Mexican Revolution as Portrayed in the Novel, “Under Dogs”

            Demetrio Macias was the leader of the revolution. He was a farmer, who after insulting the mayor of the town is sent out of town by the mayor. He left behind his beloved wife, Limon and his son. His house is later set on fire as he watches. Enraged, he vows to fight back the Mexican government. First, he leads a revolution of twenty men, all victims of the government’s injustices and the number of his army swells up with time. Demetrio is courageous and charismatic. This attracts many followers. At Zacatecas, Demetrio was at the blink of defeat but he won through his bravery (Azuela, 2008). These incidences made people follow him and earned him the position of a general in the rebel army. He led the people passionately into fighting the injustices the government had caused. The army won many victories and various sectors were transformed allowing for justice. However, along the way Demetrio loses the purpose of the revolution. He no longer knows why he wants to fight. He leads his men to wreaking more homes of innocent peasants and even engages in sexual immorality with Camilla and War Paint. He therefore does not finish strongly what he had started.

Luis Cervantes came as an intellectual, medical practitioner. He had been sent away by the federal government and was therefore looking for a place where he could fight the government. Since all the men in Demetrio’s camp were illiterates, Demetrio made Luis his secretary so that he could learn from him. Luis is the most disillusioned man in Demetrio’s camp. He is the first to lose the vision of the fight, which is to restore justice. He engages in sexual immorality and even takes advantage of Camilla’s love for him and asks her to sleep with his boss to satisfy his boss’s lust. Later,  Luis betrays everyone when he flee to USA and writes a letter to one of his close friends requesting him to steal from the band’s treasury and later travel to El Paso where the two could open a Mexican restaurant (Azuela, 2008).

War Paint pushes her way to be introduced to Demetrio and even wants a relationship with Demetrio. She devises a way of ending Camilla’s relationship with Demetrio but everyone turns against her and she is asked to leave the revolution. Instead of leaving the revolution, she kills Camilla and continues to stay by manipulating Demetrio through sexual favors. She later learns how to fight as good as the men and stays in the camp with men. Before War Paint was introduced, the soldiers did not express their views openly but when she came in, she spoke up her mind and influenced the others to do the same.

Camilla was Demetrio’s mistress and took care of the soldiers’ wounds. He made sure that they ate and did most of the domestic work. She therefore did not go to the warfront to fight. She believed she was in the revolution to save the lives of the soldiers who were involved in the fights. Before being Demetrio’s mistress, she was in love with Luis who decided to take advantage of her love and asked her to be Demetrio’s mistress. Camilla and War Paint do not get on well and end up at loggerheads most of the times. Camilla is killed by War Paint, since she was her reason for being expelled from the revolution. At one point, Camilla wanted to leave the revolution with the help of War Paint. She therefore had lost her vision of helping the soldiers (Azuela, 2008).

In my view, Demetrio was more loyal to the revolution. Though he lost his purpose along the way, he did not leave the army on its own at any time. He even died holding his gun as he tried to save his men’s lives.

Work Cited:

Azuela, Mariano. The Underdogs: A Novel of the Mexican Revolution, trans. Sergio Waisman. New York, NY: Penguin Books, 2008. Print.


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