The Motorcycle Diaries

1070 Words5 Pages
Entrenched assumptions and beliefs about human experience and the world can be affirmed or challenged by disarming discoveries. Che Guevara’s memoir, ‘The Motorcycle Diaries’ in which the author finds his own naive opin-ions about the world challenged through journeying into South America de-picts how encounters with poverty leads to the instigation of his Marxist ideal-ism. However, the protagonist of Italo Calvino’s short story, ‘Serpents and Skulls’ questions ideology through contemplating archeological discoveries. While each depicts the impact of discovery as profound and startling, Che’s journey challenges his prior beliefs and leads to his enormous influence on the Marxist world. In contrast, Calvino renders insight into relativism,…show more content…
The discovery of Guevara’s developing Marxist ideology is disclosed by his analysis of the incrementally empathic portraits of human suffering, a “ poor woman ... still earning her living as a waitress... but facing life with dignity, ” illuminating Guevara’s awareness of the paradoxes of individual survival. Guevara’s reac-tion to wide-spread impoverishment, graphically listed: ‘the place is disas-trous... sanitary conditions are appalling, ... the girl broke down” is acerbated by his confronting discovery that basic health care is non-existent. The ironies he encounters where hospitals ‘lack surgical facilities’ reinforces the reader’s insight into his ideological inspiration. However, the extensive impact of his transformation from a liminal space embracing both bourgeois and Marxist perspectives to a ‘sacred space’ illuminates a provocative purpose as well as revealing the transcendental aspect of discovery. The Marxist nature of Gue-vara’s text in paratext, ‘the future belongs to the people... the people need to be educated... revolution is impersonal,’ where repetition elucidates his discovery of faith, exposing a new personal insight. Calvino’s Palomar experi-ences a similar self-discovery, expressed in his universal statement “all this has to be taken on faith” which leads to a more profound understanding of inter-pretations of pre-Columbian civilization. Both Calvino and Guevara’s discov-eries challenge and reinterpret truths and values, motivating new understand-ings of self and
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