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Structure of Pedro Paramo

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Shruti Balantrapu

on 4 December 2014

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Transcript of Structure of Pedro Paramo

Structure of Pedro Paramo
Overview
Structure: Framework of a work of literature, or the organization of the overall design of a work.

In the Novel:
Juan Preciado reaches Comala at the beginning of the story because his mother asked him to search for this father
There are multiple narrators, and the reader does not know when it switches speakers
This allows for multiple perspectives yet leads to ambiguity
Artwork
Confuse the Spirit
by Abbey Watkins
Engagement Activity
What would society be like without order and structure?

Do you believe that the organized system of government with the three branches (executive, legislative, and judicial) and the concept of checks and balances allows for better structure?
Why or why not?
Literary Criticism
The Ghosts of Comala: Haunted Meaning in Pedro Páramo: An introduction to Juan Rulfo's Pedro Páramo, by Danny J. Anderson
Image by goodtextures: http://fav.me/d2he3r8
Shruti Balantrapu 5th
Death is the omnipresent idea, and it affects all life as well. There are multiple manifestations, just like the novel had many narrators to tell the tale. The lack of color shows the heaven and hell contrast as is evident in the novel.
Tone: Solemn, deathlike
http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/excerpts/rulped-intro.html
Quote 1
"I came to Comala because I had been told that my father, a man named Pedro Paramo lived
there. It was my mother who told me. And I had promised her that after she died I would go
see him. I squeezed her hands as a sign I would do it. She was near death, and I would have
promised her anything. 'Don't fail to go see him,' she had insisted" (Rulfo 1)
The first sentence of the novel
Sets the stage for the rest of the novel, and shows the reader that Juan's role is significant
Quote 2
"I don't remember."
"The hell you say!"
"What did you say?"
"I said, we're getting there, senor."
"Yes. I see it now. . . . What could it have been?"
"That was a correcaminos, senor. A roadrunner. That's what they call those birds around
here."
Conversation between burro driver and Juan
Dialogue is structured such that it makes it difficult to follow who is really talking
Quote 3 and 4
"Pedro Páramo made readers aware of the disquieting presence of a dying but not quite dead traditional Mexico..."
"The novel communicates to readers the experience of uncertainty, the suspicion that something is there you do not quite believe. The novel evokes for readers the experience of being haunted"
"We see through Juan's eyes and hear with his ears the voices of those buried in the cemetery, a reading experience that evokes the poetic obituaries of Edgar Lee Masters' Spoon River Anthology (1915). Along with Juan Preciado, readers piece together these fragments of lives to construct an image of Comala and its demise"

Quote 5
Quote 6
Quote 7
Takeaway
"Sounds. Voices. Murmurs. Distant singing: My sweetheart gave me a lace-bordered handkerchief to dry my tears . . . High voices. As if it were women singing.
I watched the carts creaking by. The slowly moving oxen. The crunching of stones beneath the wheels. The men, seeming to doze.
. . . Every morning early the town trembles from the passing carts. They come from everywhere, loaded with niter, ears of corn, and fodder" (Rulfo 25)
"Empty carts, churning the silence of the streets. Fading into the dark road of night. And shadows. The echo of shadows.
I thought of leaving. Up the hill I could sense the track I had followed when I came, like an open wound through the blackness of the mountains" (Rulfo 25)
Switches back and forth from imagery to flashback
Hard to distinguish whether his emotions or his reason is speaking
" My illusions made me live longer than I should have. And
that was the price I paid to find my son, who in a manner of speaking was just one more illusion. Because I never had a son. Now that I'm dead I've had time to think and understand. God never gave me so much as a nest to shelter my baby in. Only an endless lifetime of dragging myself from pillar to post, sad eyes casting sidelong glances, always looking past people, suspicious that this one or that one had hidden my baby from me" (Rulfo 33)
Juan is dead however reader is still hearing his perspective
Shows the importance of the spirits of the dead within novel
"Pedro Paramo stood there, his face empty of expression, as if he were far away.
Somewhere beyond his consciousness, his thoughts were racing, unformed, 38
disconnected. At last he said:
"I'm beginning to pay. The sooner I begin, the sooner I'll be through."
He felt no sorrow" (Rulfo 37, 38)
Reader is able to gain insight into Pedro's emotions
Adds another perspective and to the labyrinth style writing
"Pedro Paramo was sitting in an old chair beside the main door of the Media Luna a little
before the last shadow of night slipped away. He had been there, alone, for about three
hours. He didn't sleep anymore. He had forgotten what sleep was, or time. "We old folks
don't sleep much, almost never. We may drowse, but our mind keeps working. That's the
only thing I have left to do"
Time when Susana dies and he chooses to live an idle, and solitary life
Focus is shifted onto Pedro after Juan's passing
Structure of novel is fragmented, with multiple narrators
Each spirit has a different story to tell, leading Juan on a different path
Juan transforms from human in seek or something to dead with no purpose
Literary Discussion Questions
1. Does the fragmented structure of this novel help or hinder the reader's understanding of the novel holistically?
2. To what extent is Rulfo successful at portraying the repercussions of the Mexican Revolution?
3. What does the existence of structure bring to society?
4. Will humans be able to function without structure? What are the benefits or detriments?
5. How can we as readers interpret the confusion throughout the novel? What is Rulfo's purpose for this?

Works Cited
1. Anderson, Danny J. "The Ghosts of Comala: Haunted Meaning in Pedro Páramo." A Special Introduction to Rulfo's Pedro Paramo from the University of Texas Press. University of Texas Austin, n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014. <http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/excerpts/rulped-intro.html>.
2. "Literary Terms." Literary Terms. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 Dec. 2014. <http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/english/melani/lit_term.html>.

Literary Criticism
(Continued)
"The textual structure weaves together these two story lines through a series of fragments. Readers may easily follow the alternation between the two story lines through the alternating narrative voices. In various fragments, Juan Preciado narrates in the first person his journey to Comala, his futile search for his father, and his own death. Partway through the novel, readers make a jarring discovery: we are overhearing a dialogue. Juan's conversational partner changes roles and enters the scene to fill in gaps, ask questions, and offer opinions about Juan's tale. Alongside this dialogue of the dead, a more traditional third-person omniscient narrator traces the biography of Pedro Páramo from childhood to death in the other fragments"
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