i, Rigoberta Menchu

if you have read this book. how does she use language in her book, to protest and persuade?


Thank you for using the Jiskha Homework Help Forum. Unfortunately, no, I have not read this book. When I had a student who escaped death by hiding under a bed and then was sent to realatives in the U.S., we heard first-hand some horror stories from Guatemala. However, first is an excerpt from the Web and then a great deal of information on this writer will be on the last Web site. Sometimes you can analyze an author's "style" is by making a list of the "power words" and/or taking a paragraph and actually counting the words = how many verbs, nouns, adjectives, etc. This will tell you the predominance of word choice.


Memory vs. Truth

Amid allegations that her international bestseller contains exaggerations and factual discrepancies, 1992 Nobel Peace Prize winner Rigoberta Menchú strongly, at times tearfully, defended herself to a standing-room only audience at Southwestern University in Georgetown during last week's Brown Symposium. In a thought-provoking, moving speech, the Guatemalan activist and author spoke of the recent controversy over her autobiography,
I Rigoberta Menchú; of the twists of fate that made her the chronicler of the struggles of the indigenous peoples of Central America; and of "the memory of the deaths of five members of my family that died during the civil war of Guatemala; all of them assassinated, tortured, and burned."
Menchú told the audience that she -- like many human rights activists -- met with resistance and apathy in the early 1980s when she began speaking out about the devastation in Guatemala. Her 1983 book, filled with horrifying tales of military-led massacres, destroyed indigenous communities, and impoverished families, convinced many to take notice. But last year, American anthropologist David Stoll called Menchú's book into question with his own work, Rigoberta Menchú and the Story of All Poor Guatemalans, in which he claims that Menchú's autobiography "cannot be the eyewitness account it purports to be." Among other things, Stoll questions accounts of family members' deaths and Menchú's level of education. Menchú said Thursday she received some education at a convent, where she worked as a servant girl who swept floors and cleaned the desks. Answering other charges, Menchú responded: "My memory is a collective memory, not an individual memory. If you offend me, you offend my people. And if you offend my people, you offend me. This is the message of the indigenous brotherhood that met the day before yesterday concerning this issue: We decided that we will no longer let anyone denigrate us like they always have."
In a recent article in The New York Times, Stoll says he didn't mean to accuse Menchú of lying, and that he understands her narrative strategy of folding others' experiences into her own to bring international attention to Guatemala and put pressure on the government and army.
During her lecture, Menchú called Stoll arrogant and criticized him for doing exactly what he charges she did: arranging events and exaggerating information to support his own pre-set agenda. "Mr. Stoll already had a conclusion and only went to [corroborate] his conclusions in Guatemala," Menchú charges. "One of those conclusions ... is that we, the indigenous people, are fools, easy to manipulate; that we don't have ambition and can't make our own decisions."
Menchú said that thousands of testimonials have been collected over the past three years, survivors' stories that tell tales as horrifying as the one Menchú unfolded 16 years ago. She continues to work to make sure these stories are heard and those responsible for the atrocities are held accountable. "Who writes history?" asked Menchú. Usually, she said, history is penned by "the victors, the conquistadors. They are the ones who write about the triumphs and successes over the people. Who writes about the victims? The victims themselves write their memories. History has already been written; it is up to us to recognize the truth of this memory." --M.J.G.

taken from "Naked City: Austin Politics News"
http://www.austinchronicle.com/issues/vol18/issue24/pols.naked.html

On this next Web site you will find much more background.

http://www.moreorless.au.com/heroes/menchu.html

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