Motorcycle Diaries

             Che Guevara is seen as a revolutionary image in South America for his radical views for a new equal society across the continent. Although his parents were from established families; his adolescence was full of travelling due to his dad’s lack of a steady job. A lack of a central home allowed Che to grow a personality of that of an explorer; one who looked to defy conventional thoughts and to look for new ideas in the world. In the Motorcycle Diaries, Che teams up with a companion Alberto Granado on a journey to discover what South American culture, women, and landscape was all about. A twenty-two year old Che experienced exploration in his teens, and was also well educated due to his interest in reading. Leaving just before his entrance into medical school, Che was ready to discover South America for himself, in hopes of finding the truth behind the land.

            During the mid 1930’s through the 1960’s, South America had a vast amount of tourism both domestic and from visiting foreign tourists. The Peronistera in Argentina (nation’s largest political force) hoped to improve the nation’s domestic economy by increasing paid vacations for regular labor workers. Argentina along with Peru experienced mass migration from rural to urban areas. The metropolitan region of Buenos Aires saw an increase from 8,000 to over 115,000 migrants to the city. Peru had an increase from 35% to 50% population in urban areas by the 1960’s (Elena, 28. Drinot, 109). Che’s family is included in the number of migrants who moved into Buenos Aires; a move that would create interest for Che to explore areas of the continent that he hadn’t seen.
            Che was described by Eduardo Elena as a “Social Investigator”. His interest in helping people grew as he continued in his study of medicine. On his trip with Granado, they stop at numerous clinics, hospitals, leprosariums, along with a famous doctor of leprosy. He wanted to go farther than anyone else would to discover people from different social backgrounds. Motorcycle Diaries creates an interesting parallel describing Che’s character. On his birthday, he has a great time celebrating with everyone at the clinic, but what he really wants is to spend his birthday with those suffering from leprosy on the island isolated across the river. Ignoring Granado’s advice, Che jumps in the moving river and swims across to the dismay of the rest of the nurses, nuns, doctors. He risks drowning along with potentially succumbing to other dangers living in the river. However, Che’s reliance along with motivational jeers from the sickly on the island, push Che to finish the swim. This scene in the movie shows Che’s revolutionary personality as one that could think contrary to the norm of society.
            Che’s interest in helping those in need led to many revolutions in South America. His strong image gave many citizens the courage to rebel and to believe in ideals Che Guevara created.