Reinventing the Aztecs: Postcolonial Tension and Moral Equivalence in Laura Esquivel’s La Ley del Amor

Barbara E. Hamilton (Mercer County College and William Paterson University)

Sixteenth century Nahuatl poetry written during the Spanish conquest contrasts the firm endpoint of death with elegiac commemoration of fleeting beauty, both cultural and natural. To resolve Mexico’s difficult history of violence and cultural genocide, Laura Esquivel in the 1995 novel La ley del amor takes her Spanish and Aztec protagonists through generations of reincarnation to unity, forgiveness, and moral equivalence in the 23rd century, quoting bits of Aztec poetry as she goes. Her choices, although understandable from a literary viewpoint, raise concern about the plight of traditional belief systems while coming to terms with the aftermath of human tyranny.

Part of 26-04 Nature Abhors a Tyrant, Tuesday, October 19, 5:15 pm–6:45 pm