The purpose of this research is to examine Broken Spears by Leon-Portilla and Canek by Gomez. The plan of the research will be to set forth the pattern of ideas emerging in the historical voice of oppressed indigenous peoples, and then to discuss the means by which that voice and the vision of the conquered culture assess, encounter, resist, and submit to the ineluctable march of the power driving a powerful minority conquest and colonization of a culture, and resulting in the transformation of the majority culture to that of the colonizers.
The story that unfolds through Broken Spears is one of a people's destiny both thwarted and fulfilled by the Spanish conquest of Mexico. The Aztec analysis of the conquest is straightforward: Cortes arrived in Mexico, assessed the human and political situation to the degree he could and exploited the atmosphere of civil war to facilitate the slaughter and conquest of the Aztecs. He could do this because he had no interest in the civil war; the Spanish would slaughter whichever party survived.
Beyond such analysis of Spanish motives and methods, and even beyond a realistic appreciation of superior Spanish weaponry, is a vision of apocalyptic myth. The tone is at once that of lamentation and of scornful commentary on the ignoble, virtually uncivilized manner in which the Spaniards despoiled Mexican civilization: "They gathered all the gold into a great mound and set fire to everything else, regardless of its value" (Leon-Portilla, 1992, p. 68). The narrators presume a fundamental nobility to the pre-Columbian civilization as a whole and an attachment to a mythic universe, as seen in the reportage of the comets and other omens seen in the years prior to Cortes's landing.
To be sure, the Aztecs under Motecuhzoma were rivals of the neighboring Tlaxcaltecas and held them in contempt. However, the characterization--even treachery--of indigenous enemies has a certain mythical grandeur about it tha...