The 1800s was a period of revolution, uprising, and movements towards independence not only for Spain but for the colonies in Latin America as well, which then belong to Spain. During this era Latin America, especially New Spain, which today is considered Mexico, was going through a critical state condition. To have a better understanding of the situation in New Spain, this paper will focus on analyzing the novel, “The Mangy Parrot” by Jose Lizardi. More specifically in the following points, which the novel touches base on: the denunciation of Spanish government corruption and incompetence, the criticism of slavery and racial oppression, the mockery of society, where conceited claims and arrogant phrases substitute for both competence and compassion, the denunciation of corruption and incompetence among priests and professionals, the criticism of an unequal enforcement of the rule of law, and the notion of an ideal society as imagined by the protagonist.
I will also include a brief introduction of the author’s life, and a short overview of the situation in Spain and in New Spain. Jose Joaquin Fernandez de Lizardi, or “The Mexican thinker” as he called himself and author of “The Mangy Parrot”, was born in Mexico City in November 15, 1776, (“Gale Encyclopedia of Biography” 2006). He was a creole, his father was a physician and his mother came from a decent family (“Gale Encyclopedia of Biography” 2006). During his adult life, he spent couple of years in college yet he did not finish his career. After dropping out of college, Lizardi, became member of the enlightenment with the belief that men were good but society corrupts them; indeed, he believed in justice, freedom for all, humanity, and had no tolerance for hypocrisy (“Gale Encyclopedia of Biography” 2006).
He was thrown into jail couple of times, and came close to face the inquisition. Finally, in 1833 after many struggles in his life, Lizardi died in poverty and obscurity (“Gale Encyclopedia of Biography” 2006). In addition, to have a better understanding of the novel it is important to take in account the political situation and state situation that was going on in Spain. In 1808 Napoleon invaded Spain, appointed his bother that was nickname “Pedro botella” as the new king of Spain, and exile Phillip II, currently king of Spain, to France. Spain was living a chaotic condition for the struggle for power between the group of Cadiz, a group of liberal, who wanted to end the monarchy government and establish a republic, and the king.
Phillips II comes back to Spain to retake his throne but the group of Cadiz does not want to let the monarchy continue. Nevertheless, New Spain was also in conflict, the Pennisulares and the Ceoles were fighting over power and political positions. The Creoles believe they should’ve had more control over New Spain; indeed, they wanted New Spain to be independent from Spain. The Creoles and the lower classes citizens were also in conflict for union, and struggling for independence too.
The Creoles were doubtful about accepting help from the lower class, the indigenous wanted to the Pennisulares and the Creoles out of Latin America, and the slaves were willing to fight in exchange for their freedom. Everyone wanted something different which made the situation more chaotic. The novel “The Mangy Parrot” was written in many volumes due to content that it contains. Lizardi published it in parts on the newspaper that he also owned; additionally, the final volume was published in 1842 in Mexico. In a very satire way “The Mangy Parrot”