‘Social realities are often imbued with an element of fantasy in the Latin American novel’
It is impossible to fully appreciate the complexity of both
Los Ríos Profundos
without taking into appreciation the social background from which they emerge.Although both Arguedas and Rulfo write of socieies experiencing significant social upheaval,the prevalent social themes are not addressed explicitly in either book but emerge through
the abstract worlds of Comala and Abancay. While Rulfo’s mosaic of discordant voices
provides a panoramic view of Mexico in the wake of the Mexican Revolution 1910-1920,
Ernesto’s dramatically dichotomised world view portrays a Peru in conflict, to
rn betweenpast and present identities, between the European and the indigenous.
t is through the individual struggles of their characters that Rulfo and Arguedas portray theattempts of two communities to regain their past. Although it would perhaps be too
simplistic to adopt Federic Jameson’s attitude that in all so called ‘third world’ literature ‘the
story of the private individual destiny is always an allegory of the embattled situation of thepublic third-
world culture and society’
it is undeniable that
Los Ríos Profundos
are profoundly metaphorical texts.The characters of
represent the community of a backward rural Mexicochoked by industrialisation and migration that remains trapped in the past; Pedro Páramohimself clings to a childhood past shared with Susana San Juan who in turn is totallyconsumed by the memory of her dead lover Florencio. If the aim of the rural peasants
during the Mexican revolution was indeed to ‘recognise Mexico’s past, assimilate it an
make it live in the present’
, Rulfo illustrates it masterfully through his characters for whomthe present is fundamentally intertwined with the past.
Like the damned of Dante’s
, the inhabitants of Comala are irrevocably tied to theirpast and a
re condemned to reliving their pain time and time again. Damania’s remark toJuan Preciado that Doña Eduviges ‘debe de andar penando todavia’
applies to all of thevillagers who cannot escape their suffering. Through the repetition of particular verbs such
Third-World Literature in the Era of Multinational Capitalism
, Duke University Press,
, No. 15, Autumn 1986 pp. 65-88, p69, http://www.jstor.org/stable/466493,accessed 12/12/10.
Octavio Paz:The Search for Mexican Identity,
The Review of Politics, Vol. 44, No. 3 (Jul., 1982), pp.370-385, p374, http://www.jstor.org/stable/1407050, accessed 15/01/2011.
Pedro Páramo y el Llano en Llamas,
Editorial Planeta, Barcelona,1978, p34.