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Rigoberta Menchu

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QUESTIONAIRE FOR PREPARING DOCUMENT DISCUSSIONS:

1. TITLE of document? WHO wrote this document (include all relevant facts about author's occupation, background, etc.)?

The title of the document was I Rigoberta Menchu: An Indian Woman in Guatemala. It was written by Rigoberta Menchu. Rigoberta Menchu was born on January 9, 1959 to a poor Indian peasant family and raised in the Quiche branch of the Mayan culture. In her early years she helped with the family farm work, either in the northern highlands where her family lived, or on the Pacific coast, where both adults and children went to pick coffee on the big plantations.

2. What type of document is it?

I Rigoberta Menchu : An Indian Woman in Guatemala is a autobiography.

3. Write a detailed SUMMARY of this document. Clearly and concisely discuss the nature, scope, and thesis. (After reading this section I should know exactly what the document is about and what it addresses).

This book is completely filled with cultural insights and details, and Rigoberta tells us her story with eagerness and an inner strength that can obviously only come from years of persecution. Although her reasons for narrating her story are to enlighten the rest of the world to the situation of the Indians in Guatemala, she chooses to focus on her culture and their customs instead of the many mass atrocities committed by the "ladinos", landowners, and government in her country. In my opinion, this is a much more effective technique in gaining the audience's sympathy and respect, because she gives us so much to sympathize with. She gives her readers a base of understanding of her culture that the oppressors in her country do not have. I believe that anyone who reads this book learns how hard it was for Indians in Guatemala. They had it very tough and their lives were very stressful, especially for women. Although she does tell us about the many deaths she witnessed at the hands of her oppressors and about the grief they have caused so many, these incidences are only a part of her life. She has a mysterious ability to take strength from both her defeats and her victories, and she uses this strength to drive her efforts to give the Indians an equal footing with the rest of Guatemala.

The book contains detailed descriptions of Quiche Indian ceremonies, traditions, and customs, which Rigoberta gives in order to explain the profound sense of community which fuels Indian village and family life. The village is an extension of the family, and all previous generations are represented in the village through remembrances of ancestors and their ways. The ceremonies for childbirth, marriage, and death all emphasize the importance of community involvement.

4. Why does the document exist? What motives prompted the author to write the material down in this form?

This document exists because it was a way for Rigoberta to poor her feelings out. She did not have anyone to turn to so she thought she would tell her story to let people know how hard her life was in Guatemala and how Indians were treated.

5. Who or what is left out of the document---women, children, other minorities, members of the majority...?

I feel as if the important things that were left out of this document are schooling/ education and women and children. They did not get nearly as much education that was required because they were all so poor.

6. In addition to the main subject, what other kinds of information can be obtained from the

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