, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 35-48
Date: 27 Jun 2007

Maíz, papas y carroña: la “identidad” alimenticia del “indio” de Huasipungo

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Huasipungo by Jorge Icaza is considered one of the primary texts of the Latin American social criticism novels because it denounces the exploitation of the Andean indigenous peoples of Ecuador. This judgement, however, ignores descriptions that show “Indians” as degraded, animal-like and lacking culture, especially when it is time to “devour” the “food” that is attributed to them: corn, low-quality potatoes and carrion. These textual ambiguities are in conflict with the social objectives of Huasipungo, since they prolong the vision of an inferior “Indian,” lacking rights and therefore, an object of exploitation and “natural” extermination on the part of the landowning oligarchy in the name of “progress” for the nation.