Date of Award
Master of Arts (MA)
College of Humanities and Social Sciences
Spanish and Latino Studies
Thesis Sponsor/Dissertation Chair/Project Chair
Every writer has codes that need to be identified on his work. Most of the time, a good author has something to denounce in society. They use literature as a means to express it. A good reader has the responsibility to find the real story behind a writer’s text.
In this case, there are two masterpieces written at different times from each other but full of codes which tie them together. They are: The Harp and the Shadow by Alejo Carpentier and Hie Pond, by Manuel Zeno Gandía. These books have something in common: they establish a connective link between past and present of what I call the history of six centuries of colonization, pain and lack of identity of Latin America.
Both The Harp and the Shadow and The Pond, come together in my thesis to demystify the colonization myth that we have been taught for centuries. First, The Harp and the Shadow, referring to the moment in which Spain enters America, and then, The Pond, showing the terrible present of this continent, are like an-all- in- one history book that denounces the real truth about the Latin America’s colonization process.
A thorough analysis and interpretation of Carpentier and Gandía’s work, from an unconventional discourse, gave me the possibility to identify the different codes (religious, racists and geographic) that are present in these texts and that yell out the real truth and theconsequences of the colonization period in Latin America.
Actually, we have always seen Spansh colonization as a blessing toward these countries. Myths like Christopher Columbus as a conqueror and savior of the “New Word,” and Spain as our mother land, have been part of our educational program, since Pre-kindergarten school.
But what is the real truth behind this legend?
What have been the real true consequences and the aftermath of this colonization? Is Christopher Columbus a savior or a murderer?
What were the authentic purposes of the colonization, religious or economic purposes?
Maybe history itself does not reveal these truths, but literature does. Writers like Alejo Carpentier and Manuel Zeno Gandía were able to divulge the real intentions of Spain and consequently Columbus during the colonization period to the “New World.”
In his masterpiece, Alejo Carpentier shows the world a new and more real portrait of Columbus. This writer introduces us to a Columbus who deceives to achieve his aims, which are none other than personal glory which dazzles with visions of gold and conquests to the noble Castilians. He does not hesitate to sell slaves in Seville to monetize his travels. And yet, we are not presented with dark shades, but with his whole entire humanity exposed. Of course, a figure well away from the saint who needs Pius IX, yet a person in the end. Carpentier makes Columbus a Jew, convert son of a tabernero, liar, womanizer, visionary and it this were not enough, a sailor.
In a different moment, Zeno Gandía was able to complement Alejo Carpentier’s work with The Pond. This masterpiece is part of a series that Zeno Gandía titled Chronicles of a Sick World: The Pond. The Bussiness. Garduña and Redentores.
Zeno Gandía with The Pond reproduces the social, political and moral status of the nineteenth century in America (four centuries after Colombus). He portraits a devastated continent full of irreversible damages like poverty and lack of identity Also he features the necessities passing those people at that time in Puerto Rico (metaphor of Latin America).
That is why when I read the two texts, at different times, as requirements for completion of my Master’s Program, I envisioned as a continuity, the connection through time that shows us past and present of the colonization era of Latin America.
Fuego-Lazo., Lidia E., "La desmitificación de la colonización en la literatura contemporanea Latinoamericana" (2007). Theses, Dissertations and Culminating Projects. 1190.