Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (Hon.)


School of Community and Language Studies


Western Australian College of Advanced Education

First Advisor

Francisco Martinez


The aim of this study is to demonstrate a particular aspect of Camilo Jose Cela’s writing, that is, his sympathy and concern for the underprivileged and those people alienated from the mainstream of society. It will thereby endeavour to reveal Cela’s deep understanding of the human condition. This thesis analyses four of Cela’s works, namely, La familia de Pascual, La calmena, Viole a la Alcarria and San Camilo 36 and compares two of them, La calmeno and San Camilo 36. The study concludes with a detailed look Cela's treatment of humanitarian issues, a literary quality that explains why this author is the most popular and widely read contemporary Spanish novelist. During his long and prolific literary career spanning more than half a century and resulting in the publication of more than seventy volumes, he has always been an innovative and restless spirit. His search for new ways to express his ideas has sent him down very different paths to that of the conventional story teller. His first novel, La familia de Pascual Duarte, the personal account of an uneducated peasant condemned to death for murder, shocked the reading public. In the primitive figure of Pascual Duarte, terrible brutality contrasts with a gentle sense of beauty. The violence or ‘tremendismo’ of this novel greatly influenced Spanish novel writing of the time. La colmena, more than any other novel of his, demonstrates the social or humanitarian aspect of Cela's work. Here is a socio-historical tapestry revealing the poverty stricken state of a section of Madrid society in the bleak year of 1942. Viale a la Alcarria, the first of Cela' s journeys through regional Spain, is unlike other travel books. It is full of character studies and anecdotes, viewed in their rural setting. It discloses a long-suffering acceptance of the neglected state of the region by the bureaucracy. San Camilo 36 like La colmena, presents a broad frieze of Madrid life. It focuses on the days immediately surrounding the outbreak of the Spanish Civil War. It is an impartial look at the different political factions whose fanaticism fueled the fighting. The descriptions of the death and putrefaction resulting from the conflict apply universally to all wars. Cela, with his fine eye for detail, draws characters which are immediately recognisable. Their story comes to life, coloured by Cela’s imaginative language. The only subtle social comment is made by way of his roguish and ironic humour. The reader, stunned by the injustice of the situation, the neglect, the shame, or the horror, as the case may be, must draw his own conclusions.


Abstract in English, text in Spanish.