Rachel West

 WMST 101-01

 November 4, 2001

 Journal #9

         The chapters from I, Rigoberta Menchu, for this week's journal

 assignment touched a lot more on Rigoberta as a woman, her relationships

with her mother and father, and her beliefs regarding the way her life has been shaped by her struggle and misery, her need to lead a people and women to victory, and her love of Guatemala.  She is truly an inspiration as a woman. Her life was horrible yet she managed to make the most of what she learned and experienced and from that she was able to understand the way the systems of her country worked against her people, and she was able to make sense of her struggle, as something that she was put on this earth to do.  She found a purpose, and a truly great purpose as a leader and organizer of a deeply

oppressed people.  I would like to think of Rigoberta Menchu as an angel, and I wouldn't doubt that the people she came in contact with through her work in Guatemala felt the same way.  She was a heaven sent for them.

         From reading the chapters assigned for this week, one can see that much of the strength Rigoberta Menchu is composed of was derived from the strength of the two people that gave her life, her mother and father.  Two chapters in this book are completely dedicated to the death of first her father and second her mother.  Both of their deaths were tragic, and Rigoberta was sad to lose both her mother and father, but she found that from their deaths, and knowing that both of them died for the cause of her people, she was able to build more anger and strength against her enemy.  Rigoberta also expresses through her writing her extreme closeness to her father throughout his life, and her regret for not becoming as close to her mother as she was to her father.  I also

feel sad when she says that she didn't learn as much from her mother as she did

from her father, for her mother was a woman too, and Rigoberta could have easily gained more perspective and insight on what her mother's struggle was throughout her life as a woman.  Rigoberta gives the readers the impression that her mother, just like her father, was also a fighter.  She was responsible for getting many women involved in the struggle, and she recognized, probably earlier than many, that the struggle was one in which women and men had to stand side by side.  Like when Rigoberta is describing her mother and her mother's beliefs, she says: "Women must join the struggle in their own

way.  My mother's words told them that an evolution, any change, in which women had not participated, would not be a change, and there would be no victory."  It

is easy to see through reading this book; Rigoberta Menchu herself was a true inspiration, spawned from inspiration.

         One part of this reading that really affected me a lot was reading about the way in which Rigoberta's mother was killed.  It disgusted and offended me, and it was so hard to read.  I felt my nose crinkle and my lips curl at the cruel ways in which Rigoberta's mother was tortured and eventually killed.  She endured so much.  I cannot even imagine having to know of something so terrible.  Reading about it alone was enough for me.  The

other part that really got me about Rigoberta's mother's death was how Rigoberta channeled her grief and anger.  Not only do we see this with her mother's death, but with her father's and with anyone that was close to Rigoberta; she always seems to channel her anger and experience to the good.  She never thinks of herself. So unselfish and willing to work for her people, Rigoberta tells us that she never married because she didn't think it would be right to worry about her own happiness when so many of her people were having to deal with miserable unhappy lives.  This is one of those things that when people hear should make them feel bad about themselves.  How many people do we come

across in this world that are willing to give up even a small amount of happiness

for themselves, in order to fight for the happiness of others?  Her nature is chilling.  She is an angel.  I am convinced.

>       I think throughout the reading from I, Rigoberta Menchu, for this week also, we are able to see how much Rigoberta learned through her experiences about the systems in society.  She expresses the need to communicate with ladinos and realizes that their hate towards each other has to do with the way the government has arranged things.  She also expresses that idea that we discussed last week in class about how resisting can be joyous.  I honestly believe that Rigoberta found happiness in her resistance and battle.

>         The last reading that we did for this week from Women:Images and Realities, titled "The Globetrotting Sneaker" was really interesting to read because it hits home when it talks about brands of sneakers that are primarily sold here in the United States.  I never really thought about where my things  are made before taking this class, and the use of a cheap labor force (usually women) in poorer countries to make our products is wrong.  I probably would never have opened my eyes to this, but now that I know and am acquiring the information I can see that the conditions these workers face is disgusting, and we should be able to do something about it.  Like many articles and information

 that we have recently read and discussed for class, this is another one of those articles that raises that idea of the importance in understanding these kinds of issues.  I see that it is important for me to understand what is going on, particularly if it relates back to home here in America, and as a woman I need to learn how it affects the women in other countries.  At least being informed, I can make decisions and come up with ways that I can do something about it.