With his portrayal of the novel's two main characters Senders clearly shows us that while society does have a substantial role in influencing how we choose to live our lives, there are certain human traits that are inherent from birth. While the novel's characters are clearly symbolic of various social archetypes in Spain at the time, a novel of purely social critique could not reach the depths of human behaviour as this novel does, most specifically as the novel's two main characters, Msen Milln and Paco el del Molino, do.
'Rquiem por un campesino espaol' is in part a reflection of experiences lived by Senders during childhood and young adulthood in Spain. On various opportunities the novelist claimed that he was greatly affected by a visit in childhood to a cave much like the one in the novel (Mgica, E, p. 2). Senders was as captivated by historical influences as human existence and he claimed that, "'Lo que hay que hacer [. . .] no es actuar como hombres de una clase social sino como ser humano elemental y genrico.'" (qtd in Ramn J. Sender novelista y crtico 1901-1982) Which leads us to conclude that, "a Sender le interesaba un proceso de inversin metafsica a travs del cual subrayaba las fuerzas elementales que subyacen en las acciones humanas." (Ramn J. Sender novelista y crtico 1901-1982)
It is important to note that this small masterpiece is not written in the heat of the moment but rather some fifteen years later. This would provide time enough for Senders to think on the terrible moments he passed during the civil war, including the executions without trial of his wife and his brother. While Senders was in exile he claimed that he would not return to Spain until all of his works were published, a promise he made good upon. When he did return to Spain he surprised the anxious Spanish populace and his admirers "por su anticomunismo, su defense del 'american way of life', su autodefinicion como anarquista cristiano y su rechazo a pronunciarse sobre la situacion poltica espaol." (Betriu, F 2001)
Social Structure in Spain
Set in early twentieth century Spain 'Rquiem por un campesino espaol' is a testimony of the process leading up to the advent of the Second Republic and subsequently the Spanish revolution. It is a time when the semi feudal practice of los bienes de seorio are still firmly entrenched and Paco el del Molino is fated to enter into a struggle for the land with a duke he has never seen and will never see.
"Vamos a sacar la hierba al duque (p. 18)."
This proclamation sums up the plot of Sender's most acclaimed work. Here we see the struggle between two sectors of society, those who wished for change in Spain and those conservative elements of society who greatly feared change, most specifically with regard to agrarian reform. In Sender's novel we see a Spain dominated by the old order and great inequalities.
The rise to power of the Republicans would result in the short-lived redistribution of lands and rebellion against practices that dated back to medieval times. It is a time when Paco optimistically claims, "parece que a los duques les ha llegado su San Martin (p. 19)." Yet, Paco's optimism soon finds its end when the landholding class, the church and the military unite alongside the rise in facism.
Probably the scene that best represents the deep social divisions takes place during Paco's wedding. In the midst of festivity and under the