural, she looks out from behind Cortes, a blue-eyed baby slung upon her back. W henever Malinche appears in the complex murals o f Rivera, it is part o f the larger story o f the enslavement o f the native population by the Spanish. Human suffering fascinated Jose Clemente Orozco. He hid his brooding Malinche y Cortes (1926) in the shadows o f the sloping underside o f a staircase in the National Preparatory School. Cortes, naked, cold and pale, holds an arm in front o f Malinche in a gesture o f control or restraint. His companion, naked, enigmatic, and submissive sits passively at his side. The body o f a Native American lies at their feet. A maguey plant below the corpse symbolizes new life. Orozco clearly intended the couple to represent Adam and Eve, as well as, the mother and father o f the Mexican people. Jean Charlot began his remarkable career as a muralist working with Rivera in Mexico and ended it painting murals in Hawaii and illustrating children’s books. His engraving Toy Fiesta shows lively young girls in bright green, yellow, and blue dresses dancing a Matachines, a dance celebrating the contributions o f Malinche and Cortes. They hold rattles and wooden swords. Charlot’s commentary, written on the border o f the engraving noted: “W omen win every battle with sword or with rattle” (Charlot Library, University o f Hawaii Manoa). Charlot engraved two pictures o f Malinche for a children’s book, The Boy Who Could Do Anything and other Mexican Folktales by Anita Brenner. The story about Malinche describes her as “a person who could talk many languages. She was very lovely too.” Brenner noted that the: “Spaniards were not satisfied with the gold and the presents. They never had enough. Everyone knows how they are” (135). Brenner conflates the story o f Malinche with that o f La Llorona (the weeping woman). Intemationally honored Chicano Studies professor Luis Leal maintained that La Llorona and La Malinche are two o f the oldest archetypical women in Mexican oral tradition (134). They differ in that La Llorona, who murdered her children, was a pre-H ispanic myth derived from the ancient Mexican goddess, Cihuacoatl, who abandoned her son. La Malinche was a genuine sixteenth Century historical figure. Cortes took her son away from her. Captivatingly illustrated by Charlot,