Latin America II, Spring 2005
Instructions: Choose one essay from A and one essay
from B. Essays should be typed, and 500-700 words. This is due in class March 3.
Skipping class that day in order to work on your essays is frowned upon.
- Discuss Sarmiento’s opinion and description of the rural
people of “Argentina.” What does he regard to be their strengths and
weaknesses? What role does he think they could play in the country’s future?
- Discuss Sarmiento’s understanding of what causes history
to happen. How important is geography and the nature of the land? What role
does he give to larger social and historical forces, such as the influence of
the Catholic Church or the importance of the economy? How important are the
personalities and actions of important individuals?
- Consider two characters from The Underdogs, one
male and one female. Discuss their social status and their motivations for
fighting. What does the revolution mean for these two characters, and how do
their goals and understanding of the revolution relate to the ideologies of
the major revolutionary leaders? How do they relate to the actual outcome of
- In the forward to The Underdogs, Harriet de Onís
quotes the Spanish proverb, “As a sample, a button will do.” In terms of the
Mexican Revolution, how well does this proverb apply to The Underdogs?
How well does this novel represent the realities of the Revolution? Consider
the goals, background, and ideologies of both the fictional characters and of
the leaders and masses who participated in the actual Revolution.