Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

Power Relations: Mario Vargas LIosa's the Feast of the Goat

Academic journal article Studies in Literature and Language

Power Relations: Mario Vargas LIosa's the Feast of the Goat

Article excerpt

Abstract

The notion of 'power' is one of the most debatable notions in sociological studies, and this is because of its inevitable presence in social relations and interactions. In all his relations within the society, man can feel the influence of power, either as the one in power or as the powerless one. Power does not exist in vacuum and it should be considered in relation with other social concepts such as class, race, gender, space, etc. Along with these concepts, different embodiments of power in the society can be revealed and different models of exercising of power will be formed. One of the most directly related notions to power is the notion of 'politics'. What allows politicians to use different policies is power and what gives them power to fulfill their will and impose their own desire and interests on the other is politics. The other concept which serves these two notions is 'discourse'. It is obvious that without 'discourse' and 'language' the existence of 'power' and 'politics' is only a probability, because 'discourse' is the means of exercising the power and applying the politics. Thus, here is a triangle of 'power', 'politics', and 'discourse'. In this regard, a very brief historical overview of power is given. The base of discussion and analysis in this article is the different forms of power according to S. Westwood's Power and the Social. This article explores the relation between the three angles of the mentioned triangle in Liosa's The Feast of The Goat, a dictator-historical novel set in Dominican Republic. This study investigates various shapes of power exercised by Dominican dictator Rafael Leónidas Trujillo through politics and discourse.

Key words: Power; Race; Class; Gender; Space; Vision; S. Westwood; Mario Vargas LIosa; The Feast of the Goat

INTRODUCTION

Jorge Mario Pedro Vargas Llosa (born March 28, 1936) is a Peruvian-Spanish writer, politician, journalist, essayist, and Nobel Prize laureate. Vargas Llosa is one of Latin America's most significant novelists and essayists, and one of the leading authors of his generation. Some critics consider him to have had a larger international impact and worldwide audience than any other writer of the Latin American Boom. He was awarded the 2010 Nobel Prize in Literature for his cartography of structures of power and his trenchant images of the individual's resistance, revolt, and defeat. Political aspect of LIosa's life also does worth consideration. As it is stated in Cevallos' (1991), like many Latin American authors, Vargas Llosa has been politically active throughout his career. Over the course of his life, he has gradually moved from the political left towards the right. While he initially supported the Cuban revolutionary government of Fidel Castro, Vargas Llosa later became disenchanted. He ran for the Peruvian presidency in 1990 with the center-right Frente Democrático (FREDEMO) coalition, advocating neoliberal reforms. He has subsequently supported moderate conservative candidates (pp.267-268). According to Parker (2007), Vargas Llosa's style encompasses historical material as well as his own personal experiences. Vargas Llosa frequently uses his writing to challenge the inadequacies of society, such as demoralization and oppression by those in political power towards those who challenge this power. One of the main themes he has explored in his writings is the individual's struggle for freedom within an oppressive reality. In addition to themes such as corruption and oppression, Vargas Llosa deals with issues of abuse and exploitation of the workers in the brothel by corrupt military officers (para.5). The Feast of the Goat, one of the most brilliant novels of Mario Vargas LIosa, was first published in Spanish in 2000 and the English version was published in 2001. The fiction is the history of Dominican Republic and its dictator Rafael Leonidas Trujillo. Though his regime was broadly nationalist, Daniel Chirot comments that he had "no particular ideology" and that his economic and social policies were basically progressive. …

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