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Creator: Keogh, Xavier
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
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Publication Date: 2013


Subjects / Keywords: Juan Rulfo
Latin American Literature
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Abstract: This thesis consists of four main components. Primarily, it sets out to provide a translation for Juan Rulfo's two short stories "El dia del derrumbe" and "La herencia de Matilde Arcangel," both found in his collection of short stories, El llano en llamas. Secondly, it supplies a brief portrait of Rulfo, while incorporating the historical and political events that transpired in Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century. Thirdly, it attempts to identify and study what can be called "Rulfo's world," while also exploring the themes and techniques present in El llano en llamas. And lastly, it provides a brief analysis on the two short stories that I translated in this thesis.
Statement of Responsibility: by Xavier Keogh
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2013
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Portugal, Jose Alberto

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Material Information

Physical Description: Book
Language: English
Creator: Keogh, Xavier
Publisher: New College of Florida
Place of Publication: Sarasota, Fla.
Creation Date: 2013
Publication Date: 2013


Subjects / Keywords: Juan Rulfo
Latin American Literature
Genre: bibliography   ( marcgt )
theses   ( marcgt )
government publication (state, provincial, terriorial, dependent)   ( marcgt )
born-digital   ( sobekcm )
Electronic Thesis or Dissertation


Abstract: This thesis consists of four main components. Primarily, it sets out to provide a translation for Juan Rulfo's two short stories "El dia del derrumbe" and "La herencia de Matilde Arcangel," both found in his collection of short stories, El llano en llamas. Secondly, it supplies a brief portrait of Rulfo, while incorporating the historical and political events that transpired in Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century. Thirdly, it attempts to identify and study what can be called "Rulfo's world," while also exploring the themes and techniques present in El llano en llamas. And lastly, it provides a brief analysis on the two short stories that I translated in this thesis.
Statement of Responsibility: by Xavier Keogh
Thesis: Thesis (B.A.) -- New College of Florida, 2013
Bibliography: Includes bibliographical references.
Source of Description: This bibliographic record is available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication. The New College of Florida Libraries, as creator of this bibliographic record, has waived all rights to it worldwide under copyright law, including all related and neighboring rights, to the extent allowed by law.
Local: Faculty Sponsor: Portugal, Jose Alberto

Record Information

Source Institution: New College of Florida
Holding Location: New College of Florida
Rights Management: Applicable rights reserved.
Classification: local - S.T. 2013 K3
System ID: NCFE004795:00001

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A TRANSLATION OF JUAN RULFO'S "EL DA DEL DERRUMBE" AND "LA HERENCIA DE MATILDE ARCNGEL" BY XAVIER F. KEOGH A Thesis Submitted to the Division of Humanities New College of Florida In partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree Bache lor of Arts Under the sponsorship of Professor JosŽ Alberto Portugal Sarasota, Florida May, 2013


ii Acknowledgements Thank you Professor Portugal for all of your dedication and help throughout this process. I appreciate so much your patience and belief i n me. In addition, I thank you Professor Labrador Rodr’guez and Professor Iv‡n Ram’rez for your help and support. T hank you Marianita, my best friend, for being the best, most loving person in the world; you're an inspiration. Thank you Michael for all of the great times we've spent here. T hank you Ximena, I couldn't have made it without your help! Finally, I want to thank all of my family and friends who've been there for me throughout my time here in New College.


iii TABLE OF CONTENTS Abstrac t .....iv Introduction 1 Chapter One: Juan Rulfo and Mexico 3 Chapter Two: An analysis and interpretation of El llano en llamas 21 Chapter Three: Analysis of "El d’ a del derrumbe" and "La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel" .. 46 An Introduction to the Translations .65 A Translation of "El d’ a del derrumbe ...69 A Translation of La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel .. 81 Con clusion 92 Bibliography .94


iv A TRANSLATION OF JUAN RULFO'S "EL DA DEL DERRUMBE" AND "LA HERENCIA DE MATILDE ARCNGEL" Xavier F. Keogh New College of Florida, 2013 ABSTRACT This the sis consists of four main components Primarily, it sets out to provide a translation for Juan Rulfo's two short stories "El d’a del derrumbe" and "La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel," both found in his collection of short stories, El llano en llamas Secondl y, it supplies a brief portrait of Rulfo, while incorporating the historical and political events that transpired in Mexico during the first half of the twentieth century. Thirdly, it attempts to identify and study what can be called "Rulfo's world," while also exploring the themes and techniques present in El llano en llamas And lastly, it provides a brief analysis on the two short stories that I translated in this thesis. Dr. JosŽ Alberto Portugal Division of Humanities


1 Introduction The purpose of this thesis is to provide an English translation of Juan Rulfo's two short stories El d’a del derrumbe and La herencia de Matilde Arcangel. Additionally, I seek to supplement these translations with a brief analysis of El llano en llamas, and also, i n particular, the two short stories that are being translated. Chapter one attempts to fulfill two aims, both of which allow a greater understanding for Rulfo's work. T he first aim concerns understanding the life of Juan Rulfo In this part I seek to deve lop and explain the important events and periods in his life, while also attempting to understand his personality The second aim of this chapter is to provide a short historical and political summary of Rulfo's Mexico which is set in the first half of t he twentieth century In this part, I briefly explain the causes and effects of the Mexican Revolution. I also try to emphasize the relevance of La guerra de los Cristeros (1926 1929) a localized conflict between the church and the revolutionary state in R ulfo's life. The second chapter dedicates itself to supplying an analysis of several themes and techniques present in Rulfo's El llano en llamas The chapter s tarts by providing the reader with a sense of what can be ca lled "Rulfo's world," a literary rea lm found in El llano en llamas that is plagued by violence, both in social and natural manifestations. T he chapter then moves into exposing the dominant themes found in the text, in particular, the theme s of revenge found in the short story "El hombre" and natural devastation found in the short stories of Nos


2 han dado la tierra" and "Es que somos muy pobres I conclude the chapter by examining the literary technique of point of view and how it is carried out in the short story of "El hombre." Having iden tified several elements concerning El llano en llamas I narrow my investigation in the third chapter, and I focus on the two stories of El d’a del derrumbe and La herencia de Matilde Arcangel. The purpose of this chapter is to provide a n analytical in troduction to these two short stories, which will be translated in the following chapter For El d’a del derrumbe, I concentrate on the technique that causes the effect of orality, and I also focus on Rulfo's use of irony in the story And for La Heren c ia de Matilde Arcangel," I seek to explore the oral quality of the prose, while also examining the themes of desire and possession. Finally, the fourth chapter consists of the two English translations of El d’a del derrumbe and La h erencia de Matilde A rcangel. The chapter also contains a translator's introduction found at the beginning of the chapter that details the criteria I've created for developing the translations.


3 Chapter 1: Juan Rulfo and Mexico 1 Recognized as one of the most important w riters in the history of Latin American literature, Juan Rulfo perfected the art of combining the universal the problems tied to the human con dition with the provincial the e lemen ts and features that define the peasant world of post revolutionary Mexico through the means of a unique and complex prose His style united a sparing economy of words with an oral like quality in his fiction. What's astonishing about Rulfo is that he reached the pinnacle of success with the publication of only two texts; the fir st, El llano en llamas a collection of short stories and the other, Pedro Paramo a short novel. This quirk is in stark contrast with other writers of Mexico and Latin America at this time. Nevertheless, this scarcity of written word has not impeded the ac clamation towards his work. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, another Latin American writer of colossal importance, said that the total of Rulfo's work "no son m‡s de 300 paginas, pero son casi tantas y creo que tan perdurables com o las que conocemos de S—focles (Garc’a M‡rquez 3). Despite having been so famous not only in Mexico, but also abroad Rulfo rarely appeared to have enj oyed the fruits of his success: unlike other !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! The following material has been obtained from the following sources: La persona de Juan Rulfo Alatorre, Antonio; Rostros Biogr‡ ficos de Juan Rulfo Bonilla, Roberto; Into the Mainstream; Conversations with Latin American Writers Harss, Luis; Mexico in Crisis Hellman, Judith Adler; The Mexican Novel Comes of Age Langford, Walter M.; Juan Rulfo Leal, Luis; Perfil de Juan Rulfo L—pez, Mena Sergio; Rulfo El llano en llamas, Rowe, William; Juan Rulfo Summers, Joseph and Rulfo, Juan. I will only make a direct citation when it concerns a direct quote. For a full bibliography see the Bibliography section.


4 intellectuals, it was rare to see him travel abroad or attend conferences; he made very li ttle use of his reputation, a feature that could have benefited him economically or artistically. This peculiar disposition can perhaps be attributed to his character : his public and perhaps private persona was that of a despondent man. Luis Leal provides us with an intimate portrait of the man: On meeting Rulfo lean, of average height, light complexion, and a heavy smoker one gets the impression of an anguished man. His lined face reveals years of physical and spiritual suffering" (Leal 14). Besides havin g an austere countenance, Rulfo was known for being a reserved and timid man; he was always careful about revealing his private world and rarely conducted interviews. His obsession with his privacy can perhaps shed light on his unwillingness to publish his fiction, a product of his expression which dealt with sensitive and personal subject matters. However, his lack of publishing was also due to the difficulty he encountered in act of completing a piece of work. Carlos Juan Nepomuceno Perez Vizcaino the n ame given to Rulfo at baptism was born in Sayula, a town in the state of Jalisco, on May 16, 1917. Rulfo's paternal grandparents had been landowners and had a comfortable existence despite the poverty that surrounded them in the region Rulfo's father, Ju an Nepomuceno, was a lso a landowner; his mother descended from a prosperous Jalisco family. These two married in 1914 and had two children before Rulfo's birth. However, Rulfo would never be able to reap the benefits of a comfortable and privileged life, g iven the tumultuous political and social circumstances that were taking place at the time of his birth: The Mexican


5 Revolution, which devoured the nation with violence and chaos, did away with Rulfo's family fortune. Although Rulfo's birth certificate st ates that he was born in Sayula, the famed writer barely lived in this region of Jalisco. A few days after the birth of Rulfo, his parents, in search of financial security for their family, decided to move to San Gabriel, a small town close to Sayula, ther eby remaining in the state of Jalisco. It's here where Rulfo lived the first ten year s of his life, in this town in the southern part of the state where the weather is hot and dry, and the earth is known for its arid and infertile nature. Rulfo reflects u pon the area as a poor and desolate region : "There were never any big land holdings in that area. There were always small properties. The country people have always been very poor. The only time they put on their shoes is when they go into town..." (Harss 251) This atmosphere of poverty and desolat ion in San Gabriel compounded with a violent social climate, which was partly due to the precarious social and economic conditions that ignited and followed the Mexican Revolution. Because of this hostile milieu of violence, many lives would be claimed including Rulfo's father. At the very young age of six, Rulfo lost his father, whom was assassinated ; the details of the murder were not ever disclosed by Rulfo and still remain nebulous Despite our lack of knowle dge concerning the murder of Rulfo's father, t his episode, which saw the intersecting of the personal drama with the social one, defined Rulfo's childhood: "Yo tuve una infancia muy dura, muy dif’cil. Una familia que se desintegr— muy f‡cilmente en un lug ar que fue totalmente destruido. Desde mi padre y mi madre, inclusive todos los hermanos de mi padre fueron asesinados. Entonces


6 viv’ en una zona de devastaci—n. No s—lo de devastaci—n human a sino de devastaci—n geogr‡fica." (Sommers y Rulfo 105) As we s ee here and also is evident in Rulfo's fiction, the overbearing and hostile aspect of nature worked in tandem with the social devastation and violence that he witnessed during the first decade of his life. And it's here, in San Gabriel, where Rulfo observ es and discovers the elements that in the future will influence the themes and forms of his narrative : "I grew up in San Gabriel, and there the people told me many stories: about g hosts, about wars, about crimes (Leal 4 ). Furthermore, it's in San Gabriel where Rulfo learns about literature. Ironically, i t's through the means of the unstable and destructive situation of la guerra de los Cristeros a violent conflict between the church and the revolutionary state that Rulfo encounters the portal to the world of fiction Because of the government's resolution to strip the church of its properties, the town's priest is forced to leave his book collection in the hands of Rulfo's grandmother, in order to save it from federal troops: "Tendr’a yo como 8 a–os cuando el cura de San Gabriel dej— su biblioteca a guardar en la casa de mi abuela, antes de que expropiaran el curato y lo convirtieran en cuartel" (Rowe 21). Despite the losses that violence and war inflicts upon individuals, it also, on the other hand, acts as an entity that gives. For Rulfo, his gains were in the works of literary classics, such as Dumas, Hamsun, and Salgari. However, shortly after the death of Cheno (the nickname given to his father ), Rulfo's mother also passed away, turning Rulfo into an orp han at the age of ten. His grandmother, his only family member, couldn't take care of him.


7 Therefore, in 1928, Rulfo was sent off to an orphanage boarding school in Guadalajara, the capital of Jalisco. The institution, The Luis Silva Orphanage is where Ru lfo would finish primary school. It was apparently difficult for the young Rulfo to get accustomed to this urban background of Guadalajara, on e that is very different from the peasant world of San Gabriel. Luis Harss describes the Jalisco capital at that t ime as a "a stiff necked town with aristocratic pretensions which was actually, as he [Rulfo] says, little more than an outpost of provincial snobbery living off the frayed remnants of its colonial pride" (Harss 253). What is known, which is very little, a bout Rulfo's orphanage period is that he suffered a stinging and alienating solitude which he signals as the possible motivation towards writing : "El hecho de que escribiera se deb’a precisamente a eso: parece que quer’a desahogarme por medio de la soleda d en que hab’a vivido, no en la ciudad de MŽxico, pero desde hace muchos a–os, desde que estuve en el orfanatorio" (Rowe p.19) After finishing his primary studies in The Luis Silva Orphanage in 1932, Rulfo enrolled in the University of Guadalajara, follow ing a concentration in accounting. However, this academic attempt presented itself as a failure, given the student strike that obstructed the resuming of classes for a year and a half. As was always the case in Rulfo's early life, external forces out of hi s control determined his path. In search of continuing his studies, Rulfo, with the aid of his uncle David, moved to Mexico City at the end of 1933. This change of life and setting characterized by the oppressive bustle of the capital furthered in Rulfo th e isolating lon eliness that would remain the same forever: "Me sent’ m‡s solo que


8 nadie cuando lleguŽ a la ciudad de MŽxico y nadie hablaba conmigo, y desde entonces la soledad no me ha abandonado" (Alatorre 166). In Mexico City, Rulfo began to take law co urses and in his free time he assisted literature classes in the university. However, Rulfo's academic endeavors didn't last long. Shortly after his arrival to Mexico City, Rulfo had to dedicate himself to working full time, given his financial struggles, which were very pressing at the time. Thanks to his uncle's help, Rulfo obtained a bureaucrat ic post in the Secretaria de Gobernacion more specifically in the Department of Immigration. Rulfo would go on to spend the next ten years of his life in the lowe r rungs of the bureaucratic pyramid (Alatorre 167 ). The irony that lays here is directly related to the fact that Rulfo's writing was made possible amidst the failure of his professional plans. The frustrations of his middle class aspirations coupled with his insignificance within the belly of the state were to lay the seeds for the creation of his fiction. During this period in the Department of Immigration, Rulfo dedicated himself in a serious manner to the craft of writing (although it is important to p oint out that Rulfo never conceived of himself as a professional writer, even after his fiction gained notice and success). His first novel, El hijo del desaliento written in 1940 and based on events of his life, was a novel that according to L—pez Mena, "no ten’a nada de parecido con los textos que lo consagraron" (L—pez Mena 41). Rulfo decided to di spose of it and never published it. What remains of it is a fragment piece named Un pedazo de noche which is available in the edition of his complete' works Toda la obra (1996).


9 Despite the fact that he considered his first novel was a personal failure, Rulfo, during his time as a lowly bureaucrat, encountered several figures of support that would help him improve his art and also facilitate the publishing a nd distributing process of his work Thanks to EfrŽn Hern‡ndez, a work colleague and a fellow short fiction writer, who was already known in the literary worlds of Mexico, Rulfo managed to bolster his knowledge on the craft of writing. It was also thanks t o Marco Antonio Mill‡n, editor of the literary magazine AmŽrica that Rulfo was able to publish his first short s tories in the aforementioned publication. During the years spanning 1945 to 1951, eight short stories by Rulfo seven of which are included in El llano en llamas were published in this Mexico City magazine. Rulfo's stories weren't only published in the capital, but also found a readership in Guadalajara. Through the aid of friends in the Jalisco capital, Rulfo was able to publish two of his short stories in the literary magazine Pan The year of 1947 presented itself as the end of Rulfo's time working in the Department of Immigration. Although he didn't cease to focus on his fiction, Rulfo took up a traveling sales job in the Goodrich Company sel ling tires Due to the nature of the trade, Rulfo journeyed through all of the corners of the country, traversing very urban centers and also passing by very remote, peasant towns. Through this experience, which can be seen as that of an "accidental ethnog rapher," Rulfo was able to encounter many individuals specifically peasants who were at the margins of Mexican society who would recount to him their stories. In an interview with Joseph Sommers, Rulfo describes how t hese


10 encounters heavily influenced the content and particularly the oral quality of his fiction, "Entonces el sistema aplicado finalmente, primero en los cuentos, despuŽs en la novela, fue utilizar el lenguaje del pueblo" (Sommers y Rulfo 104 ). Through this perspective, Rulfo comes across as a n almost documentarian, whose interest in the speech and storytelling of rural folks fueled the need to reproduce it. T hese trips across the country were not the only contributing material that enriched the colloquial register found in El llano en llamas and Pedro Paramo ; more accurately they intensified and cemented a style that had originated in his experiences and memories of his time liv in g in San Gabriel. In this world the folk and peasant world of Jalisco is where Rulfo's narrative finds its inspir ation. Sergio L—pez Mena describes Rulfo's returns to Jalisco (in experience and memory), his movements towards the people, in search of inspiration: [Rulfo] decidi— acudir al pueblo, a los mecanismos de las narraciones populares. Platicaba largamente co n los arrieros de su tierra. TambiŽn recordaba los cuentos que las abuelas y las nanas, las mam‡s, narran a los ni–os. Rulfo se iba a su tierra para encontrar el mecanismo, el ritmo mental de la narrativa o ral del pueblo jalisciense." (L— pez Mena 41) Thus, we see how Rulfo's native region especially the small towns at the margins of Mexican society would end up providing the backdrop for his stories, thereby influencing the thematic substance and the character's speech for his stories and novel. In 1952, t hrough the means of the Centro Mexicano de Escritores Rulfo received a fellowship that allowed him to dedicate himsel f to writing and to completing his cycle of short stories. Assisted by this economic support, Rulfo completed the following year, in 1953, El llano en llamas a collection of fifteen


11 short stories and published the book through El F ondo de Cultura Econ—mica The text, which took eight years to complete from start to finish, was an instant success; its reception by the literary world o f Mexico City was very positive. The academic Sergio Fernandez, in 1954, was one of the first to provide a critique of the text. To him, Rulfo was "El œnico que presentaba al indio por dentro, mostrando su insospechada interioridad" (L—pez Mena 59), and he declar ed that Rulfo formulated "una nueva manera de hacer poes’a en prosa, poes’a empapada de tristeza, solitaria, adusta" (L—pez Mena 59). Sergio Fernandez's critique reveals an intriguing point concerning the initial response to Rulfo's literature. He commen ts on Rulfo being the only one able to genuinely portray "el indio;" thus, what can be seen here is an example of an early Rulfo critic ascribing Rulfo's literature to that of indigenisimo one of the dominant and traditional ways of thinking about social literature at that time. Because of what Rulfo did was never seen before in Mexico, there existed a tendency to label and associate his work with previous traditions, despite it being (as it is also recognized) an expression of a rather new way of writing Given the success of El llano en llamas the Centro Mexicano de Escritores offered to extend Rulfo's fellowship for two additional years. Thus, Rulfo was able to purely concentrate on producing what was to be his most celebrated piece of fiction, Pe dro Paramo This novel was published in 1955 and like El llano en llamas it received an abundance of praise from Mexican literary circles. Due to his new and recent success, Rulfo was able to find more liberty to dedicate himself to projects that catered to his interests. Rulfo then left his


12 position at the Goodrich Company and took a peculiar post as an advisor and aerial photographer for the Comisi—n del Papaloapan This commission was formed in order to implement an irrigation program near Veracruz. It was a pet project of President Miguel Alem‡n, who aspired to create a sort of Mexican TVA in the region. On a river with a seasonal overflow that swept away local villages, the commission built a power center. It plotted highways. But, because of misman agement and lack of funds, the ambitious project failed. (Harss 253) This venture and career shift demonstrated Rulfo's instinct for involvement in social causes, a sentiment that he would carry for the rest of his life; this is evidenced through his emplo yment with the Instituto Nacional Indigenista Searching for a shift of scenery Mexico City lacked peace and tranquility Rulfo returned to live in Guadalajara, a change that did not engender the peace and harmony the Mexican writer so desperately sought. D uring this period, Rulfo attempted to write another novel, El gallo de oro which was never to be published. Instead, the novel was converted into a screenplay by Carlos Fuentes and Gabriel Garcia Marquez; the film was released in 1964, yet Rulfo disapprov ed of the film's execution. Throughout this phase, Rulfo also took comfort in other projects. One of these was photography, which attracted Rulfo's artistic instinct and took up a considerable amount of his free time Although a few photographs were publi shed in magazines, this artistic activity remained more as a side project and not as a profession. Another field that occupied Rulfo's time was the history of Mexico, in particular, the history of Jalisco. In the following passage Rulfo describes a very


13 i dealistic narrative project that he sought to implement with the Banco Industrial de Jalisco : The thing is, in Guadalajarathe Industrial Bank of Jaliscopublishes a history book every year as a gift to its clients. So I had an idea: to try to incorporate the whole history of Jalisco from the days of the early chronicles, and bring it out regularly, once a year, as before, in book form. To make up for the poison people were being fed on television, they'd be given a book. (Leal 10) This particularly unique plan indicated Rulfo's predilection for historic events and his willingness to move deeply into the past; it also reflected his desire to engage in solitary and erudite enterprises. The idea never came to fruition; yet, he continued to delve into the anna ls of Mexican history for the rest of his life. Although while living in Guadalajara Rulfo enjoyed an artistic expansion in terms of expression but not in publication he decided to return to Mexico City, taking up a post with the Instituto Nacional Indig enista whose responsibility was "protecting and integrating primitive Indian communities bypassed by progress, which has pushed them to the fringes of Mexican life, where they become fodder for political agitators" (Harss 254). Although Rulfo's acclaim a nd fame would grow with the passing of years within the cultural and academic context translations of his El llano en llamas and Pedro Paramo mushroomed in the sixties and seventies the esteemed Mexican writer chose to remain with the Instituto Nacional Indigenista for the re st of his working life. This decision can be attributed to his self perception as a writer: "I am not a professional writerI write when I feel like it" (Leal 12). Nevertheless, this disposition of not assuming to be a professional in his field did not hinder him


14 from travelling to Europe and the United States to give conferences on his work and to concede a few interviews. In 1970, the acclamation for Rulfo's work reached its pinnacle when he was presented with the prestigious award of the Premio Nacional de Letras With the President of Mexico in attendance, Rulfo gave a speech that conveyed his disheartened character and a glimpse of his self perception: No recuerdo por ahora quiŽn dijo que el hombre era una pura nada. No algo, no cualquier cosa, sino una pura nada. Y yo me siento as’ en este instante; quiz‡ porque conociendo lo flaco de mis limitaciones, jam‡s elaborŽ un esp’ritu de confianza; jam‡s cre’ en el respeto propio. ( Quoted in L—pez Mena 34) Through this remark, much can be extracted and learned about Rulfo's persona. Although he was a champion of the indigenous poor, and a marvelous writer that brought to life the struggles of the Mexican peasant, Rulfo wa s nevertheless a diminished man, exhausted with the struggles of li ving. The following description of Luis Harss reflects the portrait of the tortured Mexican writer: Installed at his desk in his dark suit, kneading his nervous hands, looking perpetually worried and disoriented, he is like a harried village priest at the end of a long day, sighing in the solitude of his confessional. (Harss 255). To the surprise of the many people who took interest in his work, Juan Rulfo passed away in 1986, at the age of 67, without ever having published a follow up to Pedro Paramo Des pite this tragedy for the literary world, his legacy projects him as one of the most important and influential writers of the twentieth century.


15 Rulfo's Mexico 2 In the collection of stories found in El llano en llamas there is a profusion of elements soc ial, economic, and political that are tied to the condition of the Mexican peasant world Although Rulfo is not necessarily a writer that primarily focuses on sociopolitical problems his work contains and develops much of what can be classified as the con dition of the agrarian Mexican world, one which is characterized for its marginalization and state of poverty (which perhaps this may explain his early perception as an indigenista writer) This condition manifests itself in the personalities and the dynam ics of setting found in El llano en llamas These characters are at constant odds with the elements of the external world, whether it is nature, the government or the condition of war. The relationship between Rulfo's characters and these external forces reflect the state of Mexican culture and the effects of historical events that shaped the Mexican social and economic landscape. Therefore, in order to have a greater understanding of Rulfo's El llano en llamas it's necessary to have an idea of the conte xt of his work. That is, the history of Mexico, specifically the end of the nineteenth century and the first half of the twentieth century. The relevant history for understanding Rulfo's work begins with the period known as el P orfiriato the thirty four y ear dictatorship of Porfirio Diaz. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! # Like in the previous section, this following material has been obtained from select sources; in this case they are three: Mexico Quirk, Robert E.; Mexico in Crisis Hellman, Judith Adler; Rulfo El llano en llamas, Rowe, William. Only in instances of direct quotes will I provide a citation.


16 Although many historians ascribe this epoch as one that oversaw a substantial amount of growth and modernization, the poverty, and social and racial inequalities that had plagued Mexico for the past three centuries were s till palpable during el P orfiriato (Quirk 93). Diaz's main concern was to provide stability and peace to a nation that had been beleaguered by decades of division and violence. His aim was to quickly modernize the country by implementing an economic polic y that attracted foreign investment; wealthy landowners and businessmen of the country also presented themselves as beneficiaries of the Porfiriato era. Yet, the group of individuals that profited from the Diaz was miniscule and select leaving the majorit y of Mexicans to fend for themselves in conditions o f ruinous poverty. Malcontent with the current system, and wanting better living conditions and the redistribution of lands, this marginalized, rural peasantry took a leading role in the ensuing violent p eriod known as The Mexican Revolution Following the longest period of peace and stability in Mexico's history lays the traumatic blood bath of the Revolution. From 1910 to 1917, Mexico endured a violent upheaval that would cause great destruction and tr emendous disorganization, tearing apart all of the country's political and economic development. The explosion of the Revolution was sparked by Francisco Madero's call to rebellion, following a rigged election by Diaz in 1910. The alienated middle class an d the marginalized masses, led by charismatic leaders, took the opportunity to express their discontent by means of armed revolt. Diaz, deserted by his outmanned Federal troops, quickly resigned in May of 1911. What


17 followed for the next six years was the assassination of two presidents and ensuing bloodshed. The factor in determining the war's lengthy duration was associated with the fact that the rebelling forces were splintered into various groups, each one demanding their own agenda. Perhaps the most f amous of these forces was the peasantry led by Emiliano Zapata. Representing an agrarian, southern Mexico, Zapata's platform was simple and concise: the dissolution of large estates and the restoration of lands to the peasantry. Yet, these ideals were not suitable for some of the leaders of the insurrectionary movements; the most notable of these is Venustiano Carranza. Known as the most conservative of the rebellious leaders, Carranza was an hacendado who lead a movement that "hated and feared the groups that fought for radical change just as much as they had resented the oppression of the Diaz regime" (Hellman 7). In the final years of the Revolution, the fate of the nation would be left up to the battling of the two strongest revolutionary factions: the constitucionalisistas composed of Carranza's camp and the convencionalistas made up by the unification of the Zapatistas and the Villistas whom were led by Francisco "Pancho" Villa The Revolution concluded in 1917 with Carranza's faction attaining vic tory, and with him gaining the position of president. When all was said and done, the Revolution left the nation in shambles; its currency was in a state of


18 ruins, and the railways and communication systems destroyed. It would take years before Mexico coul d recuperate a sense of political, social, and economic stability. The post Revolutionary scene in Mexico, although not as turbulent and violent as the actual period of the Revolution, faced problems similar to those of the post independence years. Many political factions were striving for control and the country was very much divided. Yet, Carranza and his successors had learned from previous history and sought to ensure that power was consolidated and thereby averting another period of massive bloodshed and instability. This policy, that sought a concentrated and centralist political apparatus, was executed by appointing governors that were allied to t he party's stance, and removing those who presented themselves as potential opponents. Thus, although it took decades to attain, military and social stability ensued. Nevertheless, the agrarian question, despite being one of the main points of contention throughout the Revolution, remained unresolved. It wouldn't be until the Cardenas regime in the late thi rties that a pro peasant and pro labor union policy was implemented. With the appointment of Cardenas as President of the nation, the Mexican peasantry finally attained a considerable amount of land redistribution, with one out every three peasants being a beneficiary of the regime's policy. The final historical event that is of importance in the context of Rulfo's El llano en llamas is the War of the Cristeros (1926 1929). Occurring during Rulfo's childhood, the violent episode greatly influenced Rulfo's conception of the


19 Mexican world. The rebellion broke out when the Calles regime decided to enact anti clerical reforms that were stipulated in the Constitution of 1917. These laws expulsed "the foreign clergy and nuns" and put "an end to religious educatio n, and forced the registration of priests in charge of the churches (which were considered state properties)" (Quirk 100). The Church responded in an all out strike, hoping that the lack of clergy services would propel the masses to rebel. What ensued was a violent struggle between Federal troops and the rebellious forces fighting in the name of Christ the King. The conflict was finally settled by 1929 with the Church allowing for the government to register the priests, while the government "consented to th e teaching of religious classes within the churches" (Quirk 101). The war of the Cristeros, despite being less discussed and more localized than other periods in 20 th century Mexican history, played an influential role in Rulfo's young life. The war's ch aotic and violent expression ravaged the countryside, creating an atmosphere of constant threat and anxiety. This climate of fear and violence would end up claiming the life of his father. Precisely because it marked the start of his unstable life, the War of the Cristeros would provide much of the backdrop to his fiction. After the Revolution, a series of intellectual figures, such as JosŽ Vasconcelos and Samuel Ramos, attempted to penetrate into the identity of the Mexican and his condition. Of these, pe rhaps the most acclaimed in his effort is the poet and essayist Octavio Paz. His famous work, El laberinto de la soledad delves into the construction of models and archetypes that sprung up throughout


20 Mexico's history. In an analysis that intertwines many academic disciplines, El laberinto de la soledad claims that the modern Mexican finds himself in a condition of solitude, alienated from himself and his social surroundings. The Mexican figure that Paz sculpts is one that is characterized by a personality that oscillates between extreme self enclosure and violent eruptions of expression. In the text, Paz also propounds that the Mexican nation is stuck in a state of adolescence, incapable of proceeding with its much needed development. Published in a period marked by social and political crisis in Mexico, El laberinto de la soledad also presents a disillusioned perspective on the Revolution, criticizing its effectiveness and its results. Thus, through an understanding of Paz's contribution towards the questi on of Mexican identity, the reader of El llano en llamas can attain a better understanding of the psychology and setting of Rulfo's characters.


21 Chapter Two: An analysis and interpretation of El llano en llamas In this chapter, I plan to delineate a nd develop the literary complexity found within Rulfo's El llano en llamas This collection of short stories, published in 1953, contains sixteen short stories 3 ; in total, the stories amount to a little over a hundred and fifty pages. However, despite its compact nature, El llano en llamas displays a wide range of thematic, and stylistic elements that require a meticulous approach to properly understand the collection as a whole. Although each story represents a different reading experience, the collection embodies an organic sense and unity that allows the reader to identify many aspects and traits that crossover from story to story. First, I will provide the reader with an introduction and interpretation of what encompasses what could be called the Rulfo world Then, I will focus on a number of stories in order to map and describe the themes of violence and nature through the stories of El hombre and Nos han dado la tierra and Es que somos muy pobres respectively; a nd then I will offer a specific ana lysis on Rulfo's literary device of point of view in El hombre The stories that I have selected to analyze and interpret were chosen because I believe they embody a specific quality or distinction that best represents Rulfo's use of thematic elemen ts associated to the subjects of viole nce and a hostile nature; and his characteristic use of point of view. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $ The text has had seve ral editions; most importantly, the second edition included for the first time the two short stories of "El d’a del derrumbe" and "La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel."


22 The Rulfo's world The world of Rulfo can be characterized as being composed of a number of elements and features that create a unique and somber mood and setting. JosŽ Carlos Gonz‡lez Boixo, has commented on this world which encompasses both El llano en llamas and Pedro P‡ramo : La tem‡tica de la obra de Rulfo a travŽs de sus diferentes aspectos refleja un mismo mundo; un mundo angustiado, de des esperanza, de incomunicaci—n. Rulfo es uno de esos autores quegira una y otra vez sobre los mismos ejes tem‡ticos, de forma que una vez terminada de leer su obra se tiene la clara sensaci—n de haber penetrado un mundo œnico, especifico y cerrado en si mis mo (Boixo 36) As Boixo has pointed out, Rulfo's work features a realm that is plagued by desperation and anguish Due to the varying, hostile dynamics and elements found in this world which we shall further explore within the thematic aspects section Rulf o's characters struggle and, at many times, find themselves incapable of modif ying reality, thus producing a sense of the impossibility for liberation from oppressive features, such as a harsh nature or the vicious cycle of violence Certain character ten dencies resulting from this system are manifested as violent forms of confronting reality Whether it's in a social, individual or natural form, violence is ever present in El llano en llamas ; all of the stories contain illustrations of its destructive for ce. Perhaps this atmosphere of violence can be attributed to the nature of the individuals who inhabit the rugged plains of the Jalisco region. But critic William Rowe points his criticism in the opposite direction, suggesting (regarding Rulfo's world) tha t there is an inherent violence


23 in the social system that reflects itself upon the individual as a resignation to the use and experience of violence: if existence itself is violent you do not choose personally whether to be violent or not in fact there i s a sense in which the victim and the murderer stand for the whole community (Rowe 31). Yet, outside of the violent traits, Rulfo's characters do have other consistent and traceable qualities, character tendencies that are recurring in all of the stories The critic Manuel Dur‡n states: "Los personajes de Rulfo, inconscientes, descuidados, torpes, abrumados, apenas lo gran definirse o explicarse a s’ mismos lo que les est‡ ocurriendo. Los personajes se detienen, vuelven a empezar, vuelven a repetir su fras e inicial" (Dur‡n 98). D ur‡n here sheds some light on certain psychological attributes of these individuals, and the way they are expressed in the patterns of their speech. Nevertheless, I perceive this critique as too severe and a bit flat as it does not allow space for the agency and astuteness of some of Rulfo's characters. As we shall see in the third chapter, the character narrators in two specific stories cannot be characterized as na•ve or unconscious; on the contrary, they seem to be hyper conscious of their speech and their narrative, and always having an ulterior motive, which the reader may have difficulties identifying. As we shall see further on in the story of "El d’a del derrumbe," Rulfo's character narrators can display an astute ability in h iding certain information by either "playing dumb" or by using irony.


24 The final observation I will offer on the rulfian world involves the complex crossing of regionalist features with what are understood as universal themes. When reading any of the work s by Rulfo, one of the most salient aspects that a reader foreign to his world will come across is a sense of the "local" (or the "localized") in terms of time and setting. Although this particular reader would not necessarily be able to identify the text' s actual and precise time and place, this realm gives a strong sense of a marginalized campesino world one that, as can be determined, mainly corresponds to revolutionary and post revolutionary Jalisco. Having spent the first ten years of his life (1917 1 927) in a rustic and peasant region of Jalisco, and having returned constantly to it in experience and memory, Rulfo produced a body of work that is immensely influen ced by the culture of this state's plains. Within El llano en llamas we encounter poor Me xican peasants who share a strong resemblance in parlance, customs and religious devotion to the individuals from the provincial Jalisco of the first half of the twentieth century The central presence and influence of post Revolutionary Jalisco in Rulfo's El llano en llamas results in what can be seen as the elaboration of what feels as a particular and remote culture and location However, despite the distinct particularity of this world, the themes and subject matters that encompass the collection are hi ghly universal; that is they represent and embody shared condition s of humans in societies (urban and rural) all across the world. Thus, the result is a radical contrast between a regional, localized culture (and its markers) and the universality found within certain subject matters and themes, for example, the cycles of violence and revenge.


25 One of the ways Rulfo accomplishes this fusion between the localized and the universal is through literature: that is, by having his idiosyncratic characters reena ct conflicts and themes recognizable in the pages Classical and European literatures. Perhaps the most pertinent example presents itself in his depiction of turbulent and even violent father son relationships, a theme that is ubiquitous in countless works of literature throughout the ages. This is how Rulfo's work expresses the idea of a shared human condition, despite the cultural and regional particularities; and of the particularity of experience, despite the common elements. As Boixo points out, notwit hstanding the cultural foreignness a reader might experience while reading Rulfo, he or she will be capable of grasping and identifying with the universal themes and subject matters found in El llano en llamas : El lector que sea ajeno a ese mundo real mex icano, se sienta inmerso en un mundo distinto de su civilizaci—n y cultura; penetra en un mundo que le resulta lejano y que no obstante le embarga el alma en sentimientos de soledad, tristezaEl costumbrismo anterior queda superado por la introspecci—n de los personajes ante una realidad esquiva, un angustioso vivir, que Rulfo capta y ofrece, y que el lector llega a sentir como algo suyo por lo universal de la problem‡tica presentada (Boixo 38) As Boixo has alluded, the universal themes and subject matters in Rulfo's world are usually associated with the bleaker and more desperate aspects of human existence. Of the many universal elements found in Rulfo, perhaps the two most striking and develop ed are the subject matters of violence and nature two of the ele ments that help create the burning "plains" which produce various themes, as we shall see But before going there, I'd like to make an observation on the


26 textual structure and dynamic that heightens and complements the essence of Rulfo's world: I'd like to shed some light on the textual experience of El llano en llamas The world constructed in Rulfo's fiction was crafted with an artistic design in mind, operating in a specific manner As the reader delves into El llano en llamas he or she starts to reco gnize and experience a unique and identifiable literary world with unified traits and recurring features that engender a level of consistency that is created through complex means. This experience reveals the nature of the actual text: the construction of the textual relationship between the parts the stories to configure a whole. El llano en llamas constitutes what Forrest Ingram calls a short story cycle. The basic tenants of this "construction" are : 1) the collection's stories are interlinked in a certai n way that the process and experience of reading one story is modified when reading the other stories; 2) the stories are both self sufficient and inter dependent; and 3) a common and molded vision of a specific world is experienced by the reader by readin g the totally of the collection of the stories ( Quoted in Mora 121 ). Thus, through this all encompassing, yet subtle dynamic, the reader is able to perceive and experience a highly particular world that adds to his literary and existential experience. Viol ence As we have seen, Rulfo's literature grapples with a particular, social world. Therefore, Rulfo's work may be interpreted as a dialogue between literature and reality: t he rural and peasant Mexico that is depicted within the pages of El llano


27 en llamas is charged with an air of violence and destruction both in the personal and social context. But his work may also reflect a dialogue between literature and the Mexican imagination and intellectual world. The atmosphere of violence and destructive alienati on that is present in Rulfo's prose corresponds with the sculpting and descriptions regarding the "national Mexican character, offered by the Mexican intellectuals of the first half of the 20 th century. This obsessive inquiry regarding the Mexican's ident ity had been the product of the Revolution and its aftermath. Desperate for personal and collective revelation, the intellectuals that wrote on the subject sought to analyze and especially explain the nature and unfolding of national history, by means of a n interpretation that placed the faceless Mexican individual at the fore. Although Rulfo's fiction does not exercise an active pursuit in identifying and exploring "Mexican identity", his stories and their characters, and thematic elements, are in correspo ndence with the findings of writers, such as Octavio Paz, who wrote a classic on Mexican identity, El laberinto de la soledad In this work, one of the personas Paz identifies and describes is the Mexican, solitary and ensimismado figure who is closed off from the world and from his self. As Paz states, "El mexicano siempre est‡ lejos, lejos del mundo y de los dem‡s. Lejos tambiŽn, de s’ mismo" (Paz 32). Paz further postulates that the Mexican figure, in a state of alienating enclosure, breaks from his con dition only by expressing his concealed nature, which manifests through violent and explosive episodes. Within Paz's conception, these intense events can either take


28 the form of individual eruptions or social ones, like that of the Mexican Revolution. Paz posits that this violent and traumatic national episode reflects the genuine nature of the Mexican identity as an "estallido del instinto, ansia de comunicaci—n, revelaci—n de nuestro ser, el movimiento revolucionario fue bœsqueda y hallazgo de nuestra fi liaci—n" (Paz 167). Believing that neither the colonial era, nor the Reform provided the appropriate framework for Mexican society, Paz posits that the Revolution through it's gruesome expression fulfills the Mexican's desire for communication and self re velation. In this regard, the relevance of Paz's ideas to Rulfo's fiction is quite central: Paz's focus on the Revolution and its aftermath of collapse and violence reflects the timeframe and thematic elements that encompass El llano en llamas Through th is interpretation we can observe a strong correlation with the way violence manifests itself individually or collectively in El llano en llamas These short stories, which can be seen as an indirect dialogue on Mexican reality between Rulfo and his intelle ctual contemporaries, display frequent occurrences of both individual and wide, social violence. However, for the purposes of this study, we shall solely focus on a specific case of individual violence, and thereby observe how within this sphere the theme of violence manifests itself in different forms. Casual Violence


29 The characters in the stories are immersed in violence; either they're victims of violence, perpetrators, or both. Violence is also regularly carried out in a frequent and casual manner (Row e 31). Carlos Fuentes ascribes this violent disposition to the reality of life in Mexico: "MŽxico es un pa’s del instante. El ma–ana es totalmente improbable, peligroso. Te pueden matar en una cantina, a la vuelta de una esquina, porque miraste feo, porque comiste un taco" (Boixo quoting Fuentes 56). Reflecting upon Fuentes' statement Boixo adds that murder is even sometimes carried out arbitrarily, where man often kills in an apparently gratuitous manner, as if the world were a tremendous jungle, in which one must fight if one plans to survive (Boixo 57). Fuentes' depiction of a violent Mexican reality is expressed in Rulfo's fiction where the presence of murder feels something as part of everyday life and is even casual, for it presents itself consisten tly throughout the collection of short stories. Revenge Perhaps of all the stories found in El llano en llamas El hombre presents itself as having the most pronounced features of violence including its extreme result of murder. This particular characte ristic is due to the amount of attention that is placed upon the theme of revenge throughout the story I shall focus on the following three forms in which the theme is present : violent revenge represented as a vicious cycle, that allows for murder to be c arried out in an trance like and indiscriminate method; the obsessive cogitation by both characters on the violent events ; and the presence of macabre images that reflect the wish to brutally slaughter the other.


30 El hombre is charged with an atmosphere of morbid hate and vengeance. The story's conflict originates through sequence of crimes that involve two men seeking revenge against each other. One of the these men ( the one that is being pursued ), in order to avenge the killing of his brother (which occ urred in a machete duel) goes in the middle of the night to slay his brother's killer in his home. However, becaus e of the darkness in the room, and in order to make sure he accomplishes his goal, t he man kill s all of the other man's family; the brutal ir ony being that the very same man he was seeking was absent The text's story picks up from the point where the killer is being pursued by the other man, the one who had his family slaughter. The narrative is carried out in a continuous back and forth of th e two men's' voices, engendering for the reader some confusion about identities in the experience of the text. In the story, the reader is witness to a specific act of violent revenge in which JosŽ Alcanc’a, the pursued man, massacre s an innocent family. This particular indiscriminate violence on the part of this man can be observed in his sense perceptions and his language while in the act. The conte nt of his language reveals the disposition to kill, specifically as he is about to slaught er the victims wi th his machete, el hombre says to them "Discœlpenme" and "ustedes me han de perdonar" (38). The utterance of these words reflects a psychology that views the execution of revenge as something that is unavoidable if he is to achieve his objective and that is carried out with a language that, paradoxically in its politeness, reflects the killer's brutal logic: he has to kill all of the innocent family members if he wants to reach and kill his intended man.


31 The aspect that reveals the blinding force of reve nge within the psychology of perpetrator is found in the lack of sensorial stimulati on experienced by the killer while engaging in the act of murder. As he is getting ready to act out revenge on the victims, the killer accidentally chops off his toe, yet, due to his preparation and focus he is unaware of what has just occurred: "Cuando sent’ que me hab’a cortado un dedo, la gente lo vio y yo no, hasta despuŽs" (40). Ro we sheds light on this event: Alcancia's awareness is delayed, partial and fragmented, k eeping at bay the awful coherence of what he has done" (Rowe 32). By having his character lack the ability to perceive an acute and severe injury within the moment of its occurrence, Rulfo reveals the kind of thought process occurring in a vengeful mind; i n its essence violence sucks you in with a magnetic force, and once you've started, it's impossible (or very hard) to stop. The theme of revenge also manifests itself in the obsessive mental quasi dialogue between the pursuer and the pursued The focus of this obsession revolves around the violent massacre, brought about by the vengeful coward violence of the pursued In the story, both men constantly revisit mentally the massacre of the family and recreate the events of the scene through inner monologues As Rowe observes, the men revisit the episode in a recurring fashion: "Alcanc’a returns to it five times, and his pursuer twice" (Rowe 32). In on e of these instances, the reader can witness the enveloping obsession and regret that this brutal act of rev enge engenders in the consciousness of the pursued : No deb’ matarlos a todosNo val’a la pena echarme ese tercio tan pesado en mi espalda. Los muertos pesan m‡s que los vivos; lo aplastan a uno.


32 Deb’a de haberlos tentaleado de uno por uno hasta dar con Žl (Rulfo 42). The heavy use of repetition of the words no deb’ and deb’a in relation to the specifics of the murder found throughout the pursued man's monologue exposes a sense of remorse that accentuates the state of obsession by the pursued man The fac t that all of the portions of monologue attributed to the pursued man involve or are connected to the massacre reveals how powerful the grip of a violent event can be. Thus, we can see how Rulfo utilizes the motif of obsession regarding the events of the m assacre to highlight the repetitive nature that violence takes in the ps ychology of a vengeful individual. In "El hombre," t he theme of revenge is additionally represented by the pursuer and the pursued man's repetition of certain images that connote bru tal violence. The first method in how these images are conveyed is through a general, yet subtle, description. Rulfo constructs these images in a very concealed and oblique manner, yet when pieced together they engender a grotesque horror. The following fr agment, stemming from the pursued man's monologue, highlights the graphic and time consuming nature of his deed "Cuesta trabajo matar. El cuero es correoso. Se defiende aunque se haga a la resignaci—n. Y el machete estaba mellado" (Rulfo 39). This image p resents the murder process as laborious and tedious, depicting the homicide of the victims as a lengthy and extenuating event, a consequence perhaps due to the inadequate condition of the instrument. The second way in which violent images are expressed is by means of the monologue of the pursuer ; they are fueled by his own obsession with revenge. This obsession translates into a consciousness that is suffused with fantasies of


33 mutilating and annihilating the other : se arrodillara y me pedir‡ perd—n. Y yo l e dejarŽ ir un balazo en la nuca" (Rulfo 38). At the end of story, we are presented b y means of a different character narrator, a shepherd with an image of the physical manifestation of the pursuer's revenge: la sangre coagulada que le sal’a por la boca y la nuca repleta de agujeros como si lo hubieran taladrado" (Rulfo 47). Although this image does not emanate from the consciousness of the pursuer, it stands in harmony with the violent language utilized in the pursuer's monologue; this can be evidenced fr om the word nuca Furthermore, the image of the actual murder is a very fitting result, when compared to the fan tasy content of his obsession. Thus, we see how revenge as a systematic form of violence can serve as a means to communicate with the other, and even with a distant other like the shepherd that accounts for the result that is only "accidentally" involved. As we have seen, the subject matter of violence in El llano en llamas plays a central role in the stories' content. In particular, we have obse rved how revenge one of its main thematic representations can create a vicious cycle that perpetuates social violence. Now we shall turn to the other devastating representation of violence in El llano en llamas natural violence. A Hostile Nature In El ll ano en llamas we encounter the problems of a region defined by a hostile environment, natural violence, and a lack of ( natural ) resources. Given these circumstances, the peasant of the plains has to confront the brutal and oppressive conditions of life in el llano: alienation, poverty and impotence.


34 Presenting the theme of a hostile nature as a quasi protagonist which is predominantly found in "Nos han dado la tierra and Es que somos muy pobres Rulfo evokes it as a blind and domineering force in the liv es of the llano people; this presence of a hostile nature further amplifies their conditio n of resignation and desolation, which is associated with the way death and violence are accepted. In this section, I will focus on the two brutal manifestations of n ature an antagonistic, arid land and a violent flood found respectively in "Nos han dado la tierra and Es que somos muy pobres ." The Barren Plain In the short story Nos han dado la tierra the force of nature presented through the motifs of the arid pl ain and the sun takes on a role that is almost protagonist like. The voice of the narrator character, a peasant whose name is not revealed, describes, in a resigned tone, the reason why he is crossing the plain. The man with his three companions, are in th e act of traversing the hostile plain, burdened by a ruthless heat. The group of men is returning from petitioning the government to keep fertile land they currently occupy ; yet the government, represented by an unconcerned bureaucrat, has negated the ir re quest. The land they have been given is the same infertile and infernal plain that the group is in the process of passing through. The plain is described by the narrator character as "un camino sin orillas" (Rulfo 14). The nature of this endless land caus es the narrator character to further remark "vuelvo hacia todos lados y miro el llano" (Rulfo 16). The Mexican critic,


35 Alberto Ruy S‡nchez, provides an insightful perspective of the relationship between the peasant and el llano which evokes Kafka's perple xing maze of bureaucracy featured in The Trial : "Mientras el hombre kafkiano es habitante de los laberintos burocr‡ticos, el hombre rulfiano lo es del llano. El llano abierto y seco que, como el desierto, es equivalente a un laberinto sin muros donde el ho mbre igualmente se pierde" (S‡nchez 15 ). Sanch ez's analogy, calling to mind the bureaucratic maze found Kafka's novel, strikes an appropriate chord that allows us to integrate, in the figure of the maze, the plain and the government. In addition to the lan d being depicted as barren and deserted, we also have a similar image in play with the way in which government is represented in the story. The useless land can be seen as an extension or a reflection of the ineffective government, thereby it being perceiv ed as sterile. By giving the unfertile plain to these peasants, the act of land redistribution by the government takes on an oppressive quality. In an image that is highly evocative of the Mexican government Rulfo perceived, we witness in the story the co ld muteness of the bureaucrat to the peasants' pleas: EspŽrenos usted, se–or delegado. Nosotros no hemos dicho nada contra el Centro. Todo es contra el LlanoNo se puede contra lo que no se puede. Eso es lo que hemos dichoEspŽrenos usted para explicarle Mire, vamos a comenzar por donde ’bamos Pero Žl no nos quiso o’r. (18) Although the government's direct presence in the story is limited, the effects of its policies are palpable, via the asphyxiating atmosphere of the plain; thus, the social and natur al are connected.


36 This piece of land posse sses a destructive essence; the plain annihilates any form of expression or communication between the members of the group; this dynamic is witnessed in the following example: No decimos lo que pensamos. Hace ya tiempo que se nos acabaron las ganas de hablar. Se nos acabaron con el calor (Rulfo 15). Aside from thwarting man's voice, the plain manifests itself as an abyss that engenders through the radiation of its infernal heat halluc ination amongst its inhabit ants. T his hallucinatory aspect reveals itself in the internal monologue of the character narrator: "Yo pienso: Melit—n no tiene la cabeza en su lugar. Ha de ser el calor el que lo hace hablar as’. El calor que le ha traspasado el sombrero y le ha calenta do la cabeza" (Rulfo 18). In addition to its natural features, the plain is described as a setting where one can risk losing their life if they carry a firearm: "Por ac‡ resuelta peligroso andar armado. Lo matan a uno sin avisarle, viŽndolo a toda hora co n la 30' amarrada a las correas" (Rulf o 16) The post Revolutionary plain featured the crossing of armies, bandits, and cristeros Therefore, this plain can be seen as the stage where government troops hunted down revolutionaries and bandits. Thus, the pe asants that have inherited this plain have surrendered their weapons and with them their ability to a violent claim on the land and/or have been stripped of an important and common force of defense, and rendered even more vulnerable. The irony behind th e story's title is directly related to the issue of the plain and its social and natural devastation. These peasants that inhabit the plain have not gained anything, instead they have lost; this group, composing one of the largest groups in Mexico, was the loser of the Revolution. Not only did they not


37 gain anything, but they also experienced their environs turn into the stage that featured vast social violence. Thus, the devastation of the Revolution gives them a devastated, burning land. Again, the social and the natural are connected. The Flood In Es que somos muy pobres nature reveals a differ ent form of destructiveness : not draught, but the excess of water. In comparison to Nos han dado la tierra the powerful force of nature presented in Es que somos muy pobres plays a more active and overbearing role. In a na•ve, yet aware tone, the child narrator recounts to an unknown and undefined audience the violent flood that has violently destabilized his family. The town has been devastated and its peop le have taken on the disposition of resignation in the face of the catastrophe produced by the river's flood. As is the case in other Rulfo stories, where nature overpowers and oppresses, nature in Es que somos muy pobres also blindly exercises its wrath over a community of people, causing economic loss and psychological trauma. In addition to its catastrophic power, the motif of water in Es que somos muy pobres possesses a sinister semblance; this is achieved by Rulfo by ascribing to it a putrid scen t: "Se ol’a, como se huele una quemaz—n, el olor a podrido del agua revuelta" (Rulfo 33). In the likeness of Nos han dado la tierra the power of nature to destroy verbal communication reveals itself in Es que somos muy pobres As the waters from the r iver rise, the townspeople are rendered to take on the role of observers, incapable of combating the disaster. The


38 nature of the flood has even robbed them of the ability to connect and to communicate their emotions and thoughts: "quer’amos o’r bien lo que dec’a la gente, pues abajo al r’o, hay un gran ruidazal y solo se ven las bocas de muchos que se abren y se cierran y como que quieren decir algo; pero no se oye nada" (34). This scene represents nature's exercise of overbearing power: the violent and fur ious noise of the river substitutes and as a result, silences the voices of the townspeople; the only remaining avenue for these peasants seems to be the state of resignation apathy (this condition saliently manifests itself in the tone and description pr ovided by the child narrator). Pol Povic Karic, author of the essay El calor y el agua en El Llano en llamas supports the idea that the lack of expression in this case, the voice connects itself with the state of resignation: El enmudecimiento es sin—n imo de resignaci—n, los hombres quedan desprovistos de la herramienta indispensable para organizar su defensa" (64). Muteness a highly passive state thus, aptly characterizes the response of these peasants. Besides creating a ruinous state for the colle ctive of the town, nature embodied by the motif of the flood also engenders ruin for the family and the individual, in particular, for the narrator's sister. Before the catastrophic flood, the narrator's father procures a calf for his daughter, Tacha, hopi ng that this animal presents itself as a ticket out of poverty. Through the voice of the young narrator, we see how possession of the calf becomes a symbol that decides between the alternatives of marriage or prostitution : "Porque mi pap‡ con muchos trabaj os hab’a conseguido a la Serpentina [the calf]con el fin de que ella tuviera un


39 capitalito y no se fuera a ir de piruja como lo hicieron mis otras dos hermana las m‡s grandes" (35). However, the calf embodying a redemptive symbol is taken away by the wate rs of the flood, thereby stripping Tacha away from her only salvation against the social fall, prostitution. This particular unfolding of events is exemplary of Rulfo's world : a blind and oppressive nature that destroys the only hope intentioned to combat disgrace and misery. Having explored several central themes to El llano en llamas I will now like to approach Rulfo's use of literary techniques and explore how he creates a solidarity between the two to enhance the quality of his short fiction. Litera ry Devices: Point of View in "El hombre" Perhaps one of the main points that critics have turned their attention to is Rulfo's techniques of point of view. H is general aim is usually to distort and manipulate the illusory simplicity of the text The resul t is usually a sense of disorientation for the reader; it also forces him or her to reassess the story in a way that calls for a more reflexive and active approach. In El llano en llamas the typical narrative mode takes the form of a narrator character ( what could be typically described as "first person" narrative), in most cases without the intervention of a framing narrative. In some cases we also find what is called a "third person narrative": the story told through the voice and perspective of an exte rnal non character narrator that may "host" the voice and perspective of one or a number of characters. The fact that w ithin the stories, the first person mode narrative through the voice and perspective of a character


40 narrator is by far the most co mmon, f avors and is reinforced by the development of what can be described as the oral quality of the narrative voice which is the choice of an idiomatic texture that is very regional and colloquial. On the other hand, although the third person mode narrativ e framed by the voice and perspective of a non character narrator is seldo m used in Rulfo's short stories, this narrative mode presents itself as the most intricate; it's executed in a very subtle and fleeting manner, and produces the most complex manipula tions of perspective. Furthermore, in some stories we also find the elaborate interplay and the blurry frontiers between the two narrative modalities Of all the stories found in El llano en llamas perhaps the most intricate narrative mode is present in El hombre Through the use of multiple voices and perspectives framed by an external narrator and the blurry transitions between these, Rulfo masterfully fabricates an unstable narrative that usually creates a level of confusion or disorientation in th e reader in his or her first reading of the story. The composition of the story, in regards to its narrative mode is divided into two parts. The first part encompasses a multiplicity of voices and perspectives that are framed by an external narrator with the utilization different renderings of monologue s while the latter part solely contains a single speaker, a narrator character. Throughout the first part, the points of view are constantly shifting amongst the three perspectives: an external narrator the monologues of the pursuer, and that of the pursued For the majority of the story's first part, an alternating dynamic of interior and exterior monologues by the two men (pursuer


41 and pursued) is constructed, creating the effect as if it were a dialogue Through Rulfo's use of monologues, the reader is immediately placed within the psychology of the characters revealing the obsessive nature of their mental proces ses Rulfo further amplifies the narrative's complexity by molding certain parts of the purs uer's internal monologue with the air of a speech addressed to another person. F or example we "hear" this, and we identify the voice as being his, as he thematizes his position in the persecution : "Te cansar‡s primero que yo. LlegarŽ adonde quieres llegar antes que tœ estŽs all’Me sŽ de memoria tus intenciones, quiŽn eres y de donde eres y adonde vas" (Rulfo 40). This form of address, where the pronouns and verbs of the second person singular abound, is one of the many instances where the pursuer speaks a s if mentally addressing and threatening the pursued; the use of the future tense, is predicting the future outcomes. In this part of the story, voice and perspective change frequently, sometimes in an abrupt and unanticipated manner. What we are going to see is a good example of the rich complexity of voices and perspectives. [The enumeration is mine]. [1] Pasaron m‡s parvadas de chachalacas, graznando con gritos que ensordec’an. [2] "CaminarŽ m‡s abajo. Aqu’ el se hace un enredijo y puede devolverm e a donde no quiero regresar." [3] "Nadie te har‡ da–o nunca, hijo. Estoy aqu’ para protegerte. Por eso nac’ antes que tœ y mis huesos se endurecieron antes que los tuyos". [4] O’a su voz, su propia voz, saliendo despacio de su boca. La sent’ a sonar como una cosa falsa y sin sentido. [5] Por quŽ habr’a dicho aquello? Ahora su hijo se estar’a burlando de Žl. O tal vez no. "Tal vez estŽ lleno de rencor conmigo por haberlo dejado solo en nuestra œltima hora". (41)


42 In the first segment th e narrator 's voice is describing a situation in a way that feels based in one of the character's point of view. In effect, t he use of m‡s and ensordec’an correlates directly to the perception of the pursued man. In the second segment we are now confro nted with the direct discourse of the pursued man, ( which is differentiated from the pursuer through the use of italics ) The third fragment also offers us direct discourse, but in this case we hear the voice of the pursuer. Y et, as with the previous case, we ar e unsure of whether it is said out loud, or if it is internal. In the fourth segment through the narrator's voice, we find out that the pursuer actually spoke the previous segment out loud, as it presents perceptual information ("o’a," "sent’a") tha t is tied to him The fifth segment is also the narrator 's voice communicating, in this case, the pursuers thought in a classical example of free indirect discourse, that ends with a direct discourse of the pursuer. This passage highlight s the blurring of perspectives, given that we are provided with perceptual and cognitive information that is attributed to the characters in some cases directly though the representation of their inner/outer speech, but in others through the narrator's discourse The sign ificance of this technique lies in its complementing nature with the thematic element of revenge. The systematic and vicious cycle of revenge allows for the blurring of the lines of perspective, thereby engendering a dense and complex reading experience. On the other hand, t he second part of the story presents the reader with a complete different perspective and voice, one that brings another layer of complexity to the narrative scheme. As we reach the end of the first part the text


43 makes an abrupt transi tion to the second part, where we have the voice and perspective of a new character (that does not coincide with any of the previous part) instead of the external narrator of the previous part. This character 's perspective is quite intriguing, for it enco mpasses different aspects that require clo ser observation from the reader. To begin with, it is a radical case of free direct speech, where a character's discourse takes over, without any mediation or framing by a narrator. As we have seen, this narrative modality is quite common in the stories of El llano en llamas The voice we are presented with is that of a poor shepherd, who finds himself accused of killing a man (the pursued of the first part) or of being an accomplice of the killer. It is, then, t hr ough the shepherd's testimony (point of view) that we find out the fate of the pursued man A t a certain point the shepherd says: "Y ahora se ha muerto. Yo cre’ que hab’a puesto a secar sus trapos entre las piedras del r’o; pero era Žl, enterito, el que es taba all’ boca abajo, con la cara metida en el agua" (46). Thus, we see how Rulfo masterfully provides the reader with the conclusion of the first part's conflict, but giving the information through an oblique angle: the desperate attempt by a seemingly de sperate and innocent shepherd to defend himself from the accusation of having taken part in the killing of a man. As we can see, Rulfo's jump and redirection is the cutting of the story: a break and relocation to a different setting and time, from a differ ent perspective. Thus, what results is the appearance of a seemingly separate, second story, but which is in fact the conclusion of the first story from the shepherd's perspective.


44 T hrough the addition of a new perspective, Rulfo not onl y gives rise to a m ulti layered narrative, but he also obliquely presents another piece of drama, in which the reader is a witness to the speech of an innocent bystander that is in trouble with the law Therefore, we can see how influential technique can be in its interactio n with plot and themes. By presenting us the narrative of the shepherd, Rulfo exhibits a dysfunctional community, where violence sucks in even the bystanders, and the origin of violence becomes confused, and the law, instead of stopping the cycle of reveng e, seems to collaborate in the blurring of responsibilities. On the other hand, despite the reader being thrown into the unframed narrative in media s res she also discovers details about the situation in which the shepherd finds himself. We are given inf ormation regarding the nature of his predicament, his relation to the text's first part of the story: "De modo que ora que vengo a decirle lo que sŽ, yo salgo encubridor?" (46) ; and the profession of his interlocutor through his own voice: "CrŽame usted, se–or licenciado, que de haber sabido quiŽn era aquel hombre no me hubiera faltado el modo de hacerlo perdedizo" (46). Rulfo's technical insertion of such devices as dice usted" and the "usted, se–or licenciado obviates the need to have an external third person voice narrate the presence and nature of the interlocutor; instead, the character indirectly reveals the information. Furthermore, Rulfo's use of the perspective technique in "El hombre" seems to produce a sense of irresolution. By directly allowi ng the second part of the story to remain open and unfinished, the purpose is perceivable: the lack of a


45 cathartic release or a resolution is caused by the vicious cycle of violence that seems to perpetuate itself, sucking in new and innocent bystanders.


46 Chapter 3: Analysis of "El d’a del derrumbe" and "La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel" This chapter is a brief study of the two translated stories found in this thesis, El d’a del derrumbe and La herencia de Matilde Arcangel. Although the se stories differ in their thematic nature, as we shall see, they do share the underlying oral quality of Rulfo's prose; that is, they serve as exemplary pieces in terms of the idiomatic texture that reflects a "colloquial" and "regional" language As we s hall see further on, the oral effect is created through various means, differing slightly in the two stories. And as we have seen previously, the two stories conform to Rulfo's manner of having techniques interact and correspond with thematic elements, whi ch give rise to distinct literary effects. Thus, in order to provide a clearer understanding of the translations, I will set out to explore the stylistic elements in both stories, while also providing insight on their respective thematic components and nar rative techniques. El d’a del derrumbe "El d’ a del derrumbe was not included in the original publication of El llano en llamas (1953), but has been part of the collection since 1970. The reason for this posterior inclusion is due to the fact that the story itself was not published until August 1955, where it first appeared in the magazine Mexico en la cultura Notwithstanding its current position as part of the collection, El d’a del derrumbe is still perceived to this day, amongst many critics, as s econdary in importance, in comparison to the stories found in the original publication. The late incorporation


47 to the collection, coupled with the fact that the story is quite eccentric in i ts satirical nature and themes, may explain why it has received li ttle attention by critics. The story's eccentricity lies not in its tone or themes in themselves, but in Rulfo's fusing of the two; that is, he combines his iron laden critique of the government (like the one in "Nos han dado la tierra) with a satirical t one (like the one found in "Anacleto Morones") that results in a distinctive atmosphere of the carnavalesque and the farcical, not found in any other Rulfo story. "El d’a del derrumbe" is also quite connected to Mexican society and history; the tone and na ture of the story reflects Rulfo's conception of Mexican political and social reality; in particular, the government's ruinous response to natural disasters. As we shall see in the story, Rulfo masterfully mixes the natural and the political in a metaphori cal manner. The story starts off with the unframed speech of the main character narrator whose name is unknown to the reader throughout the story and Melit—n, his friend and assistant in the telling of the story. In front of an audience of unknown "gentl emen," the narrator begins the story, assisted by Melit—n, attemptin g to pin down the exact date and place of an earthquake that occurred a year ago. After establishing when it occurred and where the natural disaster "grabbed him the narrator embarks on recounting the govern or's visit to the people of his town after the disaster Instead of providing relief and supplies to the victims, the governor and his entourage are given a banquet by the town. Although they are happy and mesmerized by his presence, t he townspeople have


48 to pay an exorbitant amount of money to feed him and his people The banquet eventually evolves into a drunken fest: the pomegranate punch flows and the band plays away their music. At the time of the speeches, a violent brawl interrupt s the speech by the governor, and the party devolves into a chaotic, gun shooting scene, that results in the killing of at least one individual. The commotion is eventual ly resolved and the party continues. The story closes with the narrator concluding th at the banquet actually took place on the 21 st of September, because it was the same day in which he missed the birth of his son. Perhaps one of the first salient aspects the reader perceives in this story is the complete absence of an external narrator, something that, as we have seen, is common in El llano en llamas Entering without an external frame, the reader is immediately confronted with the personalities of the narrator and his assistant friend, about whom we know very little The character narrat or recounts the majority of the story and functions as the guide in the unfolding of the narrative. The lack of information we have of the character narrator is mostly due to the nature of the communicative situation: the fact that he is an immersed narrat or, and the story he tells does not call for much information about him As for Melit—n, we know a bit more about him he is an ex municipal president only because of the narrator's references to him. However, he too is a nebulous figure Yet, despite th e scarcity of explicit details on both of these characters, we can deduce certain amounts of information. One of the primary ways we can do this is through the language of the two of them, through which we can fill in the story's empty spaces. In the case of the narrator, we are able to extrapolate that


49 although he is very astute, he is probably uneducated. A g limpses of this can be seen in the incorrect usage of the word desfalcado" while describing the exorbitant sum required to feed the governor and his people : "Y eso que nom‡s estuvieron un d’a y en cuanto se les hizo de noche se fueron, si no, quiŽn sabe hasta quŽ alturas hubiŽramos salido desfalcados" (137). Further on, while we explore Rulfo's use of irony, we will also notice other traits of this n arrator. As for Melit—n, h is primary role throughout the narrative is to confirm or correct the remarks and facts of unknow n narrator, who presents Melit—n as having an excellent memory. As we have seen, o ne of Rulfo's most observable techniques is to cre ate an oral effect through his prose. This orality can be seen as the simulation or recreation of a colloquial register stemming from certain structural features of prose Therefore, although the actual text is not a transcription of an oral account, it cr eates the illusion through the utilization of certain features and devices of a spontaneous speech act, unfolding in a concrete time space. (Portugal 460) In El d’a del derrumbe, Rulfo constructs the illusion of orality through the use of several compone nts. First he creates a communicative situation that reflects the presence of an actual audience. Then he has his two main characters utilize a specific diction that can be described as "colloquial" and "regional." Furthermore, he implements the device o f repetition in the language of the two characters, which evokes and emphasizes the oral quality of the narrative. As was stated previously, the story creates a con versational effect by


50 having the two characters work together to tell a story An addition al level of oral effect is introduced with the act of storytelling by the two characters and their audience ; this evokes an image of an oral culture, where individuals are frequently recounting tales. This can be verified in Melit—n's response to the narra tor's request that he repeat the catrincito's speech: Me acuerdo muy bien; pero ya lo he repetido tantas veces que hasta resulta enfadoso" (138). The final layer is the intended audience. While it can be quite tricky for the reader to realize that he is n ot the intended "audience" a mistake committed even by academic critics there are certain clues that point us in the direction of an actual audience within the story. The first one is the start of the story: "Esto pas— en septiembre (136). Like many of Ru lfo's stories, the reader is thrown into the middle of a situation, where (regarding this specific story) the use of the pronoun "esto" reflects that there had already been some talk of this matter before the reader's entrance. The second device that convi nces us that the two narrators are recounting the tale to a specific audience within the story is employed when the unknown narrator remarks, in response to Melit—n's refusal to repeat the catrincito's speech: Bueno, no es necesario. S—lo que estos se–ore s se pierden de algo bueno. Ya les dir‡s mejor lo que dijo el gobernador (139). The presence of "estos se–ores" indicates the existence of an internal audience within the actual story. The narrator and his partner's diction exhibit a localized, colloqui al lang uage, which contrasts with the traditional" and "accepted" forms of Spanish used in literature. In terms of the lexical landscape, the use of regional words is


51 noticeable, such as chacamotas Additional linguistic means by which Rulfo emphasizes th e oral effect is through informal words ( retedificil and buenisano ), and written words that evoke the actual pronunciation of a particular word ( chorriŽ ). Finally, certain expressions that are unique to the region or to a specific demographic of the countr y a re used as well: "Eso que ni quŽ (137) and "se las tr a ’a" (138). The final element that I would like discuss, in relation to the oral effect, is the use of repetition in the unknown narrator's speech. This device, when found within a character's spee ch can be utilized to mimic oral discourse, where it is common and frequent to find instances of repetition. We find this tendency in the speech of t he unknown narrator, who restates certain phrases or ideas throughout the story. In attempt to sell the ma dness of the party to his audience, the narrator reiterates the phrase: Aquello estaba de haberse visto (139, 142). Repetition can also be related to the story's communicative situation, found in the narrator's interrogative remarks directed at Melti—n: "O no es as’, Melit—n?" (137), "No es verdad Melit—n?" (138) and Y all’ tamb’en hubo aplusos, verdad, Melit—n ?" (143). This effect, in turn, creates the sense of an evolving speech act and its typical contact function. The device in this context also es tablishes authority upon Melit—n and deems him as the reliable narrator. In "El d’a del derrumbe," as we have seen with the stories of "El hombre," literary devices interact with one another in a way that enhances and refines them individually. This is th e case with the story's use of irony. Through the narrative's


52 oral effect, we are able to identify multiple layers of irony found within the text. Before expounding upon its utilization within the story, I'd like to first set up a working definition of thi s device. The Real Academia Espa–ola defines irony as the following: 1.Burla fina y disimulada; 2. Tono burl—n con que se dice; 3. Figura ret—rica que consiste en dar a entender lo contrar’o de lo que se dice." As we shall see, the story features all thre e forms of irony. Also, w ithin the story, we can observe the use of irony from different levels; that is, we find it present in Rulfo's molding of the text 's content and language, and within the actual narrator's speech. The device of irony comes into pla y immediat ely with the story's title, which after reading the story can suggest a double meaning. Although the starting point of the narrative seems to entertain earthquake as the focal point the reader finds out quickly that the story's focus is actually the governor's visit to the towns people and that the narrator was probably talking before the text begins about his visit from the start, with the mentioning of the earthquake serving as a mere tangent for the characters Thus, a possible conclusion for the reader is that, although an earthquake did take place, the title also refers to the day in w hich the governor arrives (the "derrumbe" not only being a natural disaster). The possible irony in the title is not actualized until the reader understands the nature of the story: instead of being a visit to alleviate and support the townspeople, the governor and his people actually take advantage of the situation to have a party thrown for them. Normally, the government's role in these types of situations is t o represent a mitigating and supportive symbol ; yet, they do the complete opposite,


53 taking away and benefiting from the few resources the town has left The result is that the townspeople are out of 4,000 pesos ("desfalcados") and on top of that they have to deal with the situation without any aid or support from the government. Nevertheless, the townspeople are not without blame, for they participate in the festivity and play along with the whole act, perhaps with the hopes of receiving something in retur n for throwing a party for the governor and his people. But also, the way the townspeople justified it makes us think of the need or impulse toward the fiesta, as Melit—n is reported to have said during the party: que se chorriŽ el ponche, una v isita de Ž stas no se desmerece (139). The use of irony is also operated within the level of the story's character narrator. Although this character might give off the impression of being slightly "ignorant" and very forgetful, he is actually quite astute and effe ctive in the employment of language He is entirely aware of the governor's freeloading and his language reflects the situation's reality: La cosa es que aquello, en lugar de ser una visita a los dolientes y a los que hab’an perdido sus casas, se convirti — en una borrachera de la buenas" (139). The speech here is emphasized by means of a lively and colloquial expression. His remarks regarding the governor are acute instances of irony at it's best in the story: Todos ustedes saben que nom‡s con que se pres ente el gobernador, con tal de que la gente lo mire, todo se queda arregladoEn viniendo Žl, todo se arregla, y la gente, aunque se le haya ca’do la casa encima, queda muy contento con haberlo conocido. (137) W e can observe how he mocks the governor's visi t, by humorously stating that a mere visit of a governor can indeed mollify and even cancel out the trauma of


54 having experienced one's house collapsing upon them. Another illustration of the narrator's use of irony presents itself with his recounting of the governor's improper manners: Y Žl tan tranquilo, tan serio, limpi‡ndose las manos en los calcetines para no ensuciar la servilleta que solo le sirvi— para espolvorearse de vez en vez los bigotes" (138). This depiction of the governor is superficially good natured, in the sense that the narrator depicts the governor as a thoughtful man, who wouldn't want to trouble anyone by staining a napkin. However the narrator is mocking the governor for the incongruence of his position of power with his strange o r unrefined manners (i.e. wiping his hands off on his socks). As we have seen, certain instances within the text can reflect the use of irony at the level of the author, like in the case of the title's perceived double meaning. The usual target of Rulfo's irony in "El d’a del derrumbe" is the government, embodied by the governor and el catrincito who represents the figure of a groomed and fancy, know it all. Rulfo's subtle sarcasm provides political criticism and scorn for the Mexican government. This is perceptible when the narrator reveals that the townspeople were unaware of the identity of town's only statue, until el catrincito "enlightened" the people with the statue's veritable identity: Habl— de Ju‡rez, que nosotros ten’amos levantado en la plaza, y hasta entonces supimos que era la estatua de Ju‡rez, pues nunca nadie nos hab’a podido decir quiŽn era el individuo que estaba encaramado en el monumento aquel. Siempre cre’mos que pod’a ser Hidalgo o Morelos Venustiano Carranza, porque en cada aniversa rio de cualquiera de ellos, all’ les hac’amos su funci—n. Hasta que el catrincito aquel nos vino a decir que se trataba de don Benito Ju‡rez. (138)


55 The irony in this passage lies in the fact that the reason why the townspeople cannot recognize the identity of statue built and erected by government funds is probably because the statue resembles a white historical figure, hence the association to Hidalgo, Morelos, and Carranza, all non indigenous, or it is so worn out that it is not recognizable; in any case, the peasant townspeople did not associate the figure of a fully indigenous Benito Juarez with that of the statue. The townspeople uncertainty leads them to utilize the statue as a multi functional purpose for the "official" celebrations, while the catrinc ito's certainty of the statue's identity being that of Benito Juarez may suggest the government's willingness to identify the national hero with the peasant townsfolk. Thus, we see how Rulfo subtly injects a commentary on historical misunderstanding and th e government's manipulation of history for political gain Rulfo's use of irony in the story corresponds and interacts with the thematic elements that expose an unsympathetic and abusive government. Thus, before concluding this study of El d’a del derru mbe, I would like to expound upon the theme hypocrisy and injustice through the symbol of the government. Having already seen how the governor's visit represents a misuse of power that impoverishes the already victimized townspeople, let us now look upon how Rulfo further develops this idea through the speech of the governor. Representing a parody of the typical, institutionalized revolutionary rhetoric employed by the elected officials of the government, the governor's verbos e speech is full of empty wor ds. At the beginning of the speech he presents himself in the following way:


56 Fui parco en promesas como candidato, optando por prometer lo que œnicamente pod’a cumplir y que al cristalizar, tradujŽrase en beneficio colectivo y no en subjuntivo, ni partici pio de una familia genŽrica de ciudadanos (140). As can be seen, the speech's content is so abstract, that it almost sounds unintelligible. By observing Rulfo's placement of rhetorical, revolutionary discourse within the context of a natural disaster, we can see how the image of a government that is out of tune with the needs of its people is constructed. Amit Tha k kar expounds on this connection: "principios democr‡ticos" ,"honradez", "uni—n con el pueblo", idealismo "revolucionario" These words stand out as mere soundbites in a syntactically incomprehensible speech which bears little relationship to the issues which must concern the inhabitants of the town: causalities, ruined buildings and homelessness." (Thakkar 37). On top of Thakkar's alluded divorce between the speech's content and the needs of the townspeople, there also lies a juxtaposition between the colloquial dialect of the towns people and the highly specialized parlance of the governor and his entourage. This dichotomy results in further separa tion between both groups and gives rise to additional alienation and confusion experienced by the victims of the earthquake. However returning to the nature of the governor's speech we can make another interpretation of this rhetoric, which is in harmony with the previous interpretation. If we take into consideration the fact that the governor's speech is a product of Meliton's memory and revoicing, then the speech is a subjective recollection instead of a flawless reproduction of the governor's oratory. Therefore, if we build upon this alternate interpretation, we encounter a speech that is the product of how it was heard by Melit—n and also how he reproduces it.


57 This framework allows for several possible conclusions. First, the reason for the speech's no nsensical structure and content is partially due to Melit—n's ability to only remember the governor's political and erudite language but incapable of reproducing a cohesive recollection. Second, Rulfo provides us with the notion that rural people tend to h ear and recollect politician's rhetoric as a rambling and grandiloquent address that is empty of meaning. Finally, if we were to justify Thakkar's interpretation, then we must arrive at a third possible conclusion that has the author represent Melit—n as a reproduction machine, flawless in reproducing the governor's ridiculous speech. As we have seen, El d’a del derrumbe is a story that is quite different from the collection of stories found in El llano en llamas Although it co ntains a similar oral qua lity to other stories, it differentiates itself through its combination between themes dealing with the government, and its satirical tone, seen in the character narrator and in Rulfo's authorial presence. La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel Like El d’a d el derrumbe La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel was also published after the first edition of El llano en llamas It made its first appearance in the periodical Cuadernos MŽdicos in March 1955. Along with El d’a del derrumbe it was included in El llano en llamas after 1970. Although it i s more similar in style and tone to the other stories found in the collection, the story has also received little critical attention Nevertheless, the story is very rich in its narrative complexity; it also encompasses well developed themes, which are


58 relevant to the other stories in the collection. "La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel" presents us directly with an account told by a digressive character narrator, without a framing narrative like in many other Rulfo's storie s, such as "El d’a del derrumbe The story's narrator, named Tranquilino Herrera, starts off his tale by introducing the Emerites: a father and a son sharing the same name of Euremio (which makes them sort of doubles) whose relationship is characterized t he by the former's hateful, physical and mental dominance over the latter. The conflict arises in connection with Matilde Arc‡ngel the wife of Euremio the older and the mother of Euremio the younger who was at one point previously engaged to Tranquilino, t he story's narrator; however, she would go on to leave Tranquilino to marry Euremio the elder. Despite this unfortunate turn of events for Tranquilino, he opts to remain close to Matilde and takes on the role of godf ather of her and Euremio's son On the way back from the baptizing the child Matilde dies on a horse riding accident; yet, she manages to save the life of the baby. Euremio the father blames the death on the child's screeching, stating that it was the boy's hoot that forced the horse to run o ff in a wild manner. Thus, Euremio never forgives the boy, whom he labels as a murderer, and makes a point to crush him with his hatred; this animosity creates a rivalry between the two Euremios. The boy, nevertheless, grows up and one day leaves home to join a band of rebels. Several days afterwards, the father also leaves the ranch to merge


59 himself with the national armed forces that seek to hunt down the same band of rebels that Euremio the younger joined These two groups fight it out in the hills of a quiet town. The story culminates with the narrator remembering the son riding into town on horseback, carrying his father's body on the saddle of his horse. Like in El d’a del derrumbe Rulfo accomplishes to capture an oral resonation through the use of certain devices and features; the combination and adept use of these creates an effect of orality. There are several textual marks that point to Tranquilino's active role of storytelling to a specific intra textual audience. The first one is found while Tranquilino is describing Euremio the elder's size: Era un hombr—n as’ de grande, que hasta daba coraje estar junto a Žl" (145). By using the marker indicator "as’" to reference just how "grande" Euremio is, it is as though the narrator was elucidating Euremio's size through visual means. In fact, we experience the presence of the narrator in front of his audience, where the reader can imagine him using his arms to signal Euremio's size. The next immediate moment presents itself at the end of the same pa ragraph, where Tranquilino apologizes for speaking ill of the people from Coraz—n de Mar’a one of the locations where story he is telling takes place : "Ojal‡ que ninguno de los presentes se ofenda por si es de all‡" (146). The sentence's ninguno de los presentes' further establishes the actual physical presence of the narrator with his audience. This sentence also allows for the reader to deduce that Tranquilino does not know his audience very well, in fact they could very well be strangers to him. Throu ghout the story the repetitive use of the pronouns and


60 verbs in the second person plural form will serve as a constant reminder to the reader of the nature of the communicative situation. Through Tranquilino's use of digression we see a nother way in whi ch Rulfo establishes an oral effect. D igression is a common marker of an oral performance in literature and it serves the purpose of narrative expansion or proliferation ( Portugal 461 ). Through digression, the reader also experiences the non scripted divu lgence of idiosyncratic details that reveal the nature of the narrator character. In terms of the story, Tranquilino's digressions expand the narrative and allow for more information to be divulged, while at the same time he engages his audience with his s torytelling, which reveals him to be a individual that is motivated to mesmerize his audience through his verbal ability An exemplary moment of digression is found in the narrator's need to explain who is Matilde Arc‡ngel ; as he is telling the father son story, he reaches the point when an explanation is necessary : Sin embargo, habr‡ que decirles antes quiŽn y quŽ cosa era Matilde Arc‡ngel. Y all‡ voy. Les contarŽ esto sin apuraciones. Despacio. Al fin y al cabo tenemos toda la vida por delante" (147). Th e narrator in this preamble (that will be followed by the promised information) not only provides a key example of digression but also reveals his narrative strategy: one that reflects his name (Tranquilino meaning he will take it easy ), and that resemble s the nature of his trade (muleteering). Tranquilino, being a master of digression, adds a further digression to this specific digression, by adding later on in the passage: "Est‡ bien que uno no estŽ para merecer. Ustedes saben, uno es arriero. Por puro g usto. Por platicar con uno mismo, mientras se anda en los caminos" (147). Aside


61 from providing additional information about himself and his worldview this embedded digression reveals Tranquilino's affinity for self ta lk, something that is reflected in the dynamic of his story telling. Now that the communicative situation has been established, let us now turn to the story's thematic elements, highlighted by the rivalry between the two Euremios. One of the most prominent themes in El llano en llamas is the father son relationship. Present in stories such as No oyes ladrar los perros Diles que no me maten!" and Paso del Norte," this thematic recurren ce is persistently depicted as a problematic one marked by rivalry, conflict, and violence The role of this relationship takes on its grimmest and most violent depiction in "La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel What characterizes it is the rancor and hatred felt by the father towards the son, whom he believes responsible for Matilde's death; in his eyes, the s on is a murderer. He manifests his abhorrence for his son by physically beating him and also by selling off his ranch land in exchange for alcohol, with el œnico fin de que el muchacho no encontrara cuando creciere de d—nde agarrarse para vivir" (146). H owever, unlike "No oyes ladrar los perros," which also contains this father son theme, in this story, the son outlives the father. At the end of the story, we're presented with the image of the son riding into town with the father's body on horseback; this image mirrors the last scene of "Diles que no me maten!," where we also have the son carry the father's body on horseback while returning to the town. But while in "Diles" the son is just an impotent witness to his father's execution, in "Matilde" all in dicates that he, the son, was


62 the father's killer. The core of the rivalry between the two Euremios lays in their desire for Matilde Arc‡ngel. The relationship dynamic between the story's four characters can be structured into two separate triangles, wit h Matilde taking the vertex point in both. In the first one, we have Matilde, Tranquilino, and Euremio the father; and in the second one, we see Matilde, Euremio the father, and Euremio the son Tranquilino and Euremio the father will sculpt her image: we are able to see how they depict her as either an object of desire or a sacrificing maternal entity. Tranquilino's language when introducing Matilde to his audience points towards her as being an object : habr‡ que decirles quiŽn y quŽ cosa era Matilde Arc‡ngel" (147). The use of the word cosa in this sentence highlights his conception of her; as for the use of habr‡ que decirles it reveals the necessity to understand Matilde in order to comprehend the hate and obsession present in the story. In his sto ry, a s Matilde grows up and becomes a beautiful woman, Tranquilino can see how she also becomes the object of desire of others : "As’ que cuanto arriero recorr’a esos rumbos alcanz— a saber de ella y pudo saborearse los ojos mir‡ndola" (147). In this passag e the use of the verbs saborear and mirar makes it very clear the lascivious nature behind their perception of Matilde as an object. As for Euremio and his deeming her as an object, Tranquilino perceives it similarl y. When accounting for Euremio the elder 's conquest of Matilde, he says "se la apropi— (147) and Era propiedad de Euremio Cedillo (148). Although the construction of this language comes from Tranquilino, we sha ll later on observe it coincides with Euremio's view of Matilde, thus, allowing for


63 Tranquilino's statement to reflect Euremio's conception. Although both Euremio and Tranquilino desire Matilde, Euremio is the one who ends up marrying her and thus possessing her; whereas Tranquilino's desire translates into obsession, due to his inabilit y to possess her. In this first triangle, we also see how Matilde also possesses an active and sacrificing maternal instinct therefore breaking with the passivity imposed upon her by the two men. A clear example of this behavior is displayed when Tranqu ilino is describing the scarcity of food and her benevolent disposition to think of others first: siempre estaba dispuesta a quitarse el bocado de la boca para que nosotros comiŽramos" (148). Quite interestingly, the few times we see her as the subject o f a sentence is when she is sacrificing herself for others, as we shall see again in a later scene. In the second triangle composed of Matilde and the two Euremios we witness again the dynamic of her being depicted as an object to be possessed, and as a sacrificing maternal figure Although Tranquilino does provide additional language in regards to Euremio's relationship with Matilde on this matter we also have direct language from Euremio himself as reported by Tranquilino After the death of Matilde, Euremio states: [Matilde] pod’a haberme dado m‡s y todos los hijos que yo quisiera; pero Žste no me dej— ni siquiera saborearla" (150). H ere we find Euremio also portraying her as an object of sensorial pleasure; furthermore, this language suggests that M atilde can be seen as a reproductive entity, one that produces children.


64 Like in the first triangle, Matilde is also characterized by her maternal sacrificing disposit ion. Instead of having defended herself during the fall from the horse, she decides to save the child's life: y tambiŽn dec’a que ella pod’a haberse defendido al caer; pero que hizo todo lo contrario: se hizo arco dej‡ndole un hueco al hijo como para no aplastarlo" (150). As made evident in the previous action of self sacrifice, Matilde takes on the role, according to Euremio this time, of the subject: she possess wi ll and is active in her agency; she chooses the son and not her husband, thereby affirming the maternal instinct. When comparing both triangles we see an interesting evoluti on of events. In the first triangle, the depiction of her as an object creates and strengthens the bond between her and Euremio; thereby becoming his property. However, this dynamic is broken in the second triangle, and the opposite occurs: by her actualiz ing her volition to sacrifice, Matilde breaks her bond with Euremio the father and strengthens the bond between her and her son, despite her ensuing death. The herencia present in the story's title, can be interpreted in two different ways. On the one ha nd, Matilde's maternal sacrifice could results in the son being the actual, physical inheritance for Euremio the elder. On the other hand, the sacrifice can also be seen as giving rise to the eventual hatred and rancor experienced between the two Euremios. Ironically, both conclusions stem from Matilde's agency and maternal instinct the "Arc‡ngel" side.


65 An Introduction to the Translations For the final part of this thesis, I will provide a translation on the two short stories of El d’a del derrumbe an d La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel. Despite being included in the collection of stories found in El llano en llamas since 1970, the two stories, until recently, have not received much attention from translators working with Rulfo. The English translation of El llano en llamas by George Schade, excluded both stories. I believe this quirk was attributed to the one year gap between the stories inclusion into the definitive collection and the year of Schade's translation, published in 1971. However, a recent translation of El llano en llamas by Ilan Stavans was published in 2012. T his edition includes both El d’a del derrumbe and La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel. As is evident to any individual who has read either El llano en llamas or Pedro P‡ramo in the ir original language, Rulfo's style and language is extremely localized As I have stated previously, Rulfo's prose can be in many ways viewed as a reflection of the speech Rulfo encountered within the region of Jalisco, in a post Revolutionary era. Transl ating the speech of Rulfo's characters characterized by a laconic and colloquial tone presents itself as one of the most challenging aspects in translating Rulfo's fiction. However, reproducing the characters' language is not the only difficulty in transla ting his stories. In fact, the col loquial tone actually makes up only a part of the greater hurdle when translating Rul fo, which reveals itself as the oral quality of the prose. In order to preserve the stories' oral effect, I had to pay close attention to several aspects. First, I had to be constantly aware of the stories' communicative


66 situation: in both stories we find the absence of an ex ternal, framing narrator and instead, we have the voices of character narrators, who are engaged in the act of telli ng a story to an audience. Second, I had to respect and reproduce the markers of the communicative situation, such as speech acts, allusions to the audience, and language that reflects gesticulation. Third, I had to be aware of the conversational tone and language present in the voices of the character narrators ; this aim called for abstaining in the use formal words and phrases, and also ensuring that the sentence structure flowed similarly to the original one. And finally, I had to try to provide the best possible options for the regionalisms or mexicanisms fo und in the characters' language. This proved to be the most difficult task, given that an exact translation was almost impossible. I n most cases, I attempted this by utilizing words and sayings that a ccurately reproduced the intended meaning, and also contained a more localized and informal register. K nowing that a large portion of the text is lost through the translation process, I would like to emphasize that no translation can ever fully reproduce the text's original style and language. Furthermore, translations are personal interpretations of a text, reflecting the translator's linguistic preferences and his or her own language conditioning. Therefore, due to the subjective nature of a translation, a translated work can never be catalogued as definiti ve or complete. Being quite aware of the difficulties presented by the texts and the act of translating I've made it a primary task in these translations to recover as much as possible the oral tone an d the colloquial language that Rulfo so deftly masters. This attempt was established by using the contemporary and colloquial U.S.


67 English that throughout my life I have been exposed to, as the baseline for the informal language found in the translations. As for the preserving of the oral tone, I paid specific attention to retaining the characters' speech acts; I also sought to conserve the characters' verbal references to their audiences, which reinforces the storytelling effect. After completing the fir st polished draft of my translations, I used Stavans' translations as a reference, seeking to refine my work. This process was carried out by first reading his translations several times, and then by comparing larger structural and stylistic elements, such as the reproduction of Rulfo's oral quality and the texts' colloquial register. Finally, my comparison focused on the micro elements such as specific grammatical and linguistic problems, for example, the phrasing of a sentence or the selection of one word over the other. Considering myself a product of the digital revolution, I naturally used electronic channels for primary lexical investigation. For Spanish Spanish lexical references, I mainly used the online version of the Real Academia Espa–ola, while also using and the Diccionario de la obra de Juan Rulfo for Mexicanisms or Mexican regionalisms. Regarding English Spanish lexical references, I utilized the Ultralingua computer dictionary, and As for matters relating solely to English, I employed the standard Apple dictionary/thesaurus. Finally, in order for the reader of these translations to be able to extract and comprehend the most from these two short stories, I've included a substantial


68 amount of footnotes. Alth ough notes can sometimes be considered pesky and intrusive tainting the experience of reading the text by incorporating new information not granted by the text's author I believe that their inclusion in these translations is justified. My criteria for thes e footnotes are the following four. The first two criteria are related to cultural and historical references that are in the most probable case foreign to those not well acquainted with Mexican culture. The third criterion for involves clarifying linguisti c and textual language that is lost in translation. The fourth and final criterion is associated with the act of translating; that is, I provide notes on textual fragments that either caused some difficulty translating or that reference Stavans' translatio n.


69 The Day of the Collapse 4 This happened in September. No, not this one, but in September of last year. Or was it the year before, Melit—n? No, it was last year. Yes, yes I getting it right It was in September of last year, around the twenty first. Hey, Melit—n, wasn't September twenty first the very same day of the quake? It was a bit earlier. My understanding is that it was around the eighteenth. You're right. I was in Tuzcacuexco around those days. I even got to see when the houses crumbled as if they were made out of molasses; they just twisted like this, grimacing, and the entire walls came falling down. And the people emerged from the rubble all terrified running straight to the church screaming. But wait. Hey, Melit—n, it seems to me that in Tuzcacuexco there isn't a church. Do you remember? There isn't one. All that's left is a few cracked walls that they claim was a church something like two hundred years ago; but nobody remembers it, nor how it looked; it seems more like an a bandoned corral plagued by higuerillas 5 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! % The title in Spanish of this story is El d’a del derrumbe In English, derrumbe' transla tes literally as landslide. However, in Spanish, the word can also allude to a collapse as well. Although derrumbe coincides with the story's earthquake, the word could be metaphorically reflecting the nature of the governor's visit to the town. The word collapse' fulfills this possible meaning, and thus can refer to both the earthquake and the governor's visit. & Higuerillas is the Mexican variation of the word ricino ,' which in English according to, translates into castor oil plant. I decided to leave higuerillas due to lack of use and verbosity of castor oil plant.' Ilan Stavans translates higuerillas as fig trees'. Despite having


70 You're right Then it wasn't in Tuzcacuexco where the quake caught me, it must have been in El Pochote. But El Pochote is a ranch, right? Yes, but it has a little chapel that they call over there the church; it's a little further from the hacienda of Los Alcatraces. Then it was there of all places where the quake I'm telling you about caught me, when the earth was bulging 6 entirely as if it were being stirred from the inside. Well, a few days later, because I re member we were still propping up walls, the governor arrived; he came to see what help he could lend with his presence. You all know that as long as the governor shows up, as long as the people look at him, everythi ng's straightened out. The thing is that he at least comes to see what happens, and not that he stays over there, stuck in his house, just giving out orders. By him showing up everything straightens out, and the people, even if their houses have collapsed over their heads, feel very happy to hav e met him. Isn't it so, Melit—n? No doubt 7 -Well, as I was telling you all, on September of last year, a little after the tremors, the governor dropped by in the area to see just how the earthquake had treated us. He brought a geologist and all sorts o f knowledgea ble folks; so, don't think he !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!! a colloquial ring, this is a wrong translation; Stavans assumes that higuerilla is the diminutive of hi guera which is the actual word in Spanish for fig tree.' or i g inal : pandeaba Meaning to bulge or warp, pandear is a word that is not commonly used in places outside of Mexico. ( or i g inal : eso que ni quŽ ,' This is a very Mexican and colloquial saying. It's utilized as an affirmation or response to either a question or a comment; the meaning of the saying implies that whatever is in question cannot be denied by anyone. This fragment reflects the story's oral tone.


71 just came alone. Hey, Melit—n, about how much money did it cost us to feed the governor's crew? -Something like four thousand pesos. -And that was only one day; as soon night fell upon them they left, if not, who knows up to what point we would've ended up embezzled 8 although what's sure is that we were very happy: the folks almost broke their necks trying to get a look at the governor, and commenting on how he had eaten the turkey and whether or not he had sucke d the bones dry, and on how fast he lifted one tortilla after another sprinkling them with guacamole sauce; they took notice of everything. And he, so calm, so serious, wiping his hands on his socks in orde r to not stain the napkin, that only served him to patter his whiskers from time to time. And afterwards, when the pomegranate rum punch got to their heads, they began to sing. Hey, Melit—n, what was the song, the one they were repeating and repeating like a broken record? -The o ne that said: "You don't know the mourning hours of the soul ." 9 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ) In Rulfo's original, we find the word desfalcados' which literally translates into English as embezzled. As can be immediately observed, this word does not fit according to the context; an accurate word would be estafados or desbancados I interpret this as a technique Rulfo uses in order to present us with a narrator character that is trying to impress his audience by using words that are advanced, yet, which he does not know the actual meaning of; his knowledge of the word perhaps comes from its association with government affairs, and th us this its origins for him. However, on an authorial level, the word also has a double meaning, much like derrumbe At this level, the word conveys the idea that governor robbed these people. or i g inal No sabes del alma las horas de luto This verse co mes from a popular Mexican song from the first half of the twentieth century called "Las horas de luto" ("The Hours of Mourning"). The verse's syntax is poetic and an example of hyperbaton In this fragment, I decided for a translation that conveyed the ve rse's meaning, despite losing the distinct syntax.


72 -You're good at the memory thing, Melit—n, no doubt about it. Yes, it was that one. And the governor laughed and laughed; he asked for the restroom. 10 Afterwards, he sat down in his seat again; he smelled the carnati ons that were on the table. He watched the folks that were singing, and rocked his head, keeping beat, smiling. There's no doubt that he felt happy, because his people were happy, one could even tell what he was thinking. And when it was time for the speec hes one of his men stood up, the one with the face stuck up, a bit twisted on the left side 11 And he spoke. And there was no doubt he knew his stuff 12 He spoke of Juarez, whom we had raised up in the plaza, and only then we found out it was the statue of J uarez, since no one had never been able to tell us who was that individual that was perched on top of that monument. We always thought it could have been Hidalgo or Morelos or Venustiano Carranza, because on the anniversary for any of them, it was there wh ere we held the celebration. Until that spiffy little gentlemen 13 came and told us that it was don Benito Juarez 14 And the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "+ Here we have a sentence with two loosely connected segments The sentence illustrates a common feature of oral language acts, where a speaker will offer a sentence where the first segment has no explici t, logical connection to the second one. "" or i g inal : Que ten’a la cara alzada un poco borneada a la izquierda. In the original text we have an ambiguous situation in regards to the man's face. Is it actually a bit twisted or does have a scar tha t distort s his facial features? Does the cara alzada refer to the man's demeanor? I've revised my initial interpretation from one that focuses solely on a physical distortion (a raised face, a bit squinty on the left side'), to one that has a more character base d description that also incorporates a touch of physical distortion. "# or i g inal : se las tra’a Here we have another very Mexican expression that is very colloquial and semi informal. Stavans' opts for a more prolonged translation of the expression, using "there was no doubt about what he was talking about." Although it's accurate in meaning, I translate the expression with an actual expression in English. "$ or i g inal : catrincito The Real Academia Espa–ola (REA) translates catr’n' as bien vestido, engala nado ." The closest single word translation I could find was toff.' However, this word is quite antiquated and would not fit well with informal and colloquial, oral tone of the story. Stavans' uses the word dandy.' Although this an accurate translation an d quite effective, I found


73 things he said! Isn't it so, Melit—n? You, with your great memory must remember well what was said by that fellow. -I remember very well; but I've already repeated it so many times that it's now rather annoying. -Okay, it's not necessary. But it's just that these gentlemen 15 are losing out on something good. Instead, you'll tell em what the governor said. The thing is that the whol e episode, instead of being a visit to the victims and to those who had lost their homes, turned into a drunken revelry of the whopping kind. And not to mention the entrance of the Tepec music, that arrived late because all of the trucks had been tied up i n the carrying of the governor's folks and the musicians had to come afoot; but they got here. They rolled in thumping loudly the harp and the bass drum, making a tatachum, chum, chum, with the cymbals, striking hard and eagerly the tune of the Zopilote m ojado'. What a sight it was, even the governor took off his coat and undid his tie, and the whole thing continued on a roll They brought jugs of punch and they hurried in roasting more deer meat, because whether you all want to believe it or not, and they may have !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!! to be too English and not in tune with the rest of the translated language, which resembles a U.S. vernacular. "% In this passage we have the mentioning of four individuals of high importance in Mexican history: Benito Juarez, M iguel Hidalgo, JosŽ Mar’a Morelos, and Venustiano Carranza. In this context, the main difference between Juarez and the rest of these that is that he was of indigenous race. "& !! Here we have the story's first reference to the listeners within the story, t he gentlemen. The original word used, caballeros ,' expresses a specific socioeconomic class for this audience, one that is higher than the narrator's or Melit—n's.


74 not notice d it, they were eating deer meat, the kind which abounds around here. We laughed when they said that the barbacoa 16 was very good, isn't it so Melit—n?, when around here we don't even have a clue what barbacoa is. Truth is 17 we barely se rved them a plate and they immediately wanted another one, so what can you do, we were there to serve them; because as it was put by Liborio (who off the record was always very tightfisted 18 ) the manager of the post office 19 : It doesn't matter if this rece ption may cost us an arm and a leg, for money must have some purpose;' and then you, Melit—n, who around that time you were the municipal president, and 20 I couldn't even recognize you when you said: Let the punch flow, a visit like this has to be honored 21 And yes, the punch did flow, that is absolutely true; even the tablecloths were stained red. And those folks who seemed to have no fill. The only thing I noticed was that the governor !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! "' Within this context and most linguist contexts in Mexico, barbacoa can be defined in Eng lish as roast sheep.' In El diccionario de la obra de Juan Rulfo the definition its author gives is: Alimento consistente en carne de carnero cocida en un horno. It would be a serious mistake to translate this word into English as barbecue,' for it conn otes a completely different meat and seasoning. Although the English word barbecue' was derived in the 17 th century from the Spanish word barbacoa,' its current, present day meaning has completely changed. In English, barbecue' connotes the grilling (an d not roasting) of unspecified meat. "( or i g inal : Lo cierto es I originally translated this fragment as What's true is that.' However, after consulting with Stavans' translation, I decided that his truth is' was more accurate reflection of the terseness of the passage Additionally, it adds a more colloquial distinction. ") or i g inal : agarrado This word is the participle of the verb agarrar' which means to grab. The word agarrado' is highly colloquial. I originally used stingy,' yet, after consulting with Stavans' translation, the word tightfisted' had more of a expression like tone, which convinced me. "* or i g inal : el administrador del Timbre This position refers to the post office and/or the tax office. Stavans, in his translation keeps the word T imbre,' which I believe alienates the reader from the text, given that the term is not used in English. My translation of the fragment sought out the current and more common designation of the office. #+ This a nd possesses an emphatic and colloquial va lue instead of a syntactic function. #" or i g inal : una visita de estas no se desmerece. I originally translated this fragment as: a visit like this doesn't go undervalued' and later adopted Stavans' translation a visit like this can't be wasted.' Howeve r, after further revision, I decided for the idea that the visit cannot not be honored.


75 didn't move from his seat; that he didn't even stretch out his hand, but instead ate and drank what was placed near him; but the pack of brownnosers bent over backwards to cram his table that there wasn't even room for the saltshaker which he had to ho ld in his hand and that when he didn't need it, he placed in his shirt p ocket. I even went to ask him Need salt, mi general ?, and he pointed laughing to the salt shaker that he had in his shirt pocket, that's why I noticed. The big thing happened when he began to speak. We all got goose bumps from the sheer excitement. He s tood up, slowly, very slowly, until we saw him kick the chair behind him with his foot; place his hands on the table; lowered his head as if he were to take flight and then his cough, which put us all in a hush. What was it that he said, Melit—n? My fe llow citizens 22 he said Recalling my trajectory, vivifying the only true origin of my promises. Before this land that I visited as the anonymous partner of a presidential candidate, an all embracing auxiliary of a representative man, whose integrity has never been unbound from the context of his political manifestations and that, yes, instead, is a firm gloss on democratic principles in the supreme bond with the people, coalescing with the austerity he has demonstrated the evident synthesis of revolution ary idealism never until now fulfilled by achievements and certainty. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! ## Here we have the beginning of the governor's speech. Retold from by the voice of Melit—n, the speech possesses a language that is overly sophisticated, but that a lso resembles the parlance of elected officials. Instead of being a factual reproduction, the governor's oratory can also be interpreted as a subjective recalling by Melit—n; this theory can help explain the speech's nonsensical content.


76 -There were applauses there, or weren't there Melit—n? -Yes, a lot of applauses. Then he continued: "My stroke is the same, my fellow citizens. I was sparse in promises as a candidate opting for promising only that which I could fulfill and, when crystallizing, would translate into collective benefit, and not in subjunctive nor participle of a generic family of citizens. Today, we're here present in this paradoxical case of nature, no t foreseen within my program of government." Exactly, mi general screamed someone from way around there Exactly! You've said it! "In this instance, I say, when nature has punished us, our receptive presence in the center of the telluric epicenter tha t has ravaged homes that could have been our own, that are indeed our own ; we come together in assistance, not with the dastardly intention of relishing the misfortune of others, moreover, we are imminently willing to utilize munificently our efforts in th e reconstruction of the destroyed homes, brotherly willing in the relief for the homes diminished by death. This place that I visited years ago, then faraway from all ambition of power, happy in the olden days, now in mourning, pains me. Yes, my fellow ci tizens, I'm lacerated by the survivor's wounds for their lost property and by the people's clamorous cries for their unburied dead below this rubble that we are witness to." And there too there were applauses, right, Melit—n?


77 No, there the loudmouth from before was heard again: "Exactly, se–or gobernador You've said it." And then someone from close by said: "someone shut that drunkard up!" Ah, yes. And it even seemed like there was going to be a ruckus in the very end of the table, but everyone calmed d own when the governor spoke again. "My dear Tuzcacuenses I insist again: your misfortune pains me, for despite what was said by Bernal, the great Bernal D’az del Castillo 23 : The men who died had been hired for death,' I, in considering them in my ontologi cal and human concept, say: It pains me!, with the pain that is produced when seeing the tree torn down in its first inflorescence. We will help you with our power. The living forces of the State from its seat of power clamor to succor the victims of this hecatomb never foretold nor desired. My regency will not end without having delivered for you. Moreover I don't think that God's will would have been that of causing you detriment, that of dislodging you" And there it ended. What he said afterwards I c ouldn't memorize because the noise that let up in the back tables grew and it became darned hard to grasp what he kept on saying. That's for sure, Melit—n. And what a sight it was. That 's all there is to say Because the same guy from the entourage starte d screaming again: "Exactly! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #$ Bernal Diaz de l Castillo (1498 1585) was part of Hernan Cortez's 1519 expedition to conquer the Aztec city of Tenochtitlan. Thirty years after, he published Historia verdadera de la conquista de nueva Espa–a a chronicle of the Encounter, which counters the testimony of Hernan Cortez.


78 Exactly!" with squeals that reached even out into the streets. And when they wanted to shut him up, he took out his pistol and began to whirl it above his head, while he fired at the ceiling. And the people who were around the re rubber necking started to scram when the gunshots were fired away. And they tumbled the tables over in the ensuing ruckus and you could hear the smashing of plates and glasses, and the bottles that they threw at the fellow with the pistol to calm him do wn, but merely crashed onto the wall. And he, who still had time to reload another magazine onto his gun, and used it up once more, while he shifted back and forth, dodging the flying bottles that were hurled at him from everywhere. You all should have s een the governor there standing, very serious with his puckered face, looking onto where the commotion was, as if he were trying to calm it with his gaze. Heavens knows who went over to tell the musicians to play something, what's certain is that they let loose the National Anthem with all their might, so much so that the trombonist's cheek almost popped from the intenseness of his blowing; but the whole thing went on the same. And later it turned out that outside, out on the street, the squabble had ignit ed as well. They came to alert the governor that over there, a few were brawling it out with their machetes 24 ; and if you paid attention, it was true, because even here you could hear the voices of the women who were saying: Separate them, they're going to kill each other!' And later !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #% se estaban dando de machetazos : Translating this piece into English was a bit difficult, given that machetazos' cannot be translated with one word into English. I originally translated the fragment as a few were brawling it out with m achete blows.' However, after revising my translation, I decided that the word blow' was a bit redundant and opted for a more concise option.


79 another shout that said: they've just killed my husband! Grab him!' And the governor wasn't even moving, he remained standing. Hey, Melit—n, what's that word that's used "Undaunted" That's it, undaunted. Well, with the outs ide racket things inside seemed to calm down. The Exactly' little drunkard was sleeping; they darted a bottle upon him and he had remained there, dumbfounded and all, thrown on floor. The governor leaned over the guy and took the gun that he had clenched in one of his hands, stiff ened from the blackout. He gave it to someone else and he told him: Take care of him and take note that he's now unauthorized to carry fire arms." And the other one replied: "Yes, mi general ." The music 25 I don't know why, cont inued thumping and thumping the national anthem, until the spiffy little gentleman that had spoken at the beginning, raised his arms and asked for a moment of silence for the victims. Hey, Melit—n, for which victims did he ask us to remain silent? For the ones of the ecipenter 26 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #& or i g inal : La mœsica At first, I translated this literally as the music,' overlooking the fact that this sent ence structure would not make much sense in English; I realized the nature of this mistake after consulting with Stavans' translation and took up his solution which was the band.' However, I c hanged my mind after realizing the word in the original is als o of an eccentric wording This eccentric wording can perhaps be attributed to the story's oral tone. #' or i g inal : efipoco The word is supposed to be epifoco ,' however Melit—n mispronounces it. This is another instance where Rulfo plays with language to reflect the nature and social position of the characters. Another interpretation of the technical use of this word is that it bolsters the oral tone of the piece: the act of mispronouncing can only occur during an oral act. I decided to keep the nature of Rulfo's method, thus the seeming "spelling mistake." In Stavans' translation, we find


80 Well, for those then. Later everyone sat down, reset the tables once again and continued drinking rum punch and singing that song about the time of mourning. Now I'm starting to remember that it was truly around the twenty first of September the whole uproar; because my wife had on that day our child Merencio, and I arrived at my house very late in the night, more on the drunk side than on the sober one. And she didn't speak to me for many weeks arguing that I had left her alone with her obligation. And when she cheered up she told me that I hadn't even been of use to call the midwife and that she had to hastily get out of the bind as best as she could 27 !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!! for the ones in the brawl.' This translation is incorrect in two levels. First, the word efipoco is a dyslexic inversion of epifoco; and second, the silence is intended for the people involved in the earthquake and not the ones from the brawl. #( or i g inal : como Dios le dio a entender This is another very colloquial, Mexican saying. I spent a considerable amount of time researching its accurate meaning, given that I had never heard it before. Although I don't include the word God,' I find the translation acceptable


81 The Inheritance of Matilde Arc‡ngel 28 In Coraz—n de Mar’a there lived, not too long ago, a father and a son known as the Eremites; if only because the two them were called Euremios. One, Euremio Cedillo; the other, also Euremio Cedillo, although it was no chore at all telling them apart, given that one had twenty five thoroug h years over the other. The thoroughness was in the tallness and ruggedness that the benevolence of the Lord Our Father had endowed upon Euremio the older. Whereas He'd made the boy all messed up, even in discernment, it's said. And as if it wasn't enough to be condemned with gauntness, he lived, that is if he's still alive, squashed by hatred as if by a rock; and it's fair to say that his misfortune was that of having been born 29 Who loathed him the most was his father, who was by the way my compadre 30 be cause I took the boy to be baptized And it seems that the father !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! #) original: La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel I choose to make a literal translation of the title, given that it accurately represents the same idea in Engl ish. Stavans decides to alter "Inheritance" for Legacy.' Although I don't think this is an incorrect deviation, I believe that it lacks the genetic aspect that is present in the Spanish word for inheritance. Thus, I do believe a literal translation is the best option; and also for the reason that the meanings for the word in both English and Spanish are parallel. #* The idea that having been born is a misfortune is Rulfo's allusion to Calder—n de la Barca's play La vida es sue–o $+ Instead of translating this word, I preferred to keep it in its original appearance. The use of the word in this situation can allude to a deeper tension found between Tranquilino and Euremio the elder: compadre possesses the idea of the importance of sharing the responsibiliti es of being a father. The word indirectly sheds lig ht on Tranquilino's desire to having been the father of the boy, thereby the husband of Matilde.


82 was able to do what he did because of his size. He was a well built fella, this big 31 that it even made you angry being next to him and take measure of his strength, even if only by looking. At the sight of him, you felt like you had been made grudgingly or from scraps. It was, in Coraz—n de Mar’a, including the surrounding areas, the only case of a man who had grown so tall, given that the ones around there grow in width and are short; it's even said that it's there where originally the shorties 32 come from; and shorty is what they are over there and that is their condition I hope that none of the ones present are offended 33 in case you're from there, but I stand by my judgment. And returnin g to where we were, I was beginning to tell you all about a couple of fellows who lived a while ago in Coraz—n de Maria. Euremio the older had a ranch known as Las nimas 34 ruined by its many troubles, although the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $" original: Era un hombr—n as’ de grande In this instance, we see the story's first evidence of it being a n oral account. The "as’ de grande" suggests a physical act of using one's hands to give an estimated size of something, in this case, Euremio the elder's physique. In the case of Stavans' translation, he literalizes it; t hereby losing the oral effect. Sta vans translation is the following: "He was a man and a half, very big" $# original: chaparro Finding a similar translation for this word proved to be cumbersome. The word connotes a chubby and short person. The substitute of stocky' can seem like a viab le option; however, it can also depict someone muscly (which in this case, is not Rulfo's intent). Stavans opts for a more conservative approach with the word "short people." I, on the other hand, chose a more colloquial word. $$ original: Ojal‡ que ningun o de los presentes se ofenda Here we have another trace of the story's oral effect. This is created by the narrator making a direct reference to his audience. $% The name of this ranch can be translated into English as "The Souls." However, I opted to kee p the original name due to the fact that the word animas' is consistently identified in Spanish with the souls in purgatory, thus connoting a specific idea; whereas souls is a more general term that misses the point.


83 worst of them being neglect. And that's b ecause he never wanted to leave that as inheritance to the son who, like I already told you all, was my godson. He drank it away in swigs of bingarrote 35 which he obtained by selling off piece after piece of ranchland and with the only purpose of guarantee ing that the boy would not find where to grab onto once he grew up. And he almost accomplished that. The son was barely able to raise himself up from the ground, the wretched thing, and that was mostly due to a few compassionate souls who helped him stand on his own two feet; because his father never looked after him, rather it seemed that his blood curdled at the mere sight of him. But to understand all of this, we have to go further back. Way, way back before the boy's birth, and even before Euremio meeti ng the woman who was going to be the mother of the boy. The mother's name was Matilde Arc‡ngel. Off th e record, she wasn't from Coraz— n de Mar’a, but from a place higher up that's called Chupaderos, where this Cedillo fellow had never been to and if he kn ew about it, it was through word of mouth. Around that time she was engaged with me; but one never knows what's in store, so when I went to introduce the girl to him, a little bit to show her off and another little bit so that he would be the best man of the wedding 36 I never imagined that the feelings she said she had for me would suddenly dry out, !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $& This type of alcohol is a distilled brandy that comes from the aloe plant. I chose to keep the word in its original state in order to emphasize the localized language of the speaker. $' original: para que Žl se decidiera apadrinarnos la boda The cultural situation that is tied to being the best man in this context alludes to the expectation, but not obligation, for this individual to pay for the wedding. The act of apadrinar also allows for a connection in protection for the individual who is seeking the best man.


84 nor that her sighs would begin to turn cold, nor that someone else would have managed to nab her from me. I found out later. However, you will first have to k now who and what thing Matilde Arc‡ngel was. So, there I go. I'll tell you this without haste. Slowly. After all, we have our whole entire lives ahead of us. She was the daughter of a do–a Sinesia, owner of the inn at Chupaderos; a place faded into the twi light, so to speak, there where our workday ends 37 So that any mule driver that traveled over those roads got to know of her and could feast his eyes watching her. Because around that time, before she dropped from the face of the earth, Matilde was a young girl that filtered through us like water. But on the day least expected, and without any of us realizing it, she turned into a woman. She sprouted a dreamy gaze, piercing you like a nail that is very hard to pull out. And then her lips bloomed, as if kis ses had deflowered them She got pretty the girl, you gotta give it to her. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $( original: all’ donde se nos acababa la jornada In this case, the meaning of jornada may be up to interpretation. Having more than fifteen different meanings in the RAE, the two most pertinent definitions for jornada are "tiempo de duraci—n del trabajo diario" and "camino o viaj e que pase de un d’a." I've decided to utilize the most logical one, which refers to the duration of a workday.


85 It's okay if one is not the most worthy. You all know very well, I'm a muleteer. For the sake of it. To talk with myself, while I'm moving along the roads 38 But her roads were lon ger than any of the ones I had to journey through in life and it even occurred to me that I would never stop loving her. But in short Euremio took her. Upon returning from one of my trips, I found out that she was already married to the owner of Las nima s. I thought that greed had dragged her into it and, for all one knows, the size of the man. I was never short on reasons. What hurt me here in the stomach, where the sorrows hurt the most, was that she had forgotten about this flock of poor devils that we nt to see her and took shelter in the warmth of her gaze. Especially me, Tranquilino Herrera, at your service, and with whom she was engaged with hugs, and kisses and the whole thing. Although at a closer look, when hunger strikes, any animal escapes the c orral; and she was not well fed, let's just say; partly because sometimes there were so many of us that there wasn't enough to go around, partly because she was always willing to take the bite out of her own mouth so that we could eat. Then she got fat S he had a child. Then she died. A runaway horse killed her. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $) original: Por platicar con uno mismo, mientras se anda en los caminos. The literal translation would be the following: "To talk with oneself, while one moves along the roads." The use of oneself' is to engender sympathy from the narrator's audience. I choose instead to use the first person singular because it is personal, whereas using "one" sounds very formal, and not adequate for this situat ion.


86 We had just baptized the child. She was carrying him in her arms. I couldn't tell you the details of the why and how the horse had run wild, because I was riding in front. I only remember that the animal was ruddy 39 It passed next to us like a grey cloud, and more than the horse itself, it was the air of the horse what we got to see ; solitary, almost soiled to the earth. Matilde Arc‡ngel had remained behind planted not far away from there and with her face plunged in a puddle of water. That little face that so many loved so much, now almost sunk, as if she were rinsing the blood that was spouting like a stream from her still beating body. But by that time she wasn't ours. She was property of Eurem io Cedillo, the only one that managed to work her as his own 40 And boy, was she pretty! And more than that, he had got himself inside her, beyond the shores of her flesh, to the point of impregnating her 41 And so, for me, around that time, nothing remained of her but a shadow or maybe a blade of memory. However, I didn't resign myself to not seeing her. I agreed to take the boy to be baptized, as long as I could remain close to her, even if it were as compadre That's why I still feel pass ing next to me t hat air that extinguished her life's blaze, as if it were still blowing; as if it kept blowing against me. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! $* original: rosillo The word connotes a light red. Finding an accurate single word translation proved to be quite challenging. Stavans choice was to turn the adjective into a noun: "a roan." This is however an inaccurate translation, given that a roa n is usually a horse with a chestnut color. I opted for something although not exact close to the original's meaning. %+ In this instance, we idea of working Matilde "as his own" brings to mind the act of working the land. This allusion emphasizes the noti on of her being depicted as an object in the story. %" original : hacerle nacer un hijo Although my translation features the uncommon word (colloquially speaking) of impregnating, I believe that it captures the meaning of the sentence, which in this case w as very important to preserve.


87 It was me who had to close her eyes filled with water; and to straighten her mouth, twisted from the anguish: that anxiety that entered her and that surely kept growing during the animal's dash, until the end, when she felt herself falling. I already told you all that we found her flipped over her child. Her flesh was already beginning to dry up, turning into bark because of all of the juice that had escaped her throughout the whole time that her misfortune lasted. She had her gaze open, fixed on the child. I already told you that she was soaked in water. Not in tears, but in the filthy water of the muddy puddle where her face fell. And she seemed to h ave died happy of not having crushed her child in the fall, because joy was glimmering from her eyes. Like I said earlier, it was me who had to close that still caressing gaze, like the way it was when she was alive. We buried her. That mouth those lips, which were so hard to reach started to fill up with earth. We saw all of Matilde disappearing, sunken in the pit of the grave, until we saw her form no more. And there, standing like a pole, Euremio Cedillo. And I was thinking: "If he had left her to be in Chupaderos, maybe she would still be alive today." "She would still be alive," he said, "if it hadn't been for the boy." And he went on saying that the boy had suddenly decided to give off a shriek, like that of a tecolote 42 when the horse they were ridin g was very jumpy 43 He had clearly !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! %# An owl. Instead of using the common word of lechuza or bœho Rulfo uses the more Mexican word of tecolote I kept the word in its original state, due to its localized sound.


88 warned the mother about it, as if to convince her to not let the boy screech. And he also said that she could have protected herself when falling; but she did the very opposite: "She arched herself, leaving a hollow for th e child as if to not squash him. And so, all things considered, it's entirely the boy's fault. He shrieks in such a way that even I get scared And me, why should I love him? He's of no use to me. Matilde could have given me all the children I could have w anted; but this one didn't even let me enjoy her." And like that he let loose saying things and more things, so that you couldn't tell anymore if it was sorrow or anger which he felt towards the dead woman. What was always clear was the hate he felt toward s the son from then on And that's what I was talking about to you all at the start. Euremio the older took up drinking. He began exchanging chunks of his lands for bottles of bingarrote Then he even bought it by the barrel. I once had to haul an entire d rove of barrels of bingarrote destined for Euremio. It's there where he gave it his all: in that and in pounding my godson, till his arm got tired. By then many years had passed. Euremio, the son, grew despite everything, supported by the pity of a few s ouls, almost by the pure breath that he brought since birth. Everyday he woke up crushed by his father, who saw him as a coward !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!! %$ original: asust—n This is the adjective deriv ation of the reflexive verb asustarse which means to be scared or to scare oneself. Although my translation of the word does not encompass this meaning, it does allude to what can result from a horse that is shifty and skittish. Stavans uses the words ea sily spooked,' which I believe is the incorrect language when it comes to describing a horse's riding tendencies.


89 and a murderer; and if he didn't try to kill him, at least he made sure that the boy would starve to death. But he lived. Howeve r, the father spiraled downwards with the passing of time. And you and me and everyone knows that time is heavier than the heaviest burden man can bear. So, even though he continued holding on to his bitterness, his hatred diminished, transforming his two lives into one living solitude. I seldom visited them. I found out, because I had been told, that my godson played the flute while his father drunkenly slept. They didn't speak nor look at each other; but even after nightfall you could hear in all of Co raz—n de Mar’a the music of the flute; and sometimes you could still hear it way past midnight. Well, to not make the story any longer for you, one quiet day, of the kind that abounds in these types of towns, there arrived a few rebels in town. They bar ely made any noise, because the streets were full of grass; as a result, their passage was in silence, although all of them came on horseback. They say that the whole thing was so calm and that they passed through without even raising any ruckus that you c ould hear the cry of the somormujo 44 and the chirping of the crickets; and what was louder than them, what could be heard the most was the !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! %% Somormujo is a water bird, known as a dabchick. I opted to keep the word in its original state due to dab chick's' lack of use in common sp oken English.


90 little tune of a flute that merged with them while passing in front of the Eremites' house, and it went receding, leav ing, until it disappeared. Who knows what sort of rebels they were and what they were up to. What's certain, and I was also told this, was that, a few days later, government troops also passed through without stopping. And in that moment Euremio the older who around that time was already a bit sickly, asked them to take him. He told them that he had unsettled business with one of those bandits they were chasing. And yeah, they accepted him. He left his house on horseback and with his rifle on hand, gallop ing to reach the troops. He was tall, like I said before, but more than a man, he looked like a banderole because he wore his mop of hair in the open air, since he didn't trouble himself to look for his som 45 brero And for a few days nothing was known. Ever ything went on peacefully as before. It just happened that I arrived at that time. I came from below, where no rumors had been heard either Until suddenly people started coming. Coamileros you all know: guys that spend part of their lives tied to the slopes of the mountains, and that if they go down to a town, it's in search for something, or because something is worrying them. Now, the fright had made them come down. They arrived saying that over there in the hills there was fighting going on for som e days now. And that somewhere over there were some who were just arriving. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! %& A traditional, large Mexican hat. I kept sombrero intact due to its position and current use in the English language.


91 The afternoon came and went with no one to be seen passing through. Night arrived. A few of us thought that maybe they had taken another road. We waited behind the closed doors. It struck nine and then ten on the church clock. And almost with the hour bells, the bellow of the horn was heard. Then the trot of the horses. And so I peered to see who they were. And I saw a bunch of ragged men mounted on scrawny horses; some shedding blo od, others surely asleep because their heads were bobbing. They kept going without stopping. When it already seemed that the parade of dark figures, which could barely be made out in the night, had finished, you could start to hear, first by a whisker and then more clearly, the tune of a flute. Shortly after, I saw my godson Euremio come, mounted on the horse of my compadre Euremio Cedillo. He came riding in hindquarters w ith his left hand tooting hard his flute, while with his right he sustained, laying a cross the sadd le, the body of his dead father. !


92 Conclusion As we have seen, the primary purpose of this thesis was to provide the reader with a translation for two of Juan Rulfo's two short stories, "El d’a del derrumbe" and "La herencia de Matil de Arc‡ngel." Additionally, this thesis sought to supplement these translations with a critical analysis of Rulfo's El llano en llamas and in particular, the two short stories that were translated. Juan Rulfo's work, specifically El llano en llamas pos sesses an identifiable quality that is consistent in all of its stories. The world in this collection heavily resembles the post revolutionary, rural Jalisco region, where characters are at the whim of oppressive forces. Whether in the form of a barren lan d or an uncontainable flood, nature in El llano en llamas reveals itself as a devastating entity that silences Rulfo's characters and renders them hopeless. In El llano en llamas violence also takes on the form of a social one, which manifests in a casual and uncontrollable way. In the story of "El hombre," we witness how revenge unleashes a vicious cycle of violence. Once the bloodshed begins, it becomes very difficult to stop the violence; not only are individuals who are tied to the matter sucked into t he cycle's furor, but also innocent bystanders end up having to pay for the damage done. A majority of the stories found in El llano en llamas feature the use of a distinct oral quality. Rulfo accomplishes this technique in various ways. In the stories o f "El d’a del derrumbe" and "La herencia de Matilde Arc‡ngel," we experience the lack of an external, framing narrator, and instead we are provided


93 with the direct voices of idiosyncratic character narrators who possess a very localized and colloquial lang uage. The oral quality of these two stories is further reinforced through their communicative situation, in which we have the character narrators' consumed in the act of storytelling, in front of an audience. Finally, the oral effect is bolstered in these two stories through the use of techniques, such as digression and repetition. Translating Juan Rulfo into English was a complex and arduous process. Reproducing the oral quality of the stories proved to be the most challenging aspect. The two stories exe rcise the act of storytelling, which called for both, a meticulous inspection of all possible words and sentences that could possibly convey the use of orality, and then, ensuring that they were accounted for in the translation. I also had to pay close att ention to the character narrators' use of localized language and their idiosyncratic forms of expressing their ideas. Although the act of translating was quite challenging and time consuming, it ultimately proved to be very rewarding. Knowing very well tha t there is no such thing as a definitive translation, I hope that these two translations can be viewed as acceptable options for reading the two stories in English.


94 BIBLIOGRAPHY Alatorre, Antonio. "La Persona De Juan Rulfo." Revista Canadiense De E studios Hispanicos 22.2 (1998): 165 77. Print. Bonilla, Roberto. "Rostros Biograficos De Juan Rulfo." Hispanoamerica Aug 36.107 (2007): 91 101. Web. . Dur‡n, Manuel. "Juan Rulfo, Cuentista: La Verdad Casi Sospechosa ." La Ficci—n De La Memoria: Juan Rulfo Ante La Cr’tica Ed. Federico Campbell. MŽxico, D.F.: Coordinaci—n De Difusi—n Cultural, Direcci—n De Literatura, Universidad Nacional Aut—noma De MŽxico, 2003. 89 120. Print. Garc’a M‡rquez, Gabriel. "Asombro Por Ju an Rulfo Gabriel Garc’a M‡rquez." Ciudad Seva N.p., n.d. Web. 20 May 2013. . Gonz‡lez, Boixo JosŽ Carlos. Claves Narrativas De Juan Rulfo Le—n: Colegio Universitario De Le—n, Unidad De Investigaci— n, 1980. Print. Harss, Luis, and Barbara Dohmann. Into the Mainstream; Conversations with Latin American Writers New York: Harper & Row, 1967. Print. Hellman, Judith Adler. Mexico in Crisis New York: Holmes & Meier, 1978. Print. Karic, Pol P. "El Calor Y El Agua En El Llano En Llamas." Juan Rulfo: Perspectivas Criticas N.p.: Siglo XXI, 2007. N. pag. Print.


95 Langford, Walter M. The Mexican Novel Comes of Age Notre Dame: University of Notre Dame, 1971. Print. Leal, Luis. Juan Rulfo Boston: Twayne, 1983. P rint. Lopez Mena, Sergio. Perfil De Juan Rulfo Mexico City: Editorial Praxis, 2001. Print. Paz, Octavio. El Laberinto De La Soledad MŽxico, D.F.: Fondo De Cultura Economica, 1997. Print. Portugal, JosŽ A. "No Me Esperen En Abril: Alfredo Bryce Echenique Y La Anatom’a De Una Melancol’a Peruana." Los Mundos De Alfredo Bryce Echenique: Textos Cr’ticos Ed. CŽsar Ferreira and Ismael M‡rquez. Lima: Pontificia Universidad Cat—lica, 1994. N. pag. Print. Quirk, Robert E. Mexico New Jersey: Prentice Hall, 1971. P rint. Rowe, William. Rulfo, El Llano En Llamas London: Grant & Cutler in Association with Tamesis, 1987. Print. Rulfo, Juan. El Llano En Llamas 2nd ed. 1970, MŽxico, D.F.: Fondo De Cultura Economica, 1953. Print. Rulfo, Juan, and Claude Fell. Toda La Obr a Madrid [u.a.: ALLCA XX [u.a., 1996. Print. Rulfo, Juan, Ilan Stavans, and Harold Augenbraum. The Plain in Flames = El Llano En Llamas Austin: University of Texas, 2012. Print.

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96 Ruy, S‡nchez Alberto. "Juan Rulfo Y El Ritual Del Viento." Cuatro Escritores Rituales: Rulfo, Mutis, Sarduy, Garc’a Ponce Toluca, Estado De MŽxico: Instituto Mexiquense De Cultura, 1997. N. pag. Print. Summers, Joseph, and Juan Rulfo. "Juan Rulfo." Hispanoamerica 2.4/5 (1973): 103 07. Web. Thakkar, Amit. The Fiction of Juan Rulfo : Irony, Revolution and Postcolonialism Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Tamesis, 2012. Print.