Document Based Question (Suggested writing time: 40 minutes)

Directions: The following question is based on the documents included in this module. This question is designed to test your ability to work with and understand historical documents. Write an essay that:

  • Has a relevant thesis and supports that thesis with evidence from the documents.
  • Uses all or all but one of the documents.
  • Analyzes the documents by grouping them in as many appropriate ways as possible. Does not simply summarize the documents individually.
  • Takes into account both the sources of the documents and the authors' points of view.

You may refer to relevant historical information not mentioned in the documents.

Question: Using the documents and images from the Doña Marina: Cortés's Translator module
  • Describe the role and reputation of Doña Marina that emerges from an analysis of the early (16th century) sources. Were these eyewitness accounts? Did the author/artist know Doña Marina personally? Describe the changes to Doña Marina's role and reputation evident in the later (20th century) sources. Why can history be seen differently over time?
  • Evaluate Doña Marina’s status as traitor, victim, or survivor. Express a thoughtful opinion, and in doing so, evaluate the validity of the sources. Which sources seem the most reasonable to use to draw conclusions? Why are there stark differences in the perception of Doña Marina/La Malinche over time? What can these sources really tell us about the lifestyle of women in 16th century Mexico?

Be sure to analyze point of view in at least three documents.

What additional sources, types of documents, or information would you need to have a more complete view of this topic?