Academic journal article Romance Notes

Thakkar, Amit. the Fiction of Juan Rulfo: Irony, Revolution and Postcolonialism

Academic journal article Romance Notes

Thakkar, Amit. the Fiction of Juan Rulfo: Irony, Revolution and Postcolonialism

Article excerpt

Thakkar, Amit. The Fiction of Juan Rulfo: Irony, Revolution and Postcolonialism. Woodbridge: Tamesis, 2012. 181 pp.

Juan Rulfo is a well-studied author about whom many critics have eagerly written, provoked by the plethora of themes to be found in his internationally popular works. Amit Thakkar's new critical investigation, The Fiction of Juan Rulfo: Irony, Revolution and Postcolonialism, which is thematically divided into six chapters, continues the series of criticism in a careful analysis of Juan Rulfo's El llano en llamas (1953) and Pedro Paramo (1955). In his study, Thakkar reaffirms previous criticism from a post-colonialist perspective, and also demonstrates how Rulfo uses centripetal and centrifugal irony to engage the reader and allude to the socially problematic discourse of post-Revolutionary Mexico.

The first chapter of the text serves as an extended introduction for the reader, in which Thakkar discusses the context of twentieth century skepticism in which Rulfo's works were published, and clarifies a working definition of irony. The critic eagerly expands on this foundation in the second chapter, analyzing Rulfo's short stories "Nos han dado la tierra" and "El dia del derrumbe" to demonstrate how Rulfo uses bathos and catachresis in his formation of centripetal irony. Thakkar also indicates how both stories actively engage the reader due to Rulfo's break with traditional epic and comic forms in his "rejection of established narrative norms" (40). Thakkar concludes the chapter with a comparison of Rulfo's works with Machado's Memorias postumas de Bras Cubas, in which he argues that Rulfo's use of an ironic tone rather than a satirical one is a decisive factor in the international popularity of his texts.

The third chapter introduces Rulfo's use of centrifugal irony to discuss post-revolutionary rhetoric within the theme of national unity, specifically in the spheres of ethnic or racial relations, the family, and the rural community. The critic reminds his reader of the irony's social context by analyzing various social reforms of the post-revolutionary state, and uses three different works by Rulfo (Pedro Paramo, "Acuerdate," and "La Cuesta de las Comadres") as evidence of the specifically anti-nationalist irony. Thakkar plays with the problem of hierarchal relations of the rural community and also repeatedly returns to the undoubtedly popular theme of violence in Rulfo's fiction, focusing on the concept of the "normality of everyday violence" (64). As a point of transition, the critic suggests that Rulfo's use of violence represents not only the turbulent relationship between the post-Revolutionary urban state and the rural community, but also the continuation of the colonialist trend of violence within the patriarchal rural society.

Thakkar delves further into the effect of a surviving colonialist perspective within the urban-rural relations of post-Revolutionary Mexico in his analysis of the story "Luvina" (in Chapter Four). The critic juxtaposes the civilized urban "Self" and the barbaric rural "Other" of the Mexican peasantry in the post-Revolutionary government's condescending attempts to "civilize" the countryside. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.