The majority of the novel shows the expedition going anything but well. The travelers experience all kinds of obstacles that result in their starvation, dehydration and even their enslavement by Native Americans in the New World. It is apparent throughout the first half of the journey, that the travelers were unprepared for the hurdles that they had to face, making it easy for the reader to believe that Narváez’s expedition was inept in their endeavors. However, in Chapter 8, Reséndez writes that:
The castaways continued to burnish their reputation as healers. Cabeza de Vaca in particular became more confident in his skills. He became bolder in his inventions; he was no longer content merely to pray and blow. The medical procedure he employed may go some way toward explaining his success. ( Reséndez 189)
Reséndez completely changes the argument to argue that though the men seemed unfit to explore the New World at the beginning. They ultimately were able to adapt to the ways of life in the Americas. It is important to understand this new development in the text so that the audience understands that Reséndez believes that the journey the men went on was not easy, but they are ultimately capable of learning the ways of the land.