pedro paramo - Professor Theda Wrede English 3400 10 April...

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Professor Theda Wrede English 3400 10 April 2016 Oppression and Sin Throughout Pedro Paramo there is a strong sense of religion that appears conflicted. The Mexican people have a strong focus on the dead and still hold beliefs in indigenous spiritualism, even though they were converted to Catholicism in the sixteenth century. Throughout time Mexico has faced many wars, fighting for independence and land. During these wars the churches often either rose or fell in power. Woman during these hundreds of years of chaos have remained oppressed by most present-day standards. Through the reflection of sin, closely correlated to the nine layers of hell, Juan Rulfo is able to show an audience the devastating effects of colonialism in Pedro Paramo. Neocolonialism often seems to be concerned with creating or finding a Utopia. According to Susan Savage Lee, “…the protagonists seek out Mexico as a means of developing their interior beings. More importantly, the location of Mexico as the protagonists’ ultimate destination allows for the novels to play out the neocolonial legacy of U.S./Mexican imperial history through the characters’ utopian visions of landscape,” (152). Essentially, Juan Preciado, the main narrator of the story, is seeking out this idealistic place that has been put into his mind by his mother. She had previously explained the beauty of this place that she loved to him many times, as the reader can grasp by the many italicized moments that Juan is hearing his mother’s voice explaining the landscape. For example on page 4 Juan remembers his mother’s voice saying, “Just as you pass the gate of Los Colimotes there’s a beautiful view of a green plain
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tinged with the yellow of ripe corn. From there you can see Comala, turning the earth white, and lighting it at night,” (Rulfo 4). Upon arriving at this Utopia, described by his mother, Juan realizes that the area is nothing but a very hot, desolate wasteland. It is hardly the utopian paradise he had pictured in his mind. The setting of Comala is described as hell and even getting there Juan had to turn at a crossroads and then descend for a very long time. Comala is described on page 6 as, “that town sits on the coals of the earth, at the very mouth of hell,” (Rulfo 6). It seems that Juan as the narrator has found himself in a purgatory, where others in the area had committed many sins related to the nine layers of hell. Juan’s coming to purgatory is directly referenced on page 61, “go rest a while more on earth, my daughter, and try to be good so that your time in purgatory will be shortened,” (Rulfo 61). This statement comes from a dream by a woman in Comala. Many times throughout the book Juan breaks away from being the traditional narrator and we hear the voices of ghosts or memories being broadcasted in snippets.
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