The Tongue Survives

The story of “La Malinche” tells the legend of Malinalli, The Tongue (translator) for the Spaniards as Cortes colonized the Aztecs. Malinalli was a survivor from birth to death, through all of her experiences as a slave, treks through Mexico with Cortes, and battles between her people and her allies. I will never experience the amount of pain and victory that Malinalli went through, but everyone who lives endures pain and victory in different ways. The story of La Malinche can guides us to make a great story of our sorrow.

In the beginning when Malinalli is being birthed, the umbilical cord is wrapped around her neck like a serpent, which also happened to me. My mother was told not to push because it would choke me, but animal instinct told her drive me out. Malinalli’s grandmother was ready to cut her out, which would have killed her, but Malinalli pushed through and came out alive, as did I. “Grandmother shouted like a warrior to let everyone know that her daughter- in- law, a great fighter, had come out victorious in the battle between life and death.” (pg. 5) I felt a connection to this quote, because I can imagine the victorious spirit in my loved ones after my successful birth. This is clearly included in the book as a foreshadowing to her victorious triumph over death during fatal battles and adventures. If this was the true story of Malinalliś birth, then it was either a spectacular coincidence or a great anticipation to her future. Perhaps Malinalli was so inspired to survive later in life because she remembered the story of her birth and felt the need to continue the legacy. Nonetheless, this was a great passage to intrigue the reader about the survivor in Malinalli, which was continued later in the story.

I was continuously amazed at the courage and strength exhibited by Malinalli in every moment of her life. Repeatedly sold as a slave, faced with life changing and world altering decisions far too early in life, forced to face the consequences of her trust, struggling to find a place where her heart feels safe. Although my situation is no comparison to hers, any teenager can relate to the feeling of being lost in a world where the decisions we face feel far beyond our control. ¨Migration is an act of survival. Malinalli wished she could have relied on the lightness of butterflies and migrated on time, flown through the high skies, far above the clouds, where she would not have to hear the weeping and lamenting, where you could not distinguish the mutilated corpses, the rivers of blood, the smell of death.” (pg. 92) Malinalli imagines this because she constantly has to survive all of those sorrowful situations, and she wants a way out. I relate to her state of anxiety, and I often find my escape in literature and music, imagining a world free of disaster and misery where I can be free.

At Malinalli’s death, she was also reborn. She became one with all of eternity, all of the universe, everything living and everything dead. This was a symbol of survival, because it showed us that even through death she survived in spirit. Malinalli dies on her own terms, and is immediately merged with the universe by being struck by lightning. “At that moment, a bolt of lightning, a silver tongue, lit the sky, heralding a storm and filling with light the still body of Malinalli, who had died instantaneously some moments before. Her eyes were absorbed by the stars, which immediately knew everything that she had seen on earth.” (pg. 185) Even though many of us believe in an afterlife, or in the simple decomposition of our body with no existence after death, we all wish to be remembered somehow by the world we experience every day. Malinalli had a story that we will never forget, a story that will influence the world for centuries after her death. The absorption of her eyes into the stars is a symbol of her legend on the earth and the way she will always “look over” us and influence the human race.

La Malinche was a magnificent story to warn us against ourselves. Malinalli learned through all of her adventures and moments facing death that she is a survivor. I learned through Malinalli what is truly means to survive and to thrive, and I will carry on this story by conquering my own plights.


8 thoughts on “The Tongue Survives

  1. I really like your codices it really captures the reading. Especially the one Malinalli head was peaking out between her mother’s leg. I also talked about how migration is an act of survival,so it was cool reading your point of view about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I really love the way you related Malinalli’s story to your own. Having a personal element in the story really helped bring the novel into context with what you were saying, like when you said, “I felt a connection to this quote, because I can imagine the victorious spirit in my loved ones after my successful birth.” I liked the quotes you used as well. The one where Malinalli died was very beautiful and it really enhanced your essay. You used quotes very effectively and it was overall a really nice essay.

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  3. I really like how you made connections to the book/Malinalli throughout the essay. Your introduction was thought out and a great short summary of the book. Plus your pictures are amazing and I know exactly what parts of the story you are trying to depict. Your survival essay is very well written and you chose good quotes that supported your thesis!

    Liked by 1 person

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