El laberinto contaminado: El cambio climático y el futuro distópico de Homero Aridjis

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2019
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Haverford College. Department of Spanish
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spa
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Homero Aridjis, a Mexican author and environmental activist, explores themes of nature and its destruction in his poems and prose. I focused on a pair of his novels, "La leyenda de los soles" (1993) and "¿En quién piensas cuando haces el amor?" (1996), both of which imagine Mexico City in the year 2027. The city is overpopulated, horribly polluted, and run by a corrupt and ineffective government. The narrators of the two novels, Juan de Góngora and Yo Sánchez, provide a window into the experience of life at the end of the world. They each witness the enormous earthquake predicted in Aztec mythology to destroy the the current human age, called the Fifth Sun. Despite the plots' similarities, the novels differ in scale and tone. "La leyenda de los soles" tracks the modern age's problems to a slow degradation from the moment of colonization, and figures from mythology emerge from the past to shape the future. In "¿En quién piensas cuando haces el amor?", the characters live in a mostly pastless present, and place blame for the destruction around them on the errors of recent generations. I examine the historical and literary context that shaped these novels, specifically the influence of NAFTA on the Mexican environmental situation and the influence of Octavio Paz's essay "El laberinto de la soledad" on Mexican identity. It is clear that Homero Aridjis wrote his novels with a strong sense of the past and a clear-eyed view of the challenges ahead.
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