Memory of Fire Critical Context - Essay

Eduardo Galeano

Critical Context

(Literary Essentials: Nonfiction Masterpieces)

Modern Latin American history has often seemed to the outside world like an unending series of dictatorships, atrocities, and economic problems. Galeano’s work attempts to balance that view with a vision of the dormant potential inherent in the people. For the Latin American, he gives expression to the turbulent history of the region, while at the same time he allows the outsider an insight into the many fragments which make up the Latin American experience. He reminds the reader of a rich culture outside that of Europe, which, although so greatly influenced by European civilization, has its own unique characteristics.

Eduardo Galeano’s work stresses political and social questions which result from economic problems and the brutality of dictatorships. Politically engaged, he admires the heroic individuals who fight against oppression and uses his work to plead for solidarity against those who abuse power. His sympathies lie with the poor, and he sees in socialism a continuation of the Indian custom of common property, which he finds so admirable compared to the greed of big business and wealthy landowners. For expressing such opinions, he spent many years in exile. He finally returned to his homeland of Uruguay in 1984.

As a journalist, he contributed to El Sol, a socialist weekly, and was editor of Marcha and Epoca. His first international recognition came from his book Las venas abiertas de America...

(The entire section is 402 words.)