Ask your students how they would characterize the genre of de la Vega's account of Juan Ortiz. Is this conventional history? In what ways does it resemble a fable or fictional narrative? Remind your students that de la Vega was himself drawing on eyewitness oral accounts when he composed this work. Given this information, ask them to consider how the tale of Juan Ortiz resonates with the conventions of other narratives that derive from oral traditions (you might point them to the Native American tales featured in Unit 1).
It is sometimes difficult to ascertain whether de la Vega's sympathies lie with the conquistador figures or the Indians in his histories. Ask your students which characters in the Juan Ortiz narrative seem sympathetic. How do race and religion seem to impact de la Vega's characterization of the historical actors in this drama? In order to get your students to think deeply about this issue, you might ask them to rewrite Juan Ortiz's story from the perspective of one of the other characters, such as the cacique Hirrihigua, the eldest daughter, or Mucoco.
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