Susan Shelby Magoffin reveals in her diary Down the Santa Fe Trail into Mexico, the difficulties of such a journey of this magnitude on such a young girl. Susan's diary goes beyond it's contents to reveal what a blessing it is to experience another's understanding for long ago. While this book seems like a tail of the American frontier, it's actually the intelligent a
The book is deemed significant by historians as a type of who’s who of the American frontier: in all truth it seems like the story of Susan Shelby Magoffin, “an intelligent, observant, and tolerant person with a genuine inquisitive nature” (xiv) is simply an excuse to showcase the various small biographies of the various men she happened to have met on the trail. Their individual feats and destinies are told through over one hundred footnotes--all of which were not written by the principal author herself--though she is the very backbone to which all the (hi)stories are attached, like lichens unto a structure rife with even worst nuisances: a petite, awful whimsy and full-on girlie pettiness.
Susan describes the love and grief of her and her husband, however she's a tough young woman proud of her Appalachian heritage. This heritage and her faith gives her the power she needs to take off and curiously explore this new world in front of her. Surprisingly, Susan mocks herself every so often throughout the book when she jokes at herself and the “human condition.” Susan is never politically correct when it comes to dealing with other cultures, although this effects her as well. Susan's cultural curiosity lends itself to the comparison of Spanish society as being more advanced than what she was familiar with back in her old Kentucky homestead. Susan learns to speak Spanish and embraces the Spanish culture to the point of attending, Spanish speaking, Mass and writing positively about this culture.
Susan's writing reveals that she and her husband were deeply in love, and that he respected and...