Critical Evaluation

Considered the initiator of the literary movement known as the Novel of the Mexican Revolution, Mariano Azuela offers in his works an eyewitness account of historical incidents in the Revolution of 1910. A revolutionary ideologue, Azuela was an army surgeon in Francisco (Pancho) Villa’s guerrilla forces from 1910 to 1920. His writing depicts his experiences as a doctor and as a revolutionary. In 1941, Azuela received a national award for his literary craft. His active participation in the political arena won for him a reputation as a founding father of modern Mexican society. He was buried with other heroes of the revolution in an official ceremony in Mexico City.

Azuela’s novel of the Mexican Revolution belongs to the literary trend of realism, which sometimes offers a photographic depiction. Azuela presents the revolution’s struggle against oppression by the former power structure. His simple, direct literary style documents the revolution as the first Latin American armed movement of the twentieth century. Aware of the fact that the revolution produced radical changes in the social core of Mexican life, Azuela presents the movement in a positive light. His characters are representative of those involved in the political reorganization that leads to a new group in power as the economic center shifts from millionaire landowners to the peasant class.

The new literature of writers such as Azuela incorporates the political themes reflected in the motto “land for all.” These writers propose an examination of the new ruling class’s role in the shaping of contemporary Mexican society. Their works also offer harsh criticisms of the revolution, and they constantly monitor the movement, praising its successes but also denouncing its irregularities.


(The entire section is 730 words.)