Term Paper: Jean Franco's Argument

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Jean Franco's Argument

Jean Franco has argued that in Rulfo's stories, the "feminine...articulates the qualities of survival, love and common-sense which have been destroyed by machismo." This paper argues in favor of this statement, and looks at two stories written by Juan Rulfo i.e. "Macario" and "Tell them not to kill me!" Juan Rulfo's story, Macario, is told by and from the perspective of a simple-minded Mexican boy whose age is unclear. The fact that the main character is also the voice of the narrator allows the narration itself to become very intimate and personal. The boy is caught between two very strong feminine figures. Although opposite, his Grandmother and Felipa represent the two figures in his life, but also a cause for tension and conflict in Macario's mind because despite the fact that he does not realize the opposition, he feels it. The Grandmother represents authority and discipline as she runs the household. The Grandmother's moral code of behavior is dictated by the Bible; she is very religious, and uses fear hoping to correct and control the boy's sinful behavior. The other feminine influence on Macario is Felipa, who, on the other hand, is gentle and nurturing.

Felipa is the character which possesses the qualities of survival and love which help Macario in his struggle with his fears: "Felipa used to come every night to the room where I sleep, and snuggle up to me, leaning over me, or a little to one side" (Rulfo: 5). The hunger that Macario refers to on several occasions is in fact, nothing more than a hunger for love and comfort which he says can never be satisfied: "They say a person does get filled up eating, but I know very well that I don't even though I eat all they give me" (Rulfo: 3). Food is a mere metaphor for his desire to be loved and accepted both by his Grandmother i.e. authority, and by the villagers i.e. society. However, the only love and nurturing that he receives is from Felipa who seems to possess all of the qualities that the other characters lack completely. Macario's mind operates in a simple manner which gives the narration a very clear tone and language as he unfolds his life to the reader while sitting by the sewer. The character-narrator uses a very suggestive comparison in order to illustrate the opposition between the Grandmother and Felipa by comparing the latter's eyes with a frog - which Macario notes that is good to eat, whereas the Grandmother's eyes remind him of a toad, black and bad to eat.

In the case of the story Macario, Rulfo opposes the qualities of Felipa, the archetype of femininity, to those of the Grandmother who illustrates the authority and harshness of a role that has been traditionally associated with that of the father. The kindness and gentleness of Felipa seem shattered under the weight the Grandmother's strictness and evilness as Macario fears the latter, and obeys her orders. However, one cannot imagine Macario's life without the protection and comfort offered by Felipa. In fact, although the boy is sitting by the sewer waiting for the frogs to come out i.e. complying with his Grandmother's order to get rid of the animals because they are too noisy and she cannot sleep, his thoughts run to Felipa, and… [END OF PREVIEW]

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Jean Franco's Argument.  (2008, April 6).  Retrieved July 21, 2019, from https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/jean-franco-argument/41818

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https://www.essaytown.com/subjects/paper/jean-franco-argument/41818.