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Parallels Of Latin American Culture

There is an uncountable amount of references of Latin American culture found within the
literature, Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo, and No One Writes To the Colonel by Gabriel
Garcia Marquez. The question is; can the reader whose cultural experiences are based in
the United States of American relate and make relevant to themselves the aspects of Latin
American Culture? Through the comparison of sport, such as cock-fighting, a Latin
American pastime, The roles of a small town vs. a large urban American city, and the part
the Patron plays in the community, it can be seen that the United States reader does not
have the Latin American experiences necessary to easily relate to many of the situations
presented in the texts.

Cock-fighting is an important sport in No On Writes to the Colonel, and is referred
to many times through out the book. Cock-fighting is used as a means for economic gain
and an improvement in one’s standing in the community. Cock-fighting in the story is
viewed in different lights. To some, the fights represent the risk of gambling and the
decaying state of the society. These people would see the violent and greedy nature of the
sport as the people’s last resort for economic stability with a high price to pay; morals and
decency. The other side of the spectrum would view the sport as a highly entertaining
pastime that has monetary as well as social benefits. A man could become rich and
respected off the fighting ability of his trained animal. Interestingly enough there is a
highly similar sport in the United States that faces these exact clashing viewpoints; for
example, the highly regarded and disregarded sport of professional wrestling. One side of
the United State’s population would cite this activity as an immoral and disgusting sport
that feeds on the lust for money and violence of a lower-class group of individuals.
However, the opposing side views it merely as a good laugh and an easy and entertaining
outlet for mans inscrutable appetite for gambling. These two parallels between Latin
American culture as presented in these two texts and United States culture, obviously give
the U.S. reader the ability to make the situations and pastimes presented in the book
relevant to themselves.

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In Pedro Paramo , the plot is based around an extremely small and isolated town
named Comala, in the midst of the Mexican landscape. This setting is often presented in
Latin American literature because it is only there where small towns are isolated from each
other and the rest of the world because of barriers in the terrain and communication, as
well as tradition. The city of Comala, and isolated and desolate ghost city is not
questioned or uncommon when viewed in Latin American literature, however there is very
little like this to be found in the United States. The United States reader would know that
throughout the U.S. landmass even small distant cities are connected to the tangle of
communication, commerce and tourism that is America. It is because the U.S. reader has
never been in an environment as isolated and completely separated from a mainstream
society as seen in Comala in Pedro Paramo, it is hard to really relate to that type of
setting. This is one example of the vast differences between the two cultures that
interferes with the readers ability to connect with the relevance of some of the material in
Latin American literature.

One more example that demonstrates the effect that the differences in the cultures
of Latin American and the United States have on the readers ability to relate to the text, is
the role of a Patron in a community. Throughout both of the texts the Patron plays a very
important part. He is feared, he is respected and he is the corrupt owner of towns and
their inhabitants. In the Latin American culture it is not considered to be a monopolistic
type of situation, rather more of a community leader controlling the town. In a land of
free enterprise and a place where the government has control over the amount of control
that one person can have over the people, the readers in the United States have very little
to relate to when it comes to the role of the Patron. Although the Patron plays a very
solid role in Latin American society, there is very little comparison to something of that
sort in the U.S. Once again there seems to be one more difference in the cultures that
presents itself as a gap between the U.S. reader and the relation of situations in Latin
American Literature to situations in the reader’s own library of experiences.

Although we are provided with a few instances where the references to Latin
American culture, such as sport, are parallel to specific examples of United States culture,
there is still a vast amount of differences that cannot be compared. The setting of a small
completely isolated town such as Comala in Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo, for instance
cannot be paired with any strong similarities in U.S. culture that would have enough
substance to bring the two cultures into one underlying experience. This is also the same
with the highly visible and integral role of the Patron in Latin American culture in
comparison to the United States culture which boasts next to nothing that can be seen as a
comparison to the Patron. Pedro Paramo and No One Writes to the Colonel , simply do
not contain enough cultural examples that the U.S. reader can relate to though cultural
experiences found in the United States. Had either of the two works presented more
universal settings and traditions, The reader based in the cultural setting of main-stream
America would have been able to make to aspects of Latin American culture relevant to
themselves through personal experiences with United States culture.

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