The purpose of this research is to examine Fire From the Mountain by Omar Cabezas and I...Rigoberta Menchu, by Rigoberta Menchu. The plan of the research will be to set forth in general terms the scope and limit of each book, and then to discuss gender, class, ethnicity, and the interplay of the individual and the collective in the construction of the authors' identity.
.Fire From the Mountain. and I...Rigoberta Menchu are autobiographies of Latin American revolutionary activists who identify chiefly with that label. Cabezas describes the evolution of his consciousness and life into that of a revolutionary guerrilla in Nicaragua during the regime of Somoza, while Menchu charts her life as a Quiche Indian in Guatemala to that of full-time political activist. Menchu's influence grew through the 1970s and 1980s so that she received global attention, including the Nobel Peace Prize in 1992.
It is important to understand the social and political context in which Cabezas's memoir was published in English, while he was a Sandinista government minister. It was 1985, while the U.S. government under Reagan was funding the Contras, the counterrevolutionary paramilitary group undermining the Sandinista regime. Cabezas's personal revolutionary history had begun in 1968 during Somoza's regime. He was a university student, but that status was less important to him than class, which he says was the basis of his radicalism: "I was very conscious of being from a working-class family, so when they talked at the university about injustice, about poverty, I thought of my own barrio, which was a poor barrio" (Cabezas, 1985, p. 8). When in 1967 the Nicaraguan Guard shot a number of demonstrators, class consciousness combined with growing ideological awareness and facilitated his recruitment into the Frente (movement) Sandinista, initially as a student but eventually as part of the militarized guerrilla underground.
Ethnicity played a role in Cabezas...