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They have given us the land by Juan Rulfo

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Rafael Cisneros

on 14 September 2012

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Transcript of They have given us the land by Juan Rulfo

Story Summary "They have given us the land"
by Juan Rulfo
The Effects of the Mexican Revolution By Rafael Cisneros Summary Story starts off with four men who are walking through an arid plain under very hot weather for hours.
The narrator, among the group of men, hopes that they will be able to reach the nearby town next to a river of water.
They hear dogs barking and the smell of smoke in the air from the town.
One of the men, Faustino, announces that it will rain according to the clouds but only one drop falls from the sky.
Narrator says the enormous plain is completely useless. No animals live there except for a few huizache trees and patches of grass
Government takes away their rifles and horses. Good idea: taking away rifles due to danger in the area
Bad idea: taking away their horses. Summary Narrator and his group tried to talk to a government official.
Men protested that they wanted land near the river and town. The land would be more fertile.
Government official says the argument is not up for discussion.
Men complain there is no water nearby and it never rains, but the official says the rainy season would come soon to plant corn.
Land was too hard for planting.
Official's response is that they should be arguing with the big landowners and not the government who is giving them the land.
Official then refuses to continue the conversation.
When the men reach the bottom of the barranca, everything including the land improve: birds are flying over the river and trees and dogs are barking. Juan Nepomuceno Carlos Peréz Rulfo Vizcaíno Born on May 16, 1917 in Sayula, Jalisco.
Only published two major works: "El Llano en Llamas" (1953) and "Pedro Páramo" (1955).
The story "They have given us the land" was first published in a magazine in Guadalajara, Jalisco called "Pan" in 1945.
Gained international recognition during the Latin American Literary "boom" in the 1960s and 1970s.
Died January 7, 1986. Jalisco is a Nahuatl word that means "sandy plain." Professional Life Early Childhood Two events which were determining factors in his childhood:
the aftermath of the Mexican Revolution
the Cristero War (1926-1929) Rulfo's parents died during his early childhood: father in 1923 and mother in 1927.
Became an orphan at a very young age. Rulfo always held a resentment towards the Mexican Revolution because the town he grew up in, San Gabriel, was a flourishing town that after the Revolution spiraled into poverty never to return back to its glory.
San Gabriel is like the "ghost towns" he writes about - where the promised reforms of the Revolution never materialized as can bee seen in his novel, "Pedro Páramo". Visualization of the Plain What was the Cristero War? The struggle between the government of Plutarco Elías Calles, who strictly enforced the anti-Clerical statues of the Constitution of 1917, and the Catholic militiras over the restricted rights of the Church.
Injustices: fined priests for wearing clerical clothing, could imprison clergy up to 5 years for criticizing the government, forced priests to marry, Church could not own real estate, no cults outside Churches, and clergy could not vote.
250,000 people died. Historical Context Rhetorical Devices and Significance Irony The title itself is ironic because the land given to the group of four men is a desert-like big plain.
Although the land given to them was land, it was useless.
When the travelers move from one place to another and, in the big picture, gain nothing at all after they realize the land was infertile.
The travelers were forced to surrender the horses and weapons that helped them win the revolution: implying that they are no longer revolutionaries but impoverished peasants. The story was written during the 1940s Purpose of the Story Rather than simply describing the story as the journey of four men across an enormous desert plain, Rulfo uses the opportunity to explain the emotions and thoughts the peasants experience with respect to the uselessness of the land and the government that gave it to them.
Transmits the hopelessness of the peasant after the Mexican Revolution ended.
Indirectly criticizes the failure of the peasant revolution.
Demonstrates the bitterness of the peasants after the government fails to comply with the Revolution's goals and ideals mainly being land reform.
Throughout the story, everything is described in a demoralizing manner.
The story puts the reader into the post Revolutionary mindset of the peasant and provides a glimpse into the enormous corruption these have been victims of for centuries even after the Revolution took place. Changes in Characters Travelers are deprived of their horses and rifles.
During the Revolution, peasants would have horses and rifles which made them revolutionaries and thus elevated their social status.
Now, they must revert back to being oppressed peasants who do not have a voice in Mexico as seen in the conversation with the official. Esteban and his relationship to the hen.
At first, narrator thought it was food but then Esteban mentions that he brought her because no one was able to care for her back home.
Rulfo used the hen to show the uprooting effect that Revolution had on the people and their homes.
The introduction of Esteban and his hen at the very end of the story also represents the transition back to reality from the nightmare of thoughts that had taken over the minds of all four men. Melitón
Melitón announces that the dry land in front of them was the land they had been given. He continues to say that despite its uselessness, they could run mares.
Narrator thinks Melitón has lost it and blames the heat for his strange thinking, but in reality the narrator was taking out the frustration that had built up inside him after realizing that the dry and lifeless land would not provide anything to them.
In the beginning, the men were already losing hope because there wasn't a single tree's shade to rest under or any source of water but they still had hope for their land.
"After walking so many hours without coming across even the shadow of a tree , or a seedling of a tree, or any kinds of root...You can hear the dogs barking and smell the smoke in the air, and you relish that smell of people as if it was a hope."
By the end of the story, they do not want the arid land that they have been given and instead choose to travel to the nearest town to recover from the exhausting journey.
"We opened our mouths to say that we didn't want the plain, that what we wanted was by the river. From the river up to where, through the meadows, the trees called causarinas are, and the pastures and good land. Not this tough cow's hide they call the Plain." The Land does not represent progress, but instead is used to portray the failures of the Mexican Revolution.
The land reform laws were being used against the peasants by providing them with land that was impossible to live from.
Dry land "gobbled up" any opportunity for progress, symbolized by the water being absorbed by the "thirsty" land.
Hopelessness of a better life. Significance of the Land Importance of Tense Rulfo uses the present tense in his story to bring more life to the journey the travelers go through.
Hope
Exhaustion
Hopelessness
Defeat
Readers are better able to understand the emotions of the travelers. The tone of the story was very despondent.
Often times the comparison of the poor conditions of the land evoked the feelings of hopelessness and depression in readers.
Diction reminded the readers that the narrator was a peasant.
Choice of words and structure of sentences were simple enough for the reader to experience the thoughts of the peasant at the timer after the Revolution. Tone and Diction Connection to Previous Texts "The Morelos Commune" by Adolfo Gilly Gilly argues that the Revolution never ended but was simply "interrupted" and that it would eventually arise again in Mexico's history. Direct translation of his book title: "The Interrupted Revolution"
Rulfo conveys that the Revolution failed to live up to its ideals - the land that was given to the peasants was useless, but they could not complain about it since it was being given to them for free.
Rulfo published this story at the end of Avila Camacho's presidency (1940-1946) to spark a new movement that will bring justice to the poorer classes - Revolution will resurge. The Vacant Lot by Augusto Roa Bastos Roa Bastos describes a dark and vacant lot filled with an unpleasant smell in the air "from the stream's stagnant water" and a "sweetish stench of the lot reeking of rust, animal feces, the pasty smell that comes from the threat of bad weather." There were "slivers of glass or metal jostled around in the weeds" and "mounds of garbage, weeds, and irregular land levels."
Similarly, Rulfo describes the land in his story as a "sizzling fry pan" where "nothing will come up...Not even buzzards" although these are out there "once in a while, very high, flying fast, trying to get away as soon as possible from [the] hard white earth" Environments Hope Roa Bastos uses the baby that emerges from the weed patch as a sign of hope.
Rulfo uses the barking dogs and rain drops.
Roa Bastos: there is hope
Rulfo: there is no hope (rain drop swallowed) in the plain but in the town there is (barking dogs). "Our America" by Jose Martí Martí creates the idea of the natural man which is the man that values and respects the land and the people of it.
Rulfo demonstrates through the government official that the idea of the natural man represented by the peasants is not respected by the government anymore when he tells the travelers that their complaints should not be against the government but the big landowners and then refuses to hear them any longer.
Government no longer respects the essence of what the Mexican Revolution fought for. Works Cited Mexico during the 1940s through 1950s Mexico had been developing with more modernization in Mexico City, emergence of more universities, and the population was growing.
However, the peasant population was decreasing radically as the Mexican government abandoned the agrarian reforms that Zapata and Villa had fought for.
Many educated Mexicans believed that the agrarian reform period had ended and that a new era of modernization had begun.
Others thought that the Revolution had not left any positive impacts being that its goals were never achieved realistically. Among these was Rulfo.
At the time, Mexico had prioritized building a relationship with the United States and fighting the Axis power in World War II.
Rulfo realized that Camacho's government no longer pursued the interests of the peasantry.
Although the story was written and published in 1945, the historical context of the story itself was set during the Mexican Revolution. What type of story was this? A fictitious story that used real Mexican and placed them in real historical situations like that of the post-Mexican Revolution era. Allies Avila Camacho's Presidency Presidency from 1940 to 1946
Had highly conservative values
Did not push for enforcement of the most populist articles in the Constitution one of which was agrarian reform. World War II Mexican Pilots in WWII Historical Connection to the story Rulfo was influenced by Camacho's conservatism during his presidency which meant that he did not enforce land reform.
Rulfo, with the bitter experiences from his past growing up in the post-Revolution and the Cristero War, and seeing that the Mexican government no longer pursued what thousands of Mexicans had died for and towns destroyed such as his hometown of San Gabriel, was ultimately inspired to write a story, and eventually book, on the failures of the Revolution through the use of fictional characters that portrayed these ideals. Rulfo's Impact in Succeeding Generations His second work, "Pedro Páramo", had a major influence on the development of magical realism: the combination of magical elements with the real world in literature.
The development of magical realism granted Latin America its greatest novelists of the 20th century such as:
Gabriel García Márquez: "One Hundred Years of Solitude
Isabell Allende: "The House of the Spirits"
Laura Esquivel: "Like Water for Chocolate"
Márquez said that he felt blocked as a novelist after writing his first four books, but after he read Pedro Páramo he became inspired to write his next work, "One Hundred Years of Solitude".
Many films have been made:
"El despojo"(1960)
"El gallo de oro" (1964)
"La formula secreta" (1964)
"El Rincon de la Virgenes" (1972) Wrote about many parts of his childhood in this book Rulfo's Photography
"The Cristero War." Explorando Mexico. Explorando Mexico, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://www.explorandomexico.com/about-mexico/4/154/>.
"History, The Cardenas Era." The Cardenas Era. Contriesquest, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://www.countriesquest.com/north_america/mexico/history/the_cardenas_era.htm>.
"Juan Rulfo. Biografía." Juan Rulfo. Biografía. Biografías Y Vidas, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://www.biografiasyvidas.com/monografia/rulfo/>.
"Military." President Manuel Avila Camacho [1940-46]. Global Security, n.d. Web. 13 Sept. 2012. <http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/mexico/president-avila.htm>.
Perus, Francoise. "Camino De La Vida: “Nos Han Dado La Tierra” De Juan Rulfo." Instituto De Investigaciones Sociales-UNAM 69.208 (2003): 1-19. Revista Iberoamericana. University of Pittsburgh, July 2003. Web. 12 Sept. 2012. <evista-iberoamericana.pitt.edu/ojs/index.php/Iberoamericana/article/view/5640/5787>.
Rulfo, Juan. "Nos Han Dado La Tierra - Juan Rulfo - Ciudad Seva." Nos Han Dado La Tierra - Juan Rulfo - Ciudad Seva. Ciudad Seva, 10 Nov. 2010. Web. 14 Sept. 2012. <http://www.ciudadseva.com/textos/cuentos/esp/rulfo/noshan.htm>.
Rulfo, Juan. The Burning Plain, and Other Stories. Print.
Seligman, Johanna. "Seligmanparamo." Juan Rulfo and His Novel, Pedro Páramo. Lewis & Clark University, Importance of Narrator's Point of View Story is told in the first person point of view as a result of Rulfo's focus on placing his readers in the mind of the peasant to fully understand the thoughts of peasants given that these did not have a voice in the government. Symbolism Plain represented the hopelessness of the peasant population in Mexico after the Revolution.
Official represented the government and its disinterest in providing land to the poor.
Travelers' lack of motivation to talk represented the oppression peasants faced by the government.
Conversation with official also shows the government's unwillingness to help the peasants when the official told them not to complain since the land was being given to them for free. Slowly, the number of men in the group decreases from over 20 to just four which connects with Mexico in the 1940s when the peasant population decreased radically and the country headed into a more industrialized direction. Transition from nightmare to reality In the beginning, the extremely hot weather that causes the men's discouragement to talk, captures the minds of readers into this pessimistic bubble that recreates the emotions of the dissatisfied peasants.
However, by the end of the story, when they start traveling down the barranca into the town, they begin to talk more than at any other point before that in the story creating an effect of reemerging into freedom from the oppression of the land controlled by the government. Rulfo intended to lose the reader in the physical environment of the world around the travelers.
He did not want the readers to find a limit to the land but to think of the dry plain as an immense desert that never ended in order to induce the feeling of hopelessness among readers.
Therefore no spatial terms were used to define the physical limits of the land.
This way Rulfo would make his readers feel the emotions the peasants experiences throughout their journey. Physical Environment From Revolutionary Back to Peasant Faustino First thing Faustino mentions is that it may rain.
The rest of the men look up at the sky and according to the narrator "maybe so."
Faustino then becomes the character that symbolizes the idea of lingering hope that may soon disappear with the doubts and eventually the one drop that falls. Transformation of hope among the characters Literary Analysis of
"They have given us the land" by Juan Rulfo Connection to History
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