Maria Cristina Mena and Katherine Anne Porter were two noteworthy authors in postcolonial Mexican Literature, and avid interpreters of Mexican culture. Determining who would be the more accurate interpreter between these two writers will take some reflection. I will be looking at both Mena and Porter's work to determine who is the foremost interpretive writer of Mexican culture from a postcolonial view, I will also be focusing on some of the strengths and weaknesses of each writer and a discussion of their works from this view.
To begin with, I will be discussing the life of Maria Cristina Mena who as Amy Doherty states was born in Mexico City, to "a Spanish mother and Yucatan father" and had an upper class background that allowed her to later immigrate to New York City at the age of fourteen, before the Mexican Revolution. During Mena's time in New York, she began writing of the oppressions that Mexico had endured during the Revolution to well-known magazine publishers, some of which include the "American Magazine" and "The Century Magazine." One of Mena's first works as a young writer was "The Gold Vanity Set," which was published in 1913, in the Century Magazine, a distinguished publication whose audience was mainly Anglo-Americans members of the middle to upper class society. .
During this time, the Mexican Revolution was in full play, readers were desperately seeking to be acquainted with the subject matter of Mexico and it's people's native way of life. Furthermore, Doherty affirms how "most writers would write their stories with photographs of Mexico, focusing on the stereotypes of the inept lower-class Mexican peon." Doherty also goes on by saying that while Mena was writing for The Century Magazine, she "had to entertain a privileged, conservative Anglo audience with a passion for travel and the exotic." It is during these instances for example in "The Gold Vanity Set" that we begin to realize the stereotypical turn out as Mena begins to give the description of the stereotypical drunken wife beater Manuelo, who also hardly even works.