The Motorcycle Diaries: A Journey of Self-discovery

“The Motorcycle Diaries”, directed by Walter Salles, is a film based in a true-life story that had a profound impact on revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna and his friend Alberto Granado. During the 1950’s, Ernesto Guevara, a medical student, and Alberto Granado, a biochemist student, decided to take a motorcycle trip through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. Throughout the trip, Ernesto and Alberto discovered the reality of a land filled with suffering, oppression, and injustice affecting its people. Understanding these issues are essential to understanding the challenges that every Latino has to experience at some point in his or her life. Wrestling with these issues is what drove Ernesto and Alberto to a journey of self-discovery. What does self-discovery means? The word self-discovery means a new way of looking at life. Alberto and Ernesto gained a face-to-face experience with social classes, and exploitation that led them on a journey of self-discovery.

Alberto and Ernesto learned the differences between social classes in their journey across South America. In many Latin American countries, social class differences among their residents are very pronounced expressed in many ways. But the main differences between these classes are lifestyle, customs, and working conditions. In “The Motorcycle Diaries”, Ernesto and Alberto discovered that poverty is a day-to-day problem affecting lower class people—especially indigenous Incas, farmworkers, and mineworkers all over Latin America. In contrast, they found out that the wealthy few —capitalists—have a higher quality of life. It is a clear example between the upper class lifestyle of Chichina's family and the indigenous people in Peru. Ernesto and Alberto stayed for three weeks at San Pablo, a leper colony in Peru, where hierarchy is based on health and position. In this leper colony, the river plays an important role separating treated patients—sick people—from doctors and nuns —healthy people. However, their desperate need for survival for themselves and their families leaves low class people with no other choice but to be exploitation.

In addition to the differences between social classes, Ernesto and Alberto faced forms of exploitation affecting people at every place they stop. Ernesto and Alberto encounter desperate indigenous people being displaced from their own land by capitalists. They visited Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile. It was run by a U.S. mining company and viewed by Ernesto as a symbol of exploitation. In addition, Ernesto and Alberto discovered the way companies exploited poor people. In the same way, “The Plum Plum Pickers”, written by Jorge Soto, emphasizes the way the gringo—the oppressor—exploited farm workers who labored in the fields. They have no rights. Moreover, farmworkers do not ***(I don’t know how to change this sentence) justice because they are afraid that they will be fired for exercising their rights. Similarly, in “The Organizer Tale”, Cesar Chavez addresses the fact of “how people working the roses are sick and tired of being treated and he was willing to ‘go the limit’”(294). However, exploited people are organized so that they can help each other. In addition, they are able to sacrifice themselves for their families.

Along with their experience of exploitation affecting people at every place they stop, Ernesto and Alberto experienced a journey of self-discovery. According to Kenneth Turan, L.A times writer, “like riders everywhere, Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado were changed by their bike experience, by the eight months they spent in...South America, but not in the way they expected”(1). The farther they went the more they started to understand the people’s reality. Throughout their journey of self-discovery, Ernesto and Alberto started to change their way of thinking of the world. Their first-hand experiences and their encounter with people, from the very wealthy(Should I said very wealthy or wealthier??) to the exploited mineworkers, from indigenous people in Cuzco to leper patients at San Pablo affected the way Ernesto and Alberto saw themselves. For example, Ernesto leaves his birthday party and takes a night swim across the river to the other side, to his patients in the leper’s colony.

The relatively close proximity of people from different social classes and the exploitation affecting the poor people, led Ernesto and Alberto on a journey of self-discovery. They analyzed suffering and injustice that were unknown for them. But the most important, Ernesto and Alberto discovered a continent’s reality that changed their lives.
Hi,

I took a look at your essay, and I still see a regular switch between past and present tenses. As a reader, I find this confusing.

Just my 2 cents.

I proofread one paragraph for you.

“The Motorcycle Diaries”, directed by Walter Salles, is a film based *in (wrong prep.) a true-life story that had a profound impact on revolutionary Ernesto “Che” Guevara de la Serna and his friend Alberto Granado. During the 1950’s, Ernesto Guevara, a medical student, and Alberto Granado, a biochemist student, decided to take a motorcycle trip through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. Throughout the trip, Ernesto and Alberto discovered *a land (words deleted) filled with suffering, oppression, and injustice *(words deleted). Understanding these issues *are (agreement, and make this past tense too) essential to understanding the challenges that every Latino *has to *face at some point in his or her life. Wrestling with these issues *is (tense) what drove Ernesto and Alberto to a journey of self-discovery. (the question and answer disrupts the flow of your ideas) Alberto and Ernesto gained a *first-hand experience with *poverty and exploitation that led them on a journey of self-discovery.
Thank you Julielai for your suggestions! I know I am still confused with the present and past tense. So, Should I put poverty instead of social classes?Am I not clear about social classes?

(the question and answer disrupts the flow of your ideas) Alberto and Ernesto gained a *first-hand experience with *poverty and exploitation that led them on a journey of self-discovery.

[* I wrote the question because I thought the reader might not be familiar with what self-discovery mean?]

Understanding these issues *are (agreement, and make this past tense too) essential to understanding the challenges that every Latino *has to *face at some point in his or her life.
Emotion: wink Thank you for your helpful suggestions
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Hi Pilita,

I'm just a learner like you, but here are my 2 cents:

Most Americans would know what "self-discovery" is. This is a movie review, so commonly used terms don't need to be defined.

Since your review deals with the problems in the 50s, past tense should be fine. (of course, except when you give your own opinion or something)

Edited to add:
As I originally said, most reviews use present tense though.
Here's my edit of your essay:
The Motorcycle Diaries: A Journey of Self-[D](*d)iscovery

"The Motorcycle Diaries", directed by Walter Salles, is a film based [on] (*in) [the] (*a) real-life story of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the famous Argentine leader of the Cuban revolution. It chronicles a journey that occurred before he became (*the) “Che”, [the revolutionary leader of the masses.] During [the] 1950’s, Ernesto Guevara, a medical student, and his biochemist friend Alberto Granado decided to take an adventurous motorcycle trip across South America--[through] (*from) Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. [In the course of their] (*Throughout the) (*journey) Emotion: travel, Ernesto and Alberto discovered the reality of a land filled with suffering, oppression, and injustice affecting its people. Understanding these issues [was] (*are) essential to understanding the challenges that (*every Latino) [most Latin Americans] [had] (*has) to (*experience) [face] at some point in (*his or her) [their] (*life) [lives]. Wrestling with these issues (*is what) [drove] (*drives) Ernesto and Alberto [in]to a journey of self-discovery. What does self-discovery [mean] (*means)? The word self-discovery means a new way of looking at life. [Ernesto and Alberto] (*Alberto and Ernesto) [came to grip with] (*experienced) the class distinctions existent in the Latin-American society of the day (*differences between social classes), and [how the downtrodden were exploited] (*exploitation) [leading them to] (*that led them on) a journey of self-discovery.

Alberto and Ernesto got a (*taste) [feel] of the [social differences] (*differences between social classes) [during] (*in) their journey across South America. In [most] (*many) Latin American countries, [social anomalies] (*social class differences among their residents) [were prevalent] (*are clearly pronounced) in many ways. But the main differences between [the] (*these) classes [were] (*are) lifestyle, customs, and working conditions. (*In The Motorcycle Diaries,) (*Ernesto and Alberto) [They] discovered that poverty [was] (*is) a day-to-day issue affecting lower class people[, such as](*--)indigenous Incas, farmworkers, and mineworkers[,] (*—-) all over Latin America. In contrast, Ernesto and Alberto found out that [those belonging to the upper class enjoyed] (*the few upper class capitalists have) a [much] higher quality of life. [In a striking example, they (*see) [saw] a marked difference between the lifestyles of the family of Ernesto's girl-friend Chichina and Peru's indigenous population.] (*It is a clear example between the upper class lifestyle lifestyle of Chichina's family and the indigenous people in Peru.) [More was seen when] (*Moreover,) Ernesto and Alberto stayed for three weeks at San Pablo, a leper colony in Peru, where hierarchy [was] (*is) based [strictly] on health and position. In this leper colony, the river (*plays) [played] an important role separating [the patients undergoing treatment] (*treated patients—sick people—) [from healthy people such as doctors and nuns.] (*doctors and nuns—healthy people.) [It was only a matter of time before they realized that] (*However, their) [the lower class people had no other option but to suffer exploitation at the hands of powerful in order to survive and protect their families.] (*desperate need for survival for themselves and their families leaves lower class people with no other choice but to be exploited.)

In addition to the [social differences] (*differences between social classes), Ernesto and Alberto [came across] (*faced) [several other] forms of exploitation affecting people at every place they stopp[ed]. (*Ernesto and Alberto) [They] encounter[ed] (*desperate) [hope-deprived] indigenous people being displaced from their [very] own land by the capitalist(*s) [industrialists]. [Agitated looking at the sorry plight of the natives and their ill-treatment at Chile's Chuquicamata copper mine, Ernesto even once confronted the American mining contractor.] (*They visited Chuquicamata copper mine in Chile. It was run by a U.S. mining company and viewed by Ernesto as a symbol of exploitation.) [Traveling further, they discovered how foreign companies were taking advantage of the poor and were pushing them to the edge.] (*In addition, Ernesto and Alberto discovered the way companies exploited poor people.) In the same [spirit] (*way), “The Plum Plum Pickers”, written by Raymond Barrio, [has examined] (*emphasizes) [how] (*the way) the oppressors-the gringos(*gringo—the oppressor—) [exploit the naive] (*is exploiting) farm workers. [The workers] (*They have no rights.) (*Moreover,) (*Farm workers) [They] do not [and cannot] demand justice because they are afraid that they [might] (*will) be fired for exercising their rights. Similarly, Cesar Chavez’s essay, “The Organizer Tale”, addresses the fact of “how people (*working) [who pick?] the roses [were] (*are) sick and tired of being treated [badly] and (*he was) [they were?] willing to ‘go the limit’”(294). However, [he notes that] the exploited people were (*are) organized so that they [could] (*can) help each other [and they could] (*. Moreover,) (*they are able to) sacrifice themselves for their families.

The epic motorcycle ride served as an eye-opener for Ernesto and Alberto to the injustices and inequalities rampant in Latin America, thus leading to their self-discovery. (*Along with their eye-opening experience of exploitation, Ernesto and Alberto experienced a journey of self-discovery.) According to Kenneth Turan, L.A times writer, “like riders everywhere, Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado were changed by their bike experience, by the eight months they spent in...South America, but not in the way they expected”. [This self-discovery brought in great deal of change within themselves changing the way how they saw themselves and the world.] (*As a result of their journey of self-discovery, Ernesto and Alberto started to change their way of thinking of the world.) Their first-hand experiences and (*their) encounters with people[colorful at times, but mostly bleak] from the upper class[es] to the [downtrodden] (*exploited) mineworkers, from indigenous people in Cuzco to [leprosy] (*leper) patients at San Pablo, [brought in a great deal of change within themselves changing the way how they saw themselves and the world.] (*affected the way Ernesto and Alberto saw themselves.) (*Ernesto said,) [Ernesto, in his own words, puts it:] “We are one single mestizo race from Mexico to the Magallan Straits.” As a result, [toward the close of the movie,] Ernesto leaves his birthday party and takes a night swim across the river where the doctors stayed to the other side of the river where the (*leper) [leprosy] patients lived.

(*The relatively close proximity of people from different social classes and the exploitation affecting poor people, led Ernesto and Alberto on a journey of self-discovery.) [Little did they know when they started that this would be such an epoch-making trip, but at the end of it, they realized that their outlook toward the world had changed forever.] (*They analyzed suffering and injustice that were unknown for them.) [This experience brought them face-to-face with the bitter truths of life and let them understand the sufferings of their brethren, hitherto unknown to them.] (*But the most important,) [Most importantly,] (*Ernesto and Alberto) [they] discovered a continent’s reality that (*changed their lives) [would have a longlasting and irreversible impact on their lives]. “I am not me anymore at least I am not the same me I was”, said Ernesto.

Legend:
(*...): deletion
[...]: addition or modification

The complete essay after modifying it:
The Motorcycle Diaries: A Journey of Self-Discovery

"The Motorcycle Diaries", directed by Walter Salles, is a film based on the real-life story of Ernesto “Che” Guevara, the famous Argentine leader of the Cuban revolution. It chronicles a journey that occurred before he became "Che", the revolutionary leader of the masses. During the 1950’s, Ernesto Guevara, a medical student, and his biochemist friend Alberto Granado decided to take an adventurous motorcycle trip across South America--through Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia and Venezuela. In the course of their travel, Ernesto and Alberto discovered the reality of a land filled with suffering, oppression, and injustice affecting its people. Understanding these issues was essential to understanding the challenges that most Latin Americans had to face at some point in their lives. Wrestling with these issues drove Ernesto and Alberto into a journey of self-discovery. What does self-discovery mean? The word self-discovery means a new way of looking at life. Ernesto and Alberto came to terms with the class distinctions existent in the Latin-American society of the day and how the downtrodden were exploited, leading them to a journey of self-discovery.

Ernesto and Alberto got a feel of the social differences during their journey across South America. In most Latin American countries, social anomalies were prevalent in many ways. But the main differences between the classes were lifestyle, customs, and working conditions. Ernesto and Alberto discovered that poverty was a day-to-day issue affecting lower class people, such as indigenous Incas, farm workers, and mine workers, all over Latin America. In contrast, Ernesto and Alberto found out that those belonging to the upper class enjoyed a much higher quality of life. In a striking example, they saw a marked difference between the lifestyles of the family of Ernesto's girl-friend Chichina and Peru's indigenous population. More was seen when Ernesto and Alberto stayed for three weeks at San Pablo, a leper colony in Peru, where hierarchy was based strictly on health and position. In this leper colony, the river played an important role separating the patients undergoing treatment from healthy people such as doctors and nuns. It was only a matter of time before they realized that the lower class people had no other option but to suffer exploitation at the hands of powerful in order to survive and protect their families.

In addition to the social differences, Ernesto and Alberto came across several other forms of exploitation affecting people at every place they stopped. They encountered hope-deprived indigenous people being displaced from their very own land by the capitalist industrialists. Agitated looking at the sorry plight of the natives and their ill-treatment at Chile's Chuquicamata copper mine, Ernesto even once confronted the American mining contractor. Traveling further, they discovered how foreign companies were taking advantage of the poor and were pushing them to the edge. In the same spirit, “The Plum Plum Pickers”, written by Raymond Barrio, has examined how the oppressors-the gringos-exploit the naive farm workers. They do not and cannot demand justice because they are afraid that they might be fired for exercising their rights. Similarly, Cesar Chavez’s essay, “The Organizer Tale”, addresses the fact of “how people who pick the roses were sick and tired of being treated badly and they were willing to ‘go the limit’”(294). However, he notes that the exploited people were organized so that they could help each other and they would sacrifice themselves for their families.

The epic motorcycle ride served as an eye-opener for Ernesto and Alberto to the injustices and inequalities rampant in Latin America, thus leading to their self-discovery. According to Kenneth Turan, L.A. times writer, “like riders everywhere, Guevara and his friend Alberto Granado were changed by their bike experience, by the eight months they spent in...South America, but not in the way they expected”. This self-discovery brought in great deal of change within themselves changing the way how they saw themselves and the world. Their first-hand experiences and encounters with people-colorful at times, but mostly bleak-from the upper classes to the downtrodden mineworkers, from indigenous people in Cuzco to leprosy patients at San Pablo, brought in a great deal of change within themselves changing the way how they saw themselves and the world. Ernesto, in his own words, puts it: “We are one single mestizo race from Mexico to the Megallan Straits.” As a result, toward the close of the movie, Ernesto leaves his birthday party and takes a night swim across the river where the doctors stayed to the other side of the river where the leprosy patients lived.

Little did they know when they started that this would be such an epoch-making trip, but at the end of it, they realized that their outlook toward the world had changed forever. This experience brought them face-to-face with the bitter truths of life and let them understand the sufferings of their brethren, hitherto unknown to them. Most importantly, they discovered a continent’s reality that would have a longlasting and irreversible impact on their lives. “I am not me anymore at least I am not the same me I was”, said Ernesto.

I wanted to improve it further, but I was afraid it would kill the spirit of your essay and wouldn't look yours any more.. I already have a feeling that I've edited too much; I hope you don't feel offended. Also, I was not sure if you're trying to provide an account of the Che's life taking references from the movie "The motorcycle diaries" or it's purely a movie review.. (By the way, it's one of the best movies I've seen in recent years..) I've currently used past tense on most occasions, but if this were purely a review, I'd word it in present..

A few more things I wanted to bring to your attention:
(1) Some words and sentences are often repeated in your passage, e.g., exploit, differences between social classes, self-discovery, capitalists. I have got rid of some, and have replaced others with words and sentences making sure the meaning isn't altered much..
(2) The names Ernesto and Granado appear too often. I've tried to reduce the occurrences, but don't think I did a clean job. After it has once appeared in a paragraph, it can be conveniently substituted with the pronouns "they" or "he" as found appropriate.

I hope you are not finding it too prescriptivistic..

Otherwise, your passage looks good to me, and with little more efforts, you should be cruising along in English.. Good luck!!

Post back if you need more assistance, and I'll be glad to help whenever I find time.. But mind you, I am not a native speaker and my writing is neither American nor British, its somewhere in between, so don't be surprised if you ever come across a non-standard American usage..

~el viajero

ps: I'll try to post what didn't sound right in the original passage and why I had to modify it sometime later today or tomorrow.. but no promisesEmotion: smile)
Hi, here's my opinion : I think you should emphasise the point that your essay is about self discovery, because reading your essay doesn't convey that the whole way through. I think that you should also add some techniques as evidence that the text is about a journey to insight and knowledge, so you can back up your points
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