Following the corn trail

In the novel “A Land so Strange”, Reséndez tells the story of Cabeza de Vaca and the three other survivors of the Narváez expedition. In following the story of a group of Spanish conquistadors, at times Reséndez seems to justify the actions of the Spanish colonists and conquistadors in the new world. Occasionally, Reséndez appears to sympathize with the natives, but he does this, almost exclusively, in scenarios when he can avoid directly criticizing the Spaniards. Ironically, Reséndez makes one of his biggest concessions about the flaws of the surviving explorers while discussing the miracles that they performed and the fact that they were revered as gods by the natives. After discussing the way that a particular tribe of native peoples revered the travelers, Reséndez states “The healers may have been humane, but they were also sixteenth-century Christians. They believed that the throngs of Indians that showed so much reverence and devotion toward them would be indefinitely better off as Catholics under Spanish rule (203).” Here Reséndez seems to admit that despite the fact that the travelers had learned from their experiences in the new world, they still sought to effectively destroy the native’s way of life. This concession is a big one that is almost refreshing in this novel that often seems to support the negative actions of Cabeza de Vaca and his companions. This quote was also important because it helped connect the reader to the reality of the time period in which the novel takes place.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *