Northup, Solomon. Twelve Years a slave (New York: Penguin Books, 2012). (461)

Fernandez Kelly, Patricia. “Death in Mexican Folk Culture.”

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Fernandez Kelly, Patricia. “Death in Mexican Folk Culture.” American Quarterly 26 (1974): 516-535. (25)
Countries throughout the world have held such amazing contrast in their ancestry, their social dynamics and in their modern day presence. As discussed in various texts, Mexico is no different, especially when it comes to the dissection of death in Mexican culture, as presented in Patricia Fernandez Kelly’s piece “Death in Mexican Folk Culture”. Ideas of “complimentary dualities: light and darkness, masculinity and femininity, the heavens and the earth, the visible and the invisible…life and death”, are all those which Aztec and early Mexican cultures take root in, with evidence of these contrasts arising throughout the nation.109 The continuing dialogue between life and death in Mexican culture is a conversation which never ceases to be interesting and is one which is seeming incapable of running out of information – as every inch of human sacrifice and the gift of blood symbolizes “man [becoming] an active agent in sharing in the responsibility of preserving cosmic order”.110 Fernandez Kelly does a brilliant job at highlighting these opposites which blend so well, and nearly without the social connotations of death. It is even mentioned rather early on, as humans concept of self-awareness is unique because of an evolution of thought which created “a complex structure of explanation which can only be understood against the background of the human conception of time” as a retaliation to the denial or death which is certainly a primarily human trait.111 So much in Mexican culture depicts the duality of life and death, well as the fine line between the two and the need to understand their connection. Fernandez Kelly’s piece does a near perfect job, though somewhat linguistically outdated, at taking a flawlessly intriguing set of circumstances – death in Mexican culture – and making it even more mesmerizing.

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