College of Liberal Arts & Social Sciences Theses and Dissertations

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historical fiction, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, Alma Reed, Mexico, Chichen Itza


"Ruination" is a portion of a novel, set in Yucatán in 1923, that follows the romance of the state governor, Felipe Carrillo Puerto, and a visting journalist from the New York Times, Alma Reed, who is accompanying a delegation from the Carnegie Institute, which is bidding on a concession to excavate the Mayan ruins at Chichén Itzá. As governor, Felipe attempts to break the caste system of Yucatecan society and improve the lot of the impoverished Maya through land redistribution, education, women's suffrage, and access to birth control. His plans bring him in conflict with the wealthy plantation owners and the Catholic Church. He also pursues a new divorce law that will allow him to end his marriage and wed Alma. He and Alma are caught up in late-stage spasm of the Mexican Revolution, an uprising that threatens their lives and their future.