Popular Culture Review Vol. 24, No. 2, Summer 2013 - Page 49

Malinche: The Voice of a Nation 45 meant to evoke ex-voto devotional images from Mexico. Malinche appears as a beautiful young woman with a demure downcast gaze. Behind her appear representations o f the conquest, the introduction o f Christianity, and the violence o f both. It does not deny the horrors o f the Spanish conquest. Rather, it paints a world where beauty and violence co-exist. Mexican author, Laura Esquivel, re-interpreted Malinche to reclaim positive cultural figures for women. Esquivel observed: “whoever Controls Information, whoever Controls meaning, acquires power” (68). She described M alinche’s belief that Cortes was the reincamation o f a forefather god o f her tribe, detailed their passionate love affair, and discussed M alinche’s growing realization that Cortes was willing to sacrifice anything, even their love, in his all too human lust for power. According to Adelaida Del Castillo, Professor o f Ethnie Studies at San Diego State, Chicana feminist discourse began with Malinche and “continues to be preoccupied with her signification” (Encyclopedia o f Race and Racism). She wrote that anyone who slanders M alinche defames Chicana women. She chided Diaz, the chronicler, for making Malinche a goddess. She insisted that Malinche was a real person, an actual force in history. She rebuked Carlos Fuentes for misogynistic reasoning that portrays women as evil and thereby, justifiably in need o f m ale domination. Del Castillo exeoriated American Novelist M argaret Shedd for her novel Malinche and Cortes, a work that characterizes Malinche as a whore and nymphomaniac (Cypess La Malinche 142). Rolando Romero and Amanda Harris in Feminism, Nation and Myth, La Malinche, note the plight o f modern Chicanas “whose lives are characterized by poverty, racism, and sexism, not only in the dominant culture, but also within their own culture” (15). The Chicano movement too often assigns them limited roles. These roles include faithful follower, sexual partner, and nurturing mother. Traditionally Chicanos belonged to groups; Chicanas belonged to men (Romo 140). These limited roles are the results o f stereotypes perpetuated by the heterosexual and patriarchal imagery in Mexican art and literature that Start with Malinche. Chicanas challenged the negative view o f Malinche and constructed an alternative “herstory” o f this important historical figure. Their Malinche “personifies intellect, ingenuity, adaptability and leadership” (Koronkiewicz 3). They cast o ff the title o f traitor and see her as a figure o f valor, an ambassador and strategist. They emphasized