, Research Paper
There are many fascinating stories in the collection of Contemporary Latin American Short Stories. Pat McNees, the editor of this book, has put together great short stories that catch many readers? attention and interests. Two stories that caught my eye and that I believe have many themes in common, are ?Talpa? and ? Yzur?. These two stories have many ideas and thoughts, that both authors share.
I recognized many similarities between these two stories concerning, success for their their loved one through hard work and suffering. For example, in the story Yzur written by Leopoldo Lugones, the narrator is conducting a study on a chimpanzee named Yzur, who he grew to love. He does everything he can to make Yzur talk, just like any human being. Therefore, he put many years into trying to teach Yzur to talk, believing someday he will. When Yzur finally had the strength to talk, the researcher was upset that he couldn?t repeat what he said in english and beat him. Yzur got sick because of his depression and later died. The researcher had become successful by achieving his goal, to help Yzur talk, but abused it by killing him in the long run. In this case, the researcher was successful through his hard work, but didn?t have enough proof that it was successful.
In the story of ? Talpa?, written by Juan Rulfo, the success of Natalia?s loved one, Tanilo, came by saving his soul. She and the narrator, Tanilo?s brother, had struggled to take their very sick relative to see the Virgin of Talpa, who at that time was performing miracles. Through their hard work of traveling for days, through the heat of the sun and the freezing nights, they had finally arrived at their destination. When arriving, Natalia and Tanilo?s brother felt a sigh of relief knowing that their loved one will be successful. By being with the Virgin of Talpa, Tanilo?s soul can be saved. But like ?Yzur? this success has a downfall, death.
This leads to another theme that is shared in both stories, death and suffering. As I had explained above, both Tanilo and Yzur suffered and died. Tanilo had a very deadly disease, that caused his corpse to smell like a dead body and made him suffer tremendously. His suffering was saved by his beautiful death, in front of the Virgin of Talpa. His death had great meaning to the story, because Tanilo died with his eyes open as if were looking at his own death. As for Yzur, he had also suffered a lot by trying to satisfy his master and talk. He tried and tried, but his words wouldn?t come out right. After trying for so long and knowing his master was not satisfied with his success, by beating him, he slowly died. Yzur?s death was meaningful because he actually spoke the english language saying ?Water Master. Master, my Master…? (p.38). Their deaths had saved both Tanilo and Yzur from suffering.
These two stories have, I believe two main contrasts. One of them is the differences in the environment and atmosphere. The short story of ?Talpa?, takes place in a city of Talpa in the state of Jalisco, Mexico. The weather was described as hot in the day and cold at night. There were many dusty roads that they had to go through, and while doing so, they met other people who are competing to arrive first at the Virgin of Talpa. The short story of ?Yzur? on the other hand, had a completely different environment. Yzur and his owner, seems like they stay in a nice house with a big, beautiful garden, so Yzur can be entertained. They were well off and even had their own cook, who had heard Yzur talk. These two stories have completely opposite environments.
Another main contrast is that the story of Talpa is based on a family relationship. This relationship was strong and they had all cared for each other. While on the other hand, Yzur and the researcher had also a strong love relationship, but I saw it more as good mutual friendship. The relationships are different, which make these stories more interesting.
The literary styles in both stories were told in the first person point of view. Both narrator?s are in the story and are telling it from their point of view. Plus another interesting style that I recognized, was that we never found out the names of the narrators. Since it was told from a first person point of view it was harder to be able to get their names.
In ?Yzur? the gender roles weren?t that important as in the story of ?Talpa?. In ?Talpa?, Natalia and Tanilo?s brother, both had a strong role, who had to see their love one slowly suffer and die. Both, in way, had a masculine role because they had to be strong in carrying Tanilo for 20 days and never giving up. Tanilo had more of a feminine role. He was the weak one, who was needed to be cared for. In ?Yzur? their roles I believe had no great effect on the way the story was portrayed. It is difficult to describe their gender roles. Both are males, human and animal. They are strong and cared for each other.
These stories, as you can see, share many thoughts and ideas that make these short stories adventurous to read. Comparing these stories shows how many of these collections can also share the same themes.