Rulfos Narrative Techniques & Characterizations of Humanity in El Llano de Llamas

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Juan Rulfo's short stories in 'El Llano de Llamas' provide vivid illustrations of the complexity of the individual. Although Rulfo often utilizes extremes - harsh environments, difficult circumstances, and out of the ordinary characters - it is through the combination of these elements that he is able to write protagonists with the potential to show their humanity to the reader.


Rulfo attained most of his acclaim through his 1955 publication of Pedro Pramo. Yet many literary critics have thought that the genius of Rulfo's works are within his short stories, where "the elaboration of a single event of the introspection of a single character allows him to illuminate the meaning, often the utter despair, of a man's life" (Schade, p.ix). Rulfo utilizes secondary characters, often family members, to cause reactions from the protagonists. By this, we access the protagonists' humanity.
In 'Macario,' character is accessed through use of time and place: the story and its events are chaotic. Macario is an individual, but impossible to understand for his complexity. His ideas and perceptions are contrasted with their opposites, all two thousand words of this piece's prose run in one single paragraph. It's difficult for the reader to orientate themselves within the text. More importantly, it is impossible to distinguish Macario's perception of the outside world, the frogs, the toads, Grandmother, Felipa, food, starvation, etc.
There is no second character's point of view given within 'Macario' to counter the ideas or impressions stated. There's no one else's dialogue. Readers must take the information and the character as he is and interpret Macario's life, time and place as he gives it. ...
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