Juan Rulfo and João Guimarães Rosa stand at a literary crossroads, the intersection where traditional regionalists and celebrated Boom-era novelists meet. Although Rulfo and Guimarães Rosa chose the Mexican Llano Grande and the Brazilian sertão of Minas Gerais as the settings of their most celebrated novels, they go far beyond the techniques of traditional regionalism by distancing themselves from their national literatures. They universalize their narratives by incorporating universal religious themes, including the symbol of the cross. The symbol of the cross/crossroad has been analyzed and alluded to in a handful of essays on Pedro Páramo and Grande sertão: Veredas but has never been applied comparatively or in depth, beyond a connection to Hermes, Greek god of the crossroads. Rulfo and Guimarães Rosa use the spatial organizing power of the cross-and by extension, the crossroad-to highlight the importance of racial and religious mixing to Mexican and Brazilian identity, determine narrative structure, and strengthen mythic, religious, and epic themes. The motif allows the reader to transcend (although not eradicate) a geographical conception of setting. Instead, the reader recognizes the construction of a mythic space that intertwines national history with primordial creation stories, modern heroes, and ancient religious symbols.
College and Department
Humanities; Spanish and Portuguese
BYU ScholarsArchive Citation
Blackhurst, Faith Arianna, "The Mediation of the Cross: Spatiality and Syncretism in Pedro Páramo and Grande sertão: Veredas" (2019). Theses and Dissertations. 7491.
Juan Rulfo, João Guimarães Rosa, cross, crossroads, spatiality, syncretism, religion