An Archetypal Study Of Pedro Paramo

1529 words - 6 pages

​With its complex structure, following the characters of Pedro Paramo is no easy feat. Its heterglossic nature requires readers to attentively channel all of their focus into the narrator, making it difficult to follow individual character development or relationships. However, using the archetypes of Mexican men and women, as revealed in Octavio Paz’s “The Labyrinth of Solitude,” helps aid in the understanding of Pedro’s relationships formed between men and women as he both subscribes the archetypes and breaks them down.
​In order to understand these relationships, a basic understanding of Paz’s analysis of Mexican men and women must be reviewed. According to Paz, Mexican men must always be unyielding figures who are “never to ‘crack,’ never to back down” as “opening oneself is a weakness” (Paz 30). For this reason, the Mexican man must always put up a hard exterior, often becoming “closed up in himself” (Paz 31). As the man becomes more “manly” he becomes more powerful by excluding himself from those around him and protecting himself. The Mexican woman is traditionally a submissive creature because women “open themselves up” (Paz 30) which is, as stated, a weakness. She becomes a “reflection of masculine will and desire” as she has no power and often must exercise “feminine modesty” (Paz 35). Women are “domesticated wild animal[s]” and their “’place is in the home’” (Paz 36). With this basic understanding of the archetypes, an analysis of Pedro’s relations can be conducted, starting with his relations with other men.
​As one of the richest and most powerful men in Comala, Pedro works above many of the other men in the novel. He sets himself up as the “head honcho” and doesn’t allow other men to become his equal. This is evident when Aldrete, a landowner near Pedro, begins to build fences “‘in order to establish property lines” (Rulfo 37). By doing this, Aldrete is seen as “taking” land from Pedro and now poses as a threat to Pedro’s empire. However, Pedro is entirely unconcerned with these fences and forcefully claims “‘[t]hey’re not going to be any fences’” (Rulfo 37). Part of the reason for his assertive actions towards other men is because Pedro embraces the “macho man” concept, as Paz calls it. With this, Pedro has a tendency to “emphasize defensiveness, the readiness to repel any attack” (Paz 31). As a Mexican macho, Pedro must approach relationships formed with other men with suspicion, as any sort of confidante or act of opening up is considered to be an “abdication” (Paz 30). The most notable example of this is when Fulgor, one of Pedro’s most important male relations, and Pedro initially acquaint themselves with one another as they both are guarded. After Fulgor omits the “don” while talking to Pedro, he responds by specifically telling him “‘don’t forget the don’” to which Fulgor immediately takes offense as he doesn’t believe “the boy...was to speak to him like that” (Rulfo 35). The tense exchange between the two represents how both...

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