University of Arkansas System
Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter
The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey
The Motorcycle Diaries is a story depicting events in the life of two young men who decide to go on a trip on a motorcycle across South America to see in reality, the continent that they live in and had only read about in the books. It shows an inspiring journey which involves self-discovery as well as the revolutionary heart of the youths in trying to change the society they lived in (Guevara, n.p). The film revolves around Alberto Granado and Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, real-life personalities who lived in Argentines. Ernesto Guevara de la Serna, also known as “El Che” who is a medical student and who has specialized in leprology and his friend Alberto, a biochemist, in 1952 bid their families goodbye and as well as Ernesto’s girlfriend, Chichina Ferreyra, and start a journey of 8,000 miles on a motorcycle, “La Poderosa” [“The Mighty One”] in 1952. The bike takes the tow farther away from the comfort of Buenos Aires to some exciting destinations (Guevara, n.p). The trip leads the two to become more than just friends, like brothers born of the same mother. It is also to be noted that over the course of their 8,000 miles journey, they get to make a discovery of themselves in addition to the discovery of their continent. They find out from their travel that the continent is riddled with a lot of infinite sorrow as well as hope. They come across homeless miners, lepers, riverboat prostitutes as well as prosperous gentry. This leads them to discover that they have poses affinity to help humanity and the determination to bring change in the world that they lived in.
From the film, one can say that Che is not a bad guy; therefore I would say that he is a good guy (Guevara, n.p). The first thing that indicates that he is a good guy is that despite knowing that if he drops out of school eh will not be able to graduate, he decides to embark on a trip with his friend Alberto. The two decide to use an old motorcycle to go across the continent that they lived in so that they could see how their continent looks like and whether the books are telling them the truth. It is very rare to find a person or friend that will embark on a journey that they do not know where they are going and for how long using a motorcycle. Only few people that have a good heart and are true friend would take upon the actions that Che decided to take (Guevara, n.p). Furthermore, the aspect that indicates that Che is a good guy is that throughout the trip band across all the places that they went, he stood by his friend, showing that he is good person that can be trusted by others. They underwent the same difficulties and at no one time did Che decide to vacate the trip and abandon his friend. He wanted to help his friend achieve his dream of riding across the continent on a motorcycle and Che did not leave until his final point of death (Guevara, n.p).
Furthermore, I would say that Che is a good guy based on the activities that they engaged in with his friend during their trip across the many regions and areas that they visited. Che and Alberto were medical students and using the knowledge that they had acquired the helped people along the way as they continued with their adventure (Guevara, n.p). At every place that they went, they felt the need to offer assistance to those that were in need of some medical help. This can be seen at a time when Che was treating a certain woman that they had met and was dying of tuberculosis. Che says that,
“It is at times like this, when a doctor is conscious of his complete powerlessness, that he longs for change: a change to prevent the injustice of a system in which only a month ago this poor woman was still earning her living as a waitress, wheezing and panting but facing life with dignity…”
The above statement by Che is an indication that he cares about other people in the society and only good people do care about others (Guevara, n.p). He shows selflessness by assisting the woman at no cost and feels disappointed due to the situation that most of the people are in. Che also continues that,
“…In circumstances like this, individuals in poor families who can’t pay their way become surrounded by an atmosphere of barely disguised acrimony; they stop being father, mother, sister or brother and become a purely negative factor in the struggle for life and, consequently, a source of bitterness for the healthy members of the community who resent their illness as if it were a personal insult to those who have to support them.”
It is also to be noted that Che says that, “I knew that when the great guiding spirit cleaves humanity into two antagonistic halves, I will be with the people” (Guevara, n.p). From this statement, one can derive that Che is someone that is concerned with the welfare of other people and would do anything to support the poor and the helpless in the society. Thus is an indication of a good guy according to my opinion. Che pledges to fight and even die for the course of defending the poor in the society as well as want to see the Latin America become a united continent. The impression that I get of Che is that he is a liberator and a leader who is ready and willing to undergo through anything as long as he achieves his dream of having a continent where people are treated like human beings and everyone has equal opportunities in life to live better (Guevara, n.p). The motives that Che had for his actions were genuine and deserve some applause since through his motives, the word got to realize the kind of life people had in South America and the process of change started due to his transformation and rebellion. Figures such as Che helped transform the world in terms of equality and respect for human lives despite the differences in social status of people (Guevara, n.p). A liberator, a fighter, defender of the poor, selfless man, courageous, and adventurous are just some of the words that can be used to sum up the actions and motives that Che displayed as it is depicted in the The Motorcycle Diaries.
Guevara, Che. The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey. Melbourne: Ocean Press, 2003. Internet resource. n.p