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“The Underdogs: A Novel of the Mexican Revolution” by Azuela

The primary objective that led to the emergence of the Mexican Revolution was mainly the attempt to displace or deal away with the Díaz dictatorship. However, the political movement further expanded and ventured into a tremendous economic and social disruption, which predicted the fundamental character of Mexico’s 20th-century experience. The Mexican Revolution ignited the Constitution of 1917 that offered for division of the state and the Church, government ownership of the subsoil, ownership of land by communal members, and the freedom of labor to strategize and strike.

Firstly, the novel is essential such that it enlightens or adequately informs its audience of the destructive impacts caused by war or people engaging in conflict during the Mexican Revolution. The novel, Underdogs, indicates fully what it is like to engage in an endless fight. The entire storyline is full of instances of violence and conflict between people. In addition to this, immorality is also associated with the conflicting state; for example, Macias and his men engaged in carelessly raping a significant number of Mexican ladies and handing the many male genders around them. Also, Macias was stated to have been involved in semi-sexual intercourse with another gentleman, which entirely changes the importance of his character in the rest of the storyline. By indicating all these scenes of immorality in the novel, the author makes a clear expression to the reader of how difficult it is to acquire new governance or freedom without order but instead using force and war as the channel for change.

In addition, characters such as Macías undergo tough humiliations. It was just after a misapprehension with a wealthy fellow in a saloon that Macias is forced to disappear, leaving behind his wife and a young child with the expectations that they will not be bothered so long as he is not there. The wealthy gentleman recruits the police to assist in getting Macías, and when in the process, they kill his puppy, Palomo. The federal further put his house on fire, triggering a wish for vengeance. “When, after many hours of climbing, he gazed back, huge flames shot up from the depths of the canyon by the river. His house was on fire.” (Page 6). Macias prolongs the conflict by recruiting other individuals (a resistance of rebels) to fight against their common enemy, the Mexican authorities in the mountains. “May God help you and lead you to safety! Today it’s you, but tomorrow we’re also leaving here, feeling the draft, chased down by those damned government people who’ve declared a fight to the death against all us poor folks. They steal our pigs, our chickens, and even our corn. They burn our houses and carry off our women, and if they ever get hold of us, they kill us on the spot like rabid dogs.” (Page 14).

The novel is relevant such that it opens up to the audience of the actual saddening situation that covered the entire period. The death rate as a result of war and fighting had rapidly gone up, and a vast number of people lost their lives during the Mexican revolution. Silencing or killing people during the Mexican revolution was considered a common action. During this period, a lot of deaths were experienced, and killing was part of the people’s lives. For instance, the book ends with a scene illustrating that Macías was not dead. However, he was undoubtedly aware that he could not have a chance to run away from this skirmish, and since he had silenced a number of Mexican soldiers, he was aware to expect the full impact of the authority/law that had already been corrupted against his desires to start with.

The novel is essential such that despite indicating so much violence and war, it also helps the audience to learn the proper strategies or better ways of acquiring change since the ones applied in the story result in war, suffering, and loss of lives. It serves as a lesson to discover the effects of war and engaging in unjust practices. A great part of the novel narrates Demetrio, and his recruited gents across the Mexican Sierra, where they engage in was in various skirmishes. Demetrio’s team becomes even much more violent and unmanageable. Towards the end of the story, these men’s arrival in a town triggers a lot of fear instead of happiness and celebration. Demetrio’s men start to rape women and murder the males in this town with impunity, robbing the towns and killing peasants for just little irritations. They turn to be like the Federals that they battled against on behalf of the peasants. For instance, Pintada stated that Demetrio’s gang could not sleep in the guest house, “we’re the fancy ones now” (page 82). She directs the men to a big building where they chip in and make it a home for themselves. One of the men, Luis, sees two diamonds and takes them with him. War is presented as the central evil in the novel. It is because of war that Demetrio is not able to get back to his wife; instead, he decides to keep fighting even without a precise reason. War is brought out as an inevitable trigger that wipes away men and takes them along to their graves.

Secondly, the novel makes a great impact such that it reveals the act of survival. The entire storyline can be related to the issue of survival. The concept of survival is simply the potential to remain standing or in existence, mainly after encountering life-threatening tragedy. Whether it’s a short- or long-term survival, effort, great thought, and preparation must be put in place for it to be successful. In the novel, Demetrio and the other men of the peasant class caught up in the Mexican Revolution fight, kill, and loot in order to survive. It was through this survival that later solutions for the existing problems were found. Away from losing many lives, the hacienda system was completely knocked down, and the land was cut into smaller sections and shared among the peasants and Indian people. The authority recognized peasant associations and labor joints and hugely boosted their organization. The foreign oil companies were taken over, and the Mexican petroleum company was started. Revolution rectifies an unacceptable circumstance and the government that might have failed in putting its people as a priority. Through revolution, a new and reliable change was found, and the lives of the people left greatly improved.


Ackerman, Bruce. Revolutionary Constitutions. Harvard University Press, 2019.

Azuela, Mariano. The underdogs: A novel of the Mexican revolution. Penguin, 2008.

McIntyre, Kathleen M. Protestantism and State Formation in Postrevolutionary Oaxaca. University of New Mexico Press, 2019.


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