Date of Award

2000

Degree Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts Honours

School

School of International, Cultural and Community Studies

Faculty

Faculty of Community Services, Education and Social Sciences

Abstract

Pasos y Pasajeros marked a transition from Uslar Pietri’s previous stories. Whilst retaining his accustomed rural geographical environment and civil war historical environment for some stories, he introduces us to urban landscapes and contemporary settings in many others. The anonymity of time and places in earlier works, gives way to defined places, periods and social environments, perhaps reflecting the evolution of Venezuela from a subsistence agrarian economy to a fledgling urban society, enabled by the exploitation of the country's oil reserves. In the works of Uslar Pietri, several themes predominate. Death and identity are two themes explored in this thesis, each as important and timeless in literature as in life. Death: The short stories of Arturo Uslar Pietri confront us with the reality of death, but deny us the opportunity to glibly dismiss it. By constructing his stories to be open-ended, Uslar Pietri deprives us of the closure we need unless we ourselves construct it. His stories do not resolve themselves in the last paragraph and we are faced with a dilemma - whether to abandon the investment we have made in reading the story, or to make the further investment of confronting the themes of the story and constructing our own conclusion. Thus Uslar Pietri entices us to bring our values and preconceptions to his literary crucible. Identity: Latin American identity often defined by mestizaje, the great fusion of European, indigenous and African cultures said to have taken place over the last five hundred years. Uslar Pietri typically presents his characters as of no defined racial background, just as most of his settings are broadly undefined. The universal Mestizo is the clay from which his figures are moulded. Another important aspect of identity is that of gender identity. In the context of a society viewed from outside as machista, Uslar Pictri's female protagonists are portrayed on a remarkably even, if not superior footing to their male counterparts. In 1949, Uslar Pietri returned to Venezuela from six years in exile in the US. Although he was not directly exposed to the social ferment of early American feminists of the 1960's, his presentation of women is well ahead of his time and place. Conclusion: Through his stories, Uslar Pietri provokes the reader to ponder the human condition, and to consider the possibility of extracting from life as much as you can by contributing as much as you are able. This could be seen to be a metaphor for the author's own life of service both to his fellow countryman, and his fellow human beings. A continuing contribution which he invites us to share with him

Comments

Abstract in English, Text in Spanish

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