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Death of Artemio Cruz
« on: November 03, 2007, 02:17:50 PM »
I. Author
Carlos Fuentes is considered today as one of the greatest living Hispanic writers that have influenced the academic as well as social and political spectrum of modern day Latin America. Carlos Fuentes was born to Mexican diplomats in 1928 and was given a privileged lifestyle that many of his contemporaries did not have during that time period in Mexico . His skill as an acclaimed essayist, author, journalist, diplomat and academic scholar can be linked to his private education in the prestitions Colegio de México, School of Law at the National University of Mexico and Institut des Hautes Études Internationales in Geneva as well as from his diplomatic parents . Carlos Fuentes has written multiple works in his lifetime, which include Los Días Enmascarados, La Región Más Transparente, Aura, La nueva novela Hispanoamericana, Zona Sagrada, Cambio de Piel, Cumpleanos, El Tuerto Es Rey, Diana o La Cazadora Solitaria, Terra Nostra, Una Familia Lejana, Agua Quemada, Gringo Viejo, Cristobal Nonanto, Ceremonias del Alba . The legacy of Carlos Fuentes’ writing style is seen in The Death of Artemio Cruz in that he uses the second person tense. Carlos Fuentes was also the Mexican ambassador to France, taught in colleges and was a fellow in prestigious colleges such as Harvard, Princeton and Cambridge to name a few.

II. Monograph
In this book, the main character is Artemio Cruz, who is a dying Mexican elite and one of the many that compose the Mexican oligarchy and a veteran of the revolution, recounts his life. What makes this work rather interesting is that the author utilizes the use of first, second, and third tense that explores the youth of Artemio Cruz to the present and explains why the character became the ruthless capitalistic oligarch that he is. The corruption of Artemio Cruz from his original ideals of the revolution epitomizes the plurality of the Mexican revolution and the multiple factors that fueled the revolution, from those who followed Zapata, Villa, Carranza, Obregon and Madero. The way Fuentes illustrates the character of Artemio and the actions he carries out is rather indicative of how one person betrays his own ideals in order to achieve wealth and power; and can be seen as Fuentes’ critique on the Mexican Revolution and those that took part in it whose sole goal was to advance oneself.
Carlos Fuentes’ The Death of Artemio Cruz seems to be aimed more at the academic community, particularly those who are specialized in the Mexican Revolution and political discourse during the early 20th to the mid 20th century. The reason for this is that the book is rather hard to read in that the plot of the book rambles from one time era to another and the use of first, second and third person tenses can confuse the average reader who doesn’t have the proper historical background of the Mexican Revolution. This book is perfect for undergraduate students specializing in Mexican history or graduate/doctoral students that are Latin American specialists.
In the academic community, Fuentes’ book has been generally well received, with some reviewers claiming that it was a brilliant masterpiece, though not easily read, that covers over 50 years of Mexican Revolutionary history through the eyes of Artemio Cruz. Then there are other reviewers who regard this book as essential in understanding the political discourse in Latin America, particularly Mexico. They also claim that this work can be examined closely for its allegorical substance as well as literally for its historical commentary to better understand Mexican history.


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