THE SOUND OF SILENCE: VOICES OF THE MARGINALIZED IN CRISTINA PACHECO'S NARRATIVE
In her ceaseless visitation of the marginalized barrios of Mexico City, Cristina Pacheco gathers for her middle-class readers an astonishing variety of images of underprivileged citizens who somehow get on with life amid crushing poverty, violence, and neglect. Her stark descriptions of that world include frankly horrendous scenes, such as that of the murderously self-centered man who kills his wife by dragging her out of the hospital too soon or of the abused child-man taking revenge upon a mother whom age has at last placed in his power. The dramatism of these representations is of an archaic line, emoting the fixed rigidity of a ceremonial tableau or medieval woodcut. This is Mexican Kabuki, presenting highly stylized symbols of wretchedness as the still-and-always most genuine of national traits. Her characters, often unidentified, always interchangeable, offer the murmurs, sobs, and futile gestures of the living dead. In Pacheco, the changeless, eternal vitality of oppression and misery are transferred from the widowed town of Agustín Yáñez Al filo del agua and the phantasmal village of Juan Rulfo Pedro Páramo to the contemporary urban wasteland.
Pacheco primes our reception of this view of a paralyzed society. She states that she has "listened to the stories of the people, seen their heroic and ignored struggle, witnessed their oppression, marginalization and eternal hope" (back cover SF) 1; informs that her stories emerge from the artful addition of her own experiences and imagination to journalistic testimony, and specifies her creative task as that of presenting "a show of solidarity with the people to whom I belong, a testimony of these difficult years and also a means of capturing the styles of life, the symbols, popular speech and last defenses of Mexican men and women who, ever more dispossessed and impoverished, can now feed themselves only with the traditional noodle soup" (back cover SF). Allied in
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Publication information: Book title: The Other Mirror:Women's Narrative in Mexico, 1980-1995. Contributors: Kristine Ibsen - Editor. Publisher: Greenwood Press. Place of publication: Westport, CT. Publication year: 1997. Page number: 133.
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