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The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey - Book Report/Review Example

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The Jaguar Smile: The Narrative That Failed To See Name Subject Instructor Date The Jaguar Smile: The Narrative That Failed To See The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey is a book written by Salman Rushdie about the travels he made in Nicaragua in 1986, as he went there on an invitation from the leftist Sandinista Association of Cultural Workers to participate in the anniversary celebration of the overthrow of the dictatorial government led by Somoza (Rushdie)…
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The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey
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"The Jaguar Smile: A Nicaraguan Journey"

Download file to see previous pages The David and Goliath imagery is strongly present in Rushdie’s mind when he presents his political tourist’s memoirs and experiences about Nicaragua and its colonizer, the United States of America (Rushdie, p.17 of preface). The central concern that is addressed by Rushdie in this book is not only the hopes of independence of a third world nation but the probabilities of a revolution turning into “the thing …(it)… had been created to destroy” (Rushdie, 4). This is why he states in the beginning of the book itself, “I knew about starting with idealism and romance and ending with betrayed expectations, broken hope” (Rushdie, 4). But in the end he (Rushdie) had no hesitation about with whom to align himself- “one didn’t have to like people to believe in their right not to be squashed by the United States” (4). Rushdie has called his book on Nicaragua, “a portrait of a moment, no more, in the life of that beautiful, volcanic country” (Rushdie, 5). He (Rushdie) found a Nicaragua haunted by the dictatorship of its recent past and its memories (7). The 46 years of Nicaraguan history in which the inhumane dictatorship of Somozas ruled the country has been the starting point of his narration for Rushdie (9). How martyrdom became a legend and a religion that the people of a repressed nation memorized and discoursed about, again and again, made a platform for Rushdie to anchor his narrative (10). As a whole, the book is filled with the same legacy of Nicaraguan revolution and its romantic and idealistic underpinnings (Rushdie). But Rushdie himself has admitted in his preface to the new edition that he was wrong in being only a mild critic of the totalitarian aspect of the new Sandinista regime and its undemocratic acts like censorship and “nationalized poetry” (p.18 of preface, 33). The book mainly has covered the political atmosphere, the people’s socio-political behavior, and also the poetry of Nicaragua and its nature of being a mirror to the aspirations of the people (Rushdie). As the book was written at a time when the leftist revolutionary government was in its infancy and the US was busy with funding the counter-revolutionaries to overthrow the Sandinista government, Rushdie has inevitably sided with the Sandinistas. He (Rushdie) is seen meeting prominent figures of politics and poetry in Nicaragua like the then President Daniel Ortega and being impressed by their political ways but all the same he (Rushdie) is also seen as apprehensive of certain acts of the new government like shutting down the opposition’s news paper (33). The bipolarity of the world when this book was written has to certain extent masked the ground realities of Nicaragua from the eyes of the author, and in turn, the reader. When it comes to the single question how communist totalitarianism can be rated in comparison with the proxy wars that super powers had been waging to pursue their so called national interest, Rushdie is left with no other option than to side with the Nicaraguan leftists. And this is why he (Rushdie) has been criticized of painting a picture of a “left-wing Third World Utopia” in Nicaragua (Lisle, 49). The political behavior of Nicaragua as is ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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