Summary (Masterplots II: American Fiction Series, Revised Edition)
Miguel Aacute;ngel Asturias bases Mulata on a popular Guatemalan legend—that of a man who sells his wife to the devil in exchange for unlimited wealth. The novel begins with Celestino Yumí parading through the religious fairs of the countryside around Quiavicús with the zipper of his pants open, in compliance with a bargain he has struck with Tazol, the corn-husk devil. In this way, Yumí will cause women to commit sins by looking at his private parts and then compound those sins by their accepting Communion without going again to confession. Successful in luring the women, Yumí is next informed by Tazol that, to complete the bargain whereby Yumí will become wealthy beyond his dreams, he has to hand over his wife, Catalina Zabala, to Tazol. Yumí is hesitant at first, but the promise of riches, importance, and power proves too much, and he finally consents. Tazol takes possession of Catalina, or Niniloj, as Yumí calls her, and grants Yumí his fondest wishes—lands, crops, and money in abundance.
Once rich, Yumí discovers that what Tazol had told him is true: Everyone asks for and respects his opinion on anything and everything—as Yumí himself remarks, “Just because I’m rich, not because I know anything.” Yet Yumí finds that riches and power cannot compensate for the loss of his wife; he yearns for her love and takes to drinking and carousing. While at a religious festival with his friend Timoteo Teo Timoteo, he encounters the...
(The entire section is 1045 words.)
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