I, Rigoberta Menchu
Important Quotations Explained
1. My Name is Rigoberta Menchu. I am 23 years old. This is my
testimony. I didn’t learn it from a book and I didn’t learn it alone. I’d
like to stress that it’s not only my life, it’s also the
testimony of my people. . . . My story is the story of all poor Guatemalans.
My personal experience is the reality of a whole people.
2. From then on, I was very depressed about life because I thought,
what would life be like when I grew up? I thought about my childhood and all
the time that had passed. I’d often seen my mother crying. . . . I was
afraid of life and I’d ask myself: “What will it be like when I’m
3. We were going to ask for two days holiday and if they didn’t give
it to us we’d go and spend Christmas somewhere else. But I was anxious. I
couldn’t do it then, perhaps because of the way my parents had brought me
up. I was incapable of disobedience. And those employers exploited my
obedience. They took advantage of my innocence.
4. “A revolutionary isn’t born out of something good,” said my
sister. “He is born out of wretchedness and bitterness. This just gives us
one more reason. We have to fight without measuring our suffering, or what
we experience, or thinking about the monstrous things we must bear in
5. I’m still keeping my Indian identity a secret. I’m still keeping
secret what I think no one should know. Not even anthropologists or
intellectuals, no matter how many books they have, can find out all our
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