Zapata: The Ideology of a Peasant Revolutionary Zapata: The Ideology of a Peasant Revolutionary portrays the fight of the Mexicans’ and Indians’ to gain freedom, from the people who were ’superior’ to them. The powerful story tells about a group of peasants who put their trust one man, Zapata, who led them into a revolution. Zapata, written by Robert P. Milon is a very confusing work. He uses many wordy details and jumps between events in a very fluttery way. When new people make an entrance in the book he does not make a good transition between the events. He could have added more scenes to help the dialogue move smoother. The author also jumped around with a very confusing time-line. Emiliano Zapata was born on August 8, 1879, in Anenecuilco. Zapata was the son of a mestizo peasant who trained and sold horses. He was orphaned at the age of 17 and had to look after his brothers and sisters. In 1897, he was arrested for taking part in a protest. From this you can see that he was a hard worker from the start. He was mestizo, and therefore oppressed by the upper class. In 1909 he was elected president of village defense committee. This part is very moving because it happens early in the story but it shows the first glimmer of hope for these people. By 1910, Zapata, was already planning things and he led his people on two peaceful demonstrations. This was the start of a revolution with Zapata and his followers letting everyone know that they would not take it anymore. The story goes on about the struggle of Zapata and his followers, but by page 36 the hero is lying dead from a trap he fell into. Being that the book starts on page 11, the central character dies rather quickly for the whole book to be about him. After Zapata dies the author attempts to flash back and recap everything that happened between page 11 and page 36, so this book appears to be like in media res stlye. Which is a style of writing by starting in the middle, going ahead, and then telling the beginning. (Oedipus is an example of this). In Chapter II (Agrarianism), the author hastily tried to put all of these Plans, and Articles into the story. He bounced from paragraph to paragraph taking up a new point of an article in each one. The plan of Ayala, first appears on page 40, and by the next paragraph he is running away with Articles VI, VII, and VIII. After that Millon is discussing the two revisions this plan had. By the next page, he is talking about a pamphlet that was used. By page 45 he is introducing a new manifesto. It seemed that every paragraph started with a date saying Zapata addressed so and so at this time to produce this plan . The author felt the need to include what seemed like the life stories of every person involved in making these plans, and the writing of these articles. In Chapter III (Liberalism and Anti-Imperialism), the author seemed to jump back in time, again. This chapter feels like an entire repeat of what chapter II had discussed. Also, through this entire book, the author uses what seems to be Mexican or Spanish in italicized words, which makes it very hard to read . Words such as carrancistas, cacique, porfirista, ejidos, & latifundismo appear. As the book went on, more Mexican words showed up. After the foreign words the author should have translated them. Combined with the unorganized writing method employed one needed help getting through the long and tedious chapters. The only thing constant about, Robert Millon’s chaotic writing was that he started every chapter with a long quote from Zapata himself, to set the chapter up. Chapter IV, entitled Misconceptions Concerning Zapatista Ideology, did not help to make anything clearer. The author rambled on making an effort to explain his past chapters and the concepts surrounding Zapata. This was a failed attempt because the author again goes into wordy descriptions and introduces an abundance of people and dates. Also, by the end of this chapter the author feels compelled to use a long list of quotes. Almost every paragraph, is a quote. Millon is not giving the reader his input here, but instead he leaves the reader with pages of quotes to fumble through. It makes it very hard to get through. Chapter IV, named Revolutionary Tactics, Millon discusses the fighting strategy of Zapata and his followers. Again we find ourselves in 1915; the author has backtracked once more. He retells the story of the past four chapters over again. He goes over the same tiresome details, again. The final Chapter in this sloppily written work, bears the name, The Fate of Zapatista Ideology, this tiny chapter, is only about four pages . In this last chapter, the author summarizes the previous details to the readers that have already been introduced, but now he explains why they did not work that successfully . Robert Millon, is not a skilled writer. He did not do Zapata or his followers justice. His lack of being able to understand the concept of a time-line, and how to introduce new people showed throughout this entire work. West Civ students should not have to read his writings. They should have a better portrayal of Zapata.
Milon, Robert. Zapata. International Publishers,1969.