The Emotional Life of Boys in Eighteenth-Century Mexico City
Boys navigated their way around colonial Mexico City in ways related to their status. Unlike girls, boys were expected to be out and about in the city; their comparative freedom, however, was constrained by the emotional control they were expected to develop. This chapter explores the way that boys went through childhood in colonial Mexico City and the emotions that were associated with their experiences. A few early writers in the Hispanic tradition published manuals to guide the formation of a model boy, one who would insert himself seamlessly into the codes of conduct of the day. It is hard to know how these young boys felt about the demands of emotional control that were imposed upon them. In extreme cases, middle-class parents denounced these misfits as vagos or vagrants. The interiority and control that was paramount for ideal boys to learn was also inculcated through their religious education.