Insurgent Mexico Summary

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In the novel Insurgent Mexico, John Reed travels south of the border to experience the Mexican Revolution first hand while traveling in the year 1914. Reed was a journalist writing for Metropolitan and was ordered to bring back his work to publish in the United States. During this time Reed travelled to many places and met all different types of people from war generals, to peones, to Indians and many others. Reed has described his time in Mexico as the “most satisfactory period” in his life (Publisher’s Note), and it can be reflected through the stories he shares in Insurgent Mexico about his traveling companions and his experiences. Some moments were very serious, and at times even dangerous, while others were light hearted and amusing for…show more content…
At first Reed easily notices the small cultural differences such as the lack of cutlery at the dinner table (48) and also the customs of marriage, which usually signifies wealth and is “no more binding then the most casual attachment” (53). But later he begins to see that the American idea of Mexicans has been very off base. This first started when his misconceptions were debunked by the hospitable behavior of the people he encountered. Reed gives context of the American perception of Mexicans for example when he says, “I want to mention one fact [about Mexicans]” and making it a matter of importance. He continues, “Americans had insisted that the Mexican was fundamentally dishonest” (65) and then contrasts this assumption by describing the wonderful hospitality that nearly all Mexicans showed him during his travels. More often than not Reed was offered the best accommodations available and not for want of anything, which is not what he had been expecting at all during his trip. While he did face backlash by some for being a gringo or a spy, the majority of the people he met were willing to vouch for him and did not want him getting hurt. Also what helped shaped Reed’s view of the Mexican Revolution were his interactions with both Pancho Villa and Carranza. First Reed visits Villa and finds an uneducated peon who has won over…show more content…
The father of Longinos Güereca summarized this nicely when he said “what difference does it make which side robs you?” (76-77). The poor are the true victims here and even though Villa makes it his mission to fight for them, it still is not enough. Villa said in one of his memorable speeches, “the tortillas of the poor are better than the bread of the rich” (74). But this is only true to a certain extent, in that the poor are more satisfied with having less in their lives, while the rich have so much and want more (166). Reed says that all peons are “incredibly poor and lavishly hospitable” (104) to him and they are willing to give up so much because they cherish all that they have in a way that rich never can. The soldiers fighting in the war were barely paid at all in money, and many paid with their lives. They knew that they would not reap the benefits of their sacrifices, but instead the “pacificos who will get the land-those who did not fight” (90). After Reed hears that his dear friend Longinos Güereca, alongside many other soldiers, was killed he felt sick "to think of so many useless deaths” (106) These people became more than just soldiers to Reed, they were his friends who had loved ones and a history and were too poor to advocate for themselves politically so their only option was to
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