Che Guevara’s Motorcycle Diaries: A Hippie Discovers Communism and Becomes a Monster
capitalismmagazine.com ^ | 10/12/2016 | Anoop Verma
Posted on 10/19/2016, 12:54:58 PM by rktman
The Motorcycle Diaries is not a “coming-of-age” story as it has been described by a number of commentators.
When Che Guevara took off on a motorcycle journey across South America he was not a teenager; he was 23-years-old and therefore already “of age.” In my view, this book has nothing to do with coming-of-age issues, rather it is a “hippie discovers communism” kind of story.
The Che Guevara that we meet in The Motorcycle Diaries is a hippie who drifts from place to place without any coherent plan. He is alienated from society. He sees the ill effects of materialism and repression in every direction. He thinks that it is the responsibility of other people to provide him with food, shelter, and even booze. He has no sense of hygiene—at times he does not wash for days and is inclined to live in most filthy and hopeless conditions. He is incapable of making any effort to improve the quality of his life.
In late 1951, Che Guevara and his friend, 29-year-old Alberto Granado, set off on the motorcycle they call La Poderosa (The Powerful One) with no aim but to wander aimlessly across South America. During their journey of more than 8000 kilometres lasting many months, they behave like a pair of filthy freeloaders and create chaos and nuisance for everyone who puts up with them. Quite often, they end up dirtying the living environment of their clueless hosts.
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