Bernal Diaz's The Conquest Of New Spain: Analysis

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In the narrative of western history there is no shortage of Westerners oppressing people from different cultures. There is also no shortage of white, powerful men oppressing people within their own culture. Throughout colonial western European history, society compelled individuals to fulfill their assigned role that language stereotyped them as. If they did not, Westerns would destroy them so that there was no evidence they didn’t match the stereotype. When Colonizers encounter those they call savage and those “savages” don’t actually fit that definition, instead of revising the narrative to accommodate the reality, westerners destroyed as many natives and as much of native culture as they could. References to women in the narratives of westerners …show more content…
Dona Marina was a native woman who learned Spanish and acted as a translator between Hernan Cortez and the native Mexicans. Diaz praises Dona Marina often in the narrative and “without the help of Dona Marina we could not have understood the language of New Spain and Mexico”(Diaz, 313). If they didn’t have the ability to communicate with the natives the Spanish never would have so easily conquered New Spain. This type of praise for a woman by men is typically only shown for the rare queen or saint. It’s especially rare since Dona Marina is a native, not a Spaniard. All of the other women in Diaz’s work are supporters or caretakers to the Spaniards. At one point Diaz talks about the soldier’s mood lifting when natives helping the soldiers, “brought us four Indian women who were good for grinding maize for bread”(Diaz, 345). This is the only type of recognition of most women in Diaz’s narrative. Only Dona Marina gets individual or extensive attention. Dona Marina seems to fill a type of “Virgin Mary” role in the conquest. In the Catholic Bible, Mary is the only woman who has never sinned; this is why she is chosen to be the Mother of Jesus. Although Dona Marina was a native, she helped the Spaniards; she was different from those she was born among. In the eyes of the Spanish, she was helping the right side. In the Catholic Bible, Mary gives life to Jesus, which allows him to become the savior of humanity. Cortez sees himself in a similar way, as the savior of the Mexicans. He is bring them the word of the Lord Jesus Christ and freeing them from their barbaric ways. He could not have done this without the help of Dona Marina, just as Jesus could not have come into the world without Mary. Dona Marina was able to fit into a role that women were allowed to have in western society, so she gets mention and praise. The other native women in Diaz’s accounts were either

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