The Motorcycle Diaries

by

Ernesto Che Guevara

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Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Ocean Press edition of The Motorcycle Diaries published in 2003.
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Chapter 1 Quotes

In nine months of a man's life he can think a lot of things, from the loftiest meditations on philosophy to the most desperate longing for a bowl of soup—in total accord with the state of his stomach.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:

Man, the measure of all things, speaks here through my mouth and narrates in my own language that which my eyes have seen. It is likely that out of 10 possible heads I have seen only one true tail, or only vise versa….Okay, but this is how the typewriter interpreted those fleeting impulses raising my fingers to the keys, and those impulses have now died. Moreover, no one can be held responsible for them.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 31
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

The enormity of our endeavor escaped us in those moments; all we could see was the dust on the road ahead and ourselves on the bike, devouring kilometers in our flight northward.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Related Symbols: La Poderosa
Page Number: 33
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

I remember the day my friend the sea came to my defense…The beach was deserted and a cold onshore wind was blowing. My head rested in the lap tying me to this land, lulled by everything around. The entire universe drifted rhythmically by, obeying the impulses of my inner voice…And then, for the last time, I heard the ocean’s warning.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Chichina
Related Symbols: Chichina and “Comeback”
Page Number: 36
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

I now know, by an almost fatalistic conformity with the facts, that my destiny is to travel, or perhaps it's better to say that traveling is our destiny, because Alberto feels the same.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Page Number: 45
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

The huge figure of a stag dashed like a quick breath across the stream and his body, silver by the light of the rising moon, disappeared into the undergrowth. This tremor of nature cut straight to our hearts. We walked slowly so as not to disturb the peace of the wild sanctuary with which we were now communing.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Page Number: 49
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

A feeling of profound unease came over me; I felt that I was incapable of feeling anything. I began to feel afraid for myself and started a tearful letter, but I couldn't write, it was hopeless to try. In the half-light that surrounded us, phantoms swirled around and around but "she" wouldn't appear. I still believed I loved her until this moment, when I realized I felt nothing.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Chichina
Related Symbols: Chichina and “Comeback”
Page Number: 54
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

[We were] no longer a pair of more or less likable vagrants with a bike in tow; no, we were now "The Experts," and we were treated accordingly.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Page Number: 59
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15 Quotes

It was our last day as "motorized bums"; the next stage seemed set to be more difficult, as "bums without wheels."

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Related Symbols: La Poderosa
Page Number: 63
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17 Quotes

To a certain extent we had been knights of the road; we belonged to that long-standing "wandering aristocracy" and had calling cards with our impeccable and impressive titles. No longer. Now we were just two hitchhikers with backpacks, and with all the grime of the road stuck to our overalls, shadows of our former selves.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Related Symbols: La Poderosa
Page Number: 68
Explanation and Analysis:

It is at times like this, when a doctor is conscious of his complete powerlessness, that he longs for change: a change to prevent the injustice of a system in which only a month ago this poor woman was still earning her living as a waitress, wheezing and panting but facing life with dignity.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Old Woman with Asthma
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

It is there, in the final moments, for people whose farthest horizon has always been tomorrow, that one comprehends the profound tragedy circumscribing the life of the proletariat the world over.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Old Woman with Asthma
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:

How long this present order, based on an absurd idea of caste, will last is not within my means to answer, but it's time that those who govern spent less time publicizing their own virtues and more money, much more money, funding socially useful works.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Old Woman with Asthma
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

By the light of the single candle illuminating us, drinking mate and eating a piece of bread and cheese, the man's shrunken figure carried a mysterious, tragic air. In his simple, expressive language he recounted his three months in prison, and told us about his starving wife who stood by him with exemplary loyalty, his children left in the care of a kindly neighbor, his fruitless pilgrimage in search of work and his compañeros, mysteriously disappeared and said to be somewhere at the bottom of the sea.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Mine Workers
Page Number: 77
Explanation and Analysis:

It's a great pity that they repress people like this. Apart from whether collectivism, the "communist vermin" is a danger to decent life, the communism gnawing at his entrails was no more than a natural longing for something better, a protest against persistent hunger transformed into a love for this strange doctrine, whose essence he could never grasp but whose translation, "bread for the poor," was something which he understood and, more importantly, filled him with hope.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Mine Workers
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

And how many of those mountains surrounding their famous brother enclose in their heavy entrails similar riches, as they wait for the soulless arms of the mechanical shovels to devour their insides, spiced as they would be with the inevitable human lives…

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 80
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

But the people before us are not the same proud race that repeatedly rose up against Inca rule, forcing them to maintain a permanent army on their borders; these people who watch us walk through the streets of the town are a defeated race. Their stares are tame, almost fearful, and completely indifferent to the outside world.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 93
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 25 Quotes

He spoke of the need to build schools that would orient individuals within their own world, enabling them to play a useful role within it; of the need to change fundamentally the present system of education, which, on the rare occasion it does offer Indians education (according only to white man's criteria), simply fills them with shame and resentment, rendering them unable to help their fellow Indians and at the severe disadvantage of having to fight within a hostile white society which refuses to accept them.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Schoolteacher
Page Number: 97
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28 Quotes

The vision of this Cuzco emerges mournfully from the fortress destroyed by the stupidity of illiterate Spanish conquistadors, from the violated ruins of the temples, from the sacked palaces, from the faces of a brutalized race. This is the Cuzco inviting you to become a warrior and to defend, club in hand, the freedom and the life of the Inca.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 104
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 29 Quotes

Even today, when the bestial rage of the conquering rabble can be seen in each of the acts designed to eternalize the conquest, and the Inca caste has long since vanished as a dominant power, their stone blocks stand enigmatically, impervious to the ravages of time.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 106
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 37 Quotes

Afterwards some of [the patients] came to say goodbye to us personally and in more than one case tears were shed as they thanked us for the little bit of life we'd given them. We shook their hands, accepted their gifts, and sat with them listening to football on the radio. If there's anything that will make us seriously dedicate ourselves to leprosy, it will be the affection shown to us by all the sick we've met along the way.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Alberto Granado
Page Number: 137
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 40 Quotes

There are 600 sick people living independently in typical jungle huts, doing whatever they choose, looking after themselves, in an organization which has developed a rhythm and style of its own. There is a local official, a judge, a policeman, etc. The respect Dr. Bresciani commands is considerable and he clearly coordinates the whole colony, both protecting and sorting out disputes that arise between the different groups.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), Dr. Bresciani
Related Symbols: The Leper Colony
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 41 Quotes

We constitute a single mestizo race, which from Mexico to the Magellan Straits bears notable ethnographical similarities. And so, in an attempt to rid myself of the weight of small-minded provincialism, I propose a toast to Peru and to a United Latin America.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Leper Colony
Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 45 Quotes

Littered along the edges of the road are containers for transporting cars, used by the Portuguese as dwellings. In one of these, where a black family lives, I can just glimpse a brand new refrigerator, and from many of them radios blare music which their owners play at maximum volume. New cars are parked outside the most miserable "homes."

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker)
Page Number: 162
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 46 Quotes

The terrible thing is the people need to be educated, and this they cannot do before taking power, only after. They can only learn at the cost of their own mistakes, which will be very serious and will cost many innocent lives.

Related Characters: The Stranger (speaker), Ernesto Guevara
Page Number: 164
Explanation and Analysis:

I knew that when the great guiding spirit cleaves humanity into two antagonistic halves, I would be with the people. I know this, I see it printed in the night sky that I, eclectic dissembler of doctrine and psychoanalyst of dogma, howling like one possessed, will assault the barricades or the trenches, will take my bloodstained weapon and, consumed with fury, slaughter any enemy who falls into my hands.

Related Characters: Ernesto Guevara (speaker), The Stranger
Page Number: 165
Explanation and Analysis:
No matches.