In Ignacio Manuel Altimirano's El Zarco, The Bandit, what missed Manuela in Chapter 17, what is a sign that Martin Sanchez was a good man, and what is the place where they carry Manuela? In...

In Ignacio Manuel Altimirano's El Zarco, The Bandit, what missed Manuela in Chapter 17, what is a sign that Martin Sanchez was a good man, and what is the place where they carry Manuela? In Chapter 18, list three good things about the president, and, in Chapter 19, describe the wedding day? What was thought in Pilar? [Were where after the ceremony]

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teachsuccess eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This interesting novel by Ignacio Manuel Altimirano is classified by the author as his personal ideal of national literature. Altimirano utilizes romance to tell the story of Mexico at the height of banditry in the country. Manuela is a young woman who is fascinated by the blue-eyed El Zarco (bandit); in the novel, she spurns her very proper mestizo lover, Nicolas, the honest blacksmith of the estate of Atlihuayan. In turn, Nicolas falls in love with Pilar, the god-daughter of Dona Antonia, who is Manuela's mother.  Manuela's fate is intertwined with that of her lover El Zarco, and she dies with him. The storyline suggests that Mexico is better served through reliance on her indigenous roots and values, rather than reliance on strange, foreign values.

I will attempt to answer your questions as best I can. We'll start with your question about what Manuela missed in Chapter 17. Chapter 17, 'La Agonia' details the painful death of Dona Antonia, who is suffering from a cerebral fever. Manuela is not there, having eloped with her lover, El Zarco, to his stronghold and hideout in Xochimancas. Dona Antonia is heartbroken that her only daughter is not there at her side, but Pilar, her god-daughter, and her fiance, Nicolas is with her as she breathes her last.

Chapter 18, 'Entre Los Bandidos,' talks about the bandits and Manuela's experience at Xochimancas. Chapter 24, 'El Presidente Juarez' tells the story of Martin Sanchez's audience with Benito Juarez, the President of Mexico. Benito Juarez patiently hears out Martin Sanchez's request to be given extra-judicial privileges in meting out justice. The President is "frío, impasible, pero atento" - he seems cold, but is attentive to Sanchez's request for permission to hang the bandits Sanchez captures. He assures the President that he will only hang the guilty. Historically, we realize that the only reason Benito Juarez gives his permission is that he himself is beset with many problems: when he comes to power, the national treasury is almost empty and war is imminent with England, Spain and France due to Mexico's inability to make good on her debts. Juarez himself is beset on one hand, with opposition from his conservative enemies and on the other hand, the strong economic and social power of the Roman Catholic clergy. Undeterred, he institutes reforms by nationalizing most church property(except those for worship and teaching); he hopes to promote the emergence of a Mexican middle class by breaking up the landed monopoly of the clergy. He also abolishes Mexico's separate judicial system for military and clergy; it was his belief that capitalism would usher in greater prosperity for his people, and to this end, he worked on lessening the economic monopoly of the clergy.

"El erario estaba en bancarrota, y para colmo de desdichas la invasión extranjera había ya profanado el territorio y los adversarios del gobierno liberal, es decir, la facción reaccionaria y clerical, se unía a los invasores." (The treasury was bankrupt, and to make matters worse, foreign invasion had defiled the land and the opponents of the liberal government, ie the reactionary and clerical faction joined the invaders, from the chapter El Presidente Juarez)

Source for President Benito Juarez: Benito Juarez

Chapter 25, 'El Albazo' details the wedding of Pilar and Nicolas. We are told that many orange and lemon trees contributed blossoms to their wedding. Its interesting that later on , we read that Manuela cannot bear to see the wreath of orange blossoms in Pilar's hair, declaring that she would rather die with El Zarco.

The day of the wedding dawns with the ringing of the church bells. There are even firecrackers to mark the happy occasion. The church altars are decked out in bows and corsages of flowers. Incense fills the church and candles light the couple's way to the altar to make their vows. The night before, Pilar and Nicolas had had their civil ceremony. The beauty and goodness of Pilar are described through the purity of her expression and the simple, orange blossom wreath she wears to signify her virginity. (For centuries, brides wore orange blossoms to proclaim their virginity). Nicolas and Pilar are full of emotion as they remember Dona Antonia, who they believe are watching over them as they celebrate their happy day.

As for Martin Sanchez, we see his resolve and his sincerity in ridding his country of the bandits; as the wedding party walks home to the ranch, they come across Martin Sanchez and his troop of horsemen. They are about to execute El Zarco. He shakes Nicolas' hand and kindly asks the bridal couple to move along so that they do not have to witness the execution of El Zarco and his henchman, El Tigre. Despite his gory duty, he spares a thought of compassion for the newly wedded couple.

Hope this helps!

You might be interested in commentary about El Zarco: Altamirano's Demons.

and the Spanish novel online:

Read the study guide:
El Zarco, the Bandit

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