1.- What is the moral of Palma’s story? What is the importance of keeping alive the oral tradition?
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“Where and How the devil lost his poncho” and “The Aleph”
At the end of the XIX century, the Romanticism was over and a new movement started. This period is called Costumbrismo. The authors during this time try to portray the culture, the society, the environment, the habits, etc. of the countries they were from. They though it was important to rescue the values, believes and oral stories that people did not use to write until that time. The love and pride for the country increased. These writers were trying to find and understand the meaning of being American. Remember that by this time, all countries had already proclaimed their independence from Spain and organized their government, but the problem of identity was still present. So they had to look into their roots and hold on to everything they were formed, so then they could understand the others.
Ricardo Palma (1833-1919) wrote Tradiciones Peruanas from 1875-1883. He was the director of the National Library in Peru. During that time he rescued all the historical documents that had been lost or burned during the war between Chile and his country, recovering with those documents the history and the culture of Peru. In his writings Ricardo uses and combines humor, satire, and suspense to tell the stories of the people of Peru. In the story we are going to read all of those elements are present, specially humor.
Some other writers from this time were Ruben Dario, Jose Marti, Manuel Gutierrez Najera, etc.
Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) is one of the most famous Latin American writers from the XX century. He was born in Argentina and his stories are difficult to read because of the complexity of the text. He uses different levels of writing, Borges plays not just with the language but also with the minds of the readers. The hero is not just the hero but he is also the murderer. There are different ways to get to a point, there is never just one, so the thinking process is always complex and never simple. He wrote poems, essays, short stories, and literary critics. Borge’s cosmovision shows a aseptic writer who dines to accept the absolute truth. Furthermore, he uses his own culture and extraordinary logical mind to make fun of anybody who depends from philosophical, scientific and mathematic systems when they explain something autonomous and inexplicable like reality. Borges sees the universe like a labyrinth or like the Babel library where it is absurd to try to find only one exit or only one book. And that is exactly what he uses in his writings.