Title[ edit ] "Cartucho" means "cartridge" in Spanish, and refers to the characteristic belts of ammunition worn by Mexican revolutionary soldiers. As she puts it at one point, these were "stories saved for me, and I never forgot. As the critic Max Parra puts it, "Cartucho is a book about memory and identity, about memory and survival—individual and collective survival. Of one dead combatant, for instance, Campobello writes of "his body turning cold, the tissue of his porous flesh clutching the bullets that killed him. Feminist critic Tabea Linhard argues that changes such as this one might be explained by the notion that Campobello "revised her novel in order to present a more acceptable, more feminine, and also more domesticated novel.
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Nellie Campobello In , Nellie Campobello wrote Cartucho in order to craft the truths about the Mexican Revolution that, she argued, needed to be told Unruh Cartucho is known as the only first-person account of the Mexican Revolution written by a woman. By setting the vignettes within private areas, Cartucho domesticates the Mexican Revolution to illustrate how violence and trauma impose upon childhood and womanhood.
Innocence and Childhood in the Revolution The vignettes in Cartucho demonstrate how the positioning of the fighting and death within the private spaces of Hidalgo del Parral domesticates the revolution. Through this innocent imagery, the narrator places the reader in a domestic, safe environment. Although Mama and the narrator are not direct participants of violence in this scene, their close proximity to the hanging forces them to witness death and halts their activity.
Thus, the cruelties that constitute the Mexican Revolution impact the daily lives of the inhabitants of Hidalgo del Parral, specifically the by-standing women and children, even though they are not actual partakers of the violence.
Here, she assumes a possessive role over the dead man and even admits that she likes looking at him. Victimization and Trauma within the Revolution However, the Revolution also causes women and children to become victims of violence, and not just mere observers. The soldiers terrorize Mama and the children by relying upon their physical strength and the authority they possess as soldiers of the revolution.
Her fixation upon the table during an invasive assault of her home highlights her powerlessness within the situation. Linhard argues that even though Campobello never explicitly states this, her language suggests that soldiers sexually assaulted Mama Such an aperture indicates the enormity of the trauma the experience has caused, and the narrator represses the specific horrors of the incident as a means of survival.
However, the Campobello emphasizes Mama did not cry to illustrate although Mama has the strength to endure pain, she cannot articulate her suffering. Her revolt only goes so far as the extent of her mind, failing to materialize within the physical world, and Mama is condemned to silence and acceptance.
Moreover, despite the persisting memory of violence, women do not have the agency to attain closure through their own actions in Cartucho.
But, interestingly, she must imagine herself as a man in order to enact the vengeance she feels she deserves. Many of the vignettes within Cartucho describe executions as soldiers carrying out punishments or vengeance, and similarly, the narrator fails to conceive of a scenario in which a woman can rightfully punish her abuser; instead, she envisions a punishment based in the violent, toxic masculinity that has victimized her in the past. Through this irony, Campobello criticizes the restrictive nature within the revolutionary era that inhibits Mexican women from conceptualizing the achievement of justice through means that contrast the aggressive, masculine vengeance that dominates the rhetoric of the Mexican Revolution.
There is no mention of Nacha shooting the gun. Instead, the bullet is the one that escapes and strikes Gallardo in the head. By precluding women from being enactors of violence, Campobello classifies violence as a signifier of masculinity. These final words elucidate the potential for women to transgress the violence of the revolution. Campobello does not write Nacha as a victim of a brutal, vengeful death; instead, Nacha is a creator whose rebirth parallels the reconstruction the community.
Nellie Campobello domesticates the Mexican Revolution in order to recount the violence and trauma woman and children experience and internalize within their memory. Her privatized account of the Revolution allowed me to see how violence pervades in all areas of the domestic sphere, from outside in the streets among the soldiers to within the homes against the inhabitants of Hidalgo del Parral.
This domestication within Cartucho discloses how the identity of a male soldier carries the authority that enable soldiers to abuse women, who do not possess the agency to retaliate. I have learned that memory serves as a proxy to retribution and justice because by remembering the trauma and violence the revolution fails to acknowledge, women can reconstruct their own lives.
Bibliography Campobello, Nellie. Linhard, Tabea Alexa. University of Missouri Press, Parra, Max. University of Texas Press, Unruh, Vicky.
She was born in , though she would later sometimes say that she was born in , , or After her father was killed in the Battle of Ojinaga in , her mother remarried the physician Stephen Campbell from Boston, whose last name the children assumed, and which Nellie altered to Campobello. In , after the Mexican Revolution , she came to Mexico City , where she, and her younger sister Gloria baptized as Soledad Campobello Luna , studied dance. Choreography and dance[ edit ] In , she started her career as a ballerina, together with her sister Gloria, in Mexico City.
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