Demetrio Macias’, Hope for the Commoners In The Underdogs written by Mariano Azuela, we are introduced to a character that strongly symbolizes the fuel of the Mexican Revolution. Heroes like Demetrio Macias brought the Serrano’s hope of giving them what they felt they truly deserved. Although Demetrio Macias, the general (colonel) of a rebel army is hunting down the army of Pancho Villa, he seems to have the same ideals as the enemy. In addition to Demetrio Macias, we meet women like Camilla and War Paint who represent the different roles that women played during the Mexican Revolution.
The character of Demetrio Macias proves to be quite ironic. One facet of his character reveals his determination to find Pancho Villa’s army, while the other side of his character parallels the extraordinary qualities Pancho Villa had as a hero. People viewed Pancho Villa as a revered hero who pushed out foreign ‘proprietors’ and fought for the common man. On one hand, there is the compassionate man who helped those in need and rescued orphans providing them with food, education, and a home. On the other hand, there was the ferocious general who destroyed villages and killed innocent victims.
Villa was generous and helpful to his followers, of which he insisted on loyalty and trust, but to those who violated his trust and authority, he was merciless and cruel. We can clearly see the similarities of these two leaders when we analyze their noble actions. Demetrio’s reluctance to stop after he is injured is quite common among your average hero. He continues to fight for the cause, and keeps a strong focus on what his surroundings are. Demetrio plays the man who is full of power, and desires women and alcohol. He is even interested in Luis Cervantes’s oon to be wife, when he drunkenly fights everyone to get what he wants.
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Demetrio is a man of power, and feels that he can achieve what he wants through force. The people that Demetrio represent are evident in the people that comprise his army, as well as the rare souls like Luis Cervantes. Cervantes, man who was well off to begin with, but later lost his fortune to the government. He quotes “Before the revolution, I had my land all plowed, see, and just right for sowing, and if it hadn’t been for a little quarrel with Don Mario, the boss of my town, Moya hua, I’d be there in a jiffy getting the oxen ready for the sowing, see?” (pg. 48) Luis Cervantes explains his cause when he says “The triumph of our cause, which is the sublime triumph of Justice, because our ideal-to be free the noble, long suffering people of Mexico-is about to be realized and because those men who have watered the earth with their blood and tears will reap the harvest which is rightfully theirs.” (pg.
69) With respect to the degradation of women in The Underdogs, we must profile the two women portrayed in the book. On one hand we have the conservative Camilla, and on the other, we have War Paint. War Paint was the opposite of what society held as the typical woman. War Paint went against the grain, and partook in events which professor Tinsman explained was common for women in the army to do in those days. She drank, swore, and had many lovers like a man. Professor Tinsman also explained the traditional roles that women held in society.
Camilla is a great example of the way women acted during this time. The following is an excerpt the is preceded by Luis Cervantes’s peach about how Camilla should take advantage of Demetrio Macias’ interest in her. She is not persuaded because she is truly interested in Luis Cervantes: “Camilla felt something rise within her breast, and empty ache that became a knot when it reached her throat; she closed her eyes fast to hold back the tears that welled up in them. Then with the back of here hand she wiped her wet cheeks, and just as she had done three days ago, fled with the swiftness of a young deer.” (pg. 43) This excerpt is a prime example of the soft, submissive role women were expected to take. Instead of Camilla coming out and explaining her true feelings, she bottles them up and runs away like a wounded deer.
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In contrast, War Paint’s character would have probably been more direct in communicating what her true desires were. Feelings would seem to be more hidden with War Paint, which can be correlated with the machismo tough men displayed. As you can see, this book ties really well into the history that we have covered in lecture. Professor Tinsman’s outlines have closely followed the events that are discussed in the book The Underdogs.
The important details each character is painted with truly gives us a portrait of the different sides of the revolution. The different goals, and expectations groups had for the Mexican Revolution turns out to be quite interesting.