Analysis Of Malinche And Pocahontas

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The values of a community are constantly changing as time passes. What is accepted as normal at one time could be seen as outrageous in another. The thing about history is that people in the present look into the past with their own thoughts on what the world must be like, so figures in history rarely remain evaluated as they are. Two historical figures that started off so similar but are seen as so different in the present day are Malinche and Pocahontas, both indigenous women who eventually married European men and are baptized into the Christian religion. The reason why one is vilified and the other is romanticized is due to how they each interact with how people expect them to behave as indigenous women. How Malinche and Pocahontas act …show more content…
When her father died, her mother sold her into slavery, whereupon she learned Mayan. Ultimately, she and 19 other girls were given to the Spanish as gifts by those of Tabasco. When it was known that she spoke Mayan, she and a Spaniard who also knew the language jointly communicated Cortés’s words to the Aztecs. Malinche’s role was known and accepted in that time period. Even though women’s rights were somewhat undeveloped in all societies at that time, people, especially women who usually adopted the identities of their husbands, were allowed to move throughout society’s ranks. When Malinche was easily turned into a slave by her mother, there were “physical as well as psychological consequences” (Franco 79). In other words, her body would change alongside her status so that, later on, her elevation into a translator for the Spanish affected how she looked and thought. In fact, in a codex panel created by Native Americans, Malinche is seen as being equals of both Cortés and Montezuma since she is even portrayed as bigger than the former (Image 3). In other words, her influence is not mitigated by any expectations people had on her identity because a woman wielding power was not something absurd even back in those times, and noble women, which she had become, had much authority. Her transcending her previous status was accepted. The Spaniards also recognized the power she had and the respect she commanded …show more content…
There was no unified Aztec identity, despite Tenochtitlan containing the main functions of the empire. Cities often were at odds with one another. This was most evident when the people of Tlatelolcas expresses frustration toward the leaders of Tenochtitlan. In fact, Malinche was even seen as reasonable since she condemns Cuauhtemoc, a sentiment echoed by a king of Tlatelolcas, who asked “Do the people of Tenochtitlan think they are playing a game?” (Leon-Portilla 136). In other words, Malinche, who was seen as an outsider at that time since she is neither Spanish nor Aztec, had been a voice of reason, a mediator between the two empires and someone who would lessen the fall of Tenochtitlan. There had even been “some popular traditions some of them extant to the present, which associate La Malinche with the Virgin and with the mythical Llorona” (Franco 74). This means that she was seen as something that was perhaps even good since she was once connected to two important women of both cultures, which makes sense since she is known for producing one of the first Mestizos. Her identity as a Nahua woman meant that the Aztec people did not expect loyalty from her. Since she conformed to that expectation, her actions were accepted, and she was not

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