El Matadero Essay

1210 WordsMay 6, 20135 Pages
El matadero is a short story that conveys Echeverría’s socio-political worries about the state of Argentina during Rosas’ dictatorship. The author particularly focuses on the cruelty of Federalist barbarians living in the countryside outside of the civilised society of Buenos Aires where gauchos and caudillos governed las pampas. At the centre of the story Echeverría displays the distinction between civilisation and barbarism which initially reflects the war between the Unitarians and the Federalists. Before examining the portrayal of barbarism one must understand that barbarians are usually uncivilised and uncultured individuals, however, in a figurative manner a ‘barbarian’ could represent a brutal and vicious person without any empathy or morals, just like the Federalists in the story. Similarly, Sarmiento’s Facundo resembles El matadero as the writer explores the dichotomy between civilisation and barbarism also criticising Rosas’ tyranny. In order to analyse the portrayal of barbarism in El matadero I will look at the background of Argentina’s politics and Echeverría’s influences. Next, I will study the way in which Echeverría employs language to represent barbarism. And lastly, I will examine how he uses symbolism and allegory which appear to be the most essential devices in the story. Echeverría started his political protest through literature on coming back from Paris to the ruthless regime of Rosas, whose chaotic leadership led to dreadful murders of the Unitarists. The contrast between the liberal France and the tyranny in Argentina was striking. Echeverría joined a group of intellectuals called Asosación de Mayo, who were strongly influenced by Romanticism, a philosophical movement originated in Europe. Echeverría believed Romanticism was “liberalism in literature”, to quote the words of Victor Hugo. He, therefore, applied Romantic devices in El matadero

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