Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Ernesto Che Guevara's The Motorcycle Diaries. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Motorcycle Diaries: Introduction
The Motorcycle Diaries: Plot Summary
The Motorcycle Diaries: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Motorcycle Diaries: Themes
The Motorcycle Diaries: Quotes
The Motorcycle Diaries: Characters
The Motorcycle Diaries: Symbols
The Motorcycle Diaries: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Ernesto Che Guevara
Historical Context of The Motorcycle Diaries
Other Books Related to The Motorcycle Diaries
- Full Title: The Motorcycle Diaries: Notes on a Latin American Journey
- When Written: Guevara ostensibly wrote his memoir as a series of impromptu diary entries during his 1952 expedition. However, at least some editing occurred between 1952 and the memoir’s eventual publication in 1993. Some scholars have suggested that Guevara embellished the original narrative later on, or that his daughter or the Cuban government made alterations during editing.
- Where Written: South America
- When Published: 1993
- Literary Period: modern/Cold War
- Genre: memoir
- Setting: South America
- Climax: While the Motorcycle Diaries is not a traditionally-structured book that follows a strict plot structure, one important point both of climax and resolution comes when Ernesto meets a stranger in Venezuela with whom he discusses the inevitability of proletarian revolution. Stylistically, the unusually heightened language in this chapter shows that the memoir is at its dramatic apex. Ideologically, this chapter gives the reader a sense of resolution by showing the solidification of Ernesto’s commitment to radical Communism.
- Antagonist: class oppression/capitalism
- Point of View: first-person
Extra Credit for The Motorcycle Diaries
Brand Recognition. An iconic photo of Che Guevara’s face has been cited as “the most famous photograph in the world.”
Canonization. In Bolivia, where Guevara spent the last part of his life and was killed, he has been informally canonized by local communities, who sometimes call him “San Ernesto.” They have preserved the building where his body was kept as a shrine.