Writing Style

Characterize and Show Effect


  • Fragmentary structure: non-linear sequencing through flashbacks
  • Alternating narrative voices tell an objective "historical" story
  • Echoes of orality through dialogue
  • Details heavy with meaning to engage & confuse reader
  • Mixture of sparse language & poetic language
Transformed the representation of rural life; different from social realism that was dominant prior to the novel but still tells an objective "historical" story of the destruction of Comala and its demise.

Engagement Activity

Describe the video in three sentences. What does that reveal about the video? About yourself?
Kid Can't Kick Ball


"I had come in her place. I was seeing things through her eyes, as she had seen them. She had given me her eyes to see," (Rulfo 4).

"I am lying in the same bed where my mother died so long ago; on the same mattress, beneath the same black wool coverlet she wrapped us in to sleep." (Rulfo 75)

"Years later Father Renteria would remember the night when his hard bed had kept him awake and driven him outside. It was the night Miguel Paramo died," (Rulfo 68).

"Pedro Paramo's last wife. Some say she was crazy. Some say not. The truth is that she talked to herself even when she was alive," (Rulfo 78).

"The day you went away I knew I would never see you again. You were stained red by the late afternoon sun, by the dusk filling the sky with blood," (Rulfo 20).

"The woman's body was made of earth, layered in crusts of earth; it was crumbling, melting into a pool of mud. I felt myself swimming in the sweat streaming from her body, and I couldn't get enough air to brathe. I got out of bed. She was sleeping." (Rulfo 57).

"'Leave that for later. You're not to worry about fences. There're not going to be any fences. The land's not divided...For now, first thing, set it up with Lola. Sure you won't sit down?'

'I will, don Pedro. God's truth, I'm beginning to like working with you.'

'You string Lola a line, and tell her I lover her. That's important.'" (Rulfo 37).

Literary Criticism

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Connection to Art

  • Tone: Somber
  • Black & white to show somber mood - dry deserted terrain,
  • Created in response to the bombing of Guernica by Picasso in 1937 by depicting the damage done to the innocent civilians & serves as anti-war piece.
  • Pedro Paramo was narrated on the growth on ghost cities following Mexico's economic development due to WWII investment opportunities. Many were in search of their fathers in the 1950s. Stories of demise of Comala, frustrations of Susana San Juan, battling own ghosts, reasons for unequal social order etc.
  • Woman grieving child in arms overlooked by bull, horse (civilians) run through javelin, open palm of soldier - martydom.
  • Several narratives combined in one room through fracturing - similar structure to PP.


Through the use of a mixture of lyrical and direct language, dialogue, ambiguity, multiple POVs, and flashbacks, Rulfo engages the reader by requiring them to extract story lines and delivers a comprehensive narration.

In doing this, he's able to reveal the process of Comala's downfall following WW2.


1. If the book had been written in chronological order, would that alter the reader's understanding of the book?

2. Does incorporating several perspectives allow for a contribute or detract from the purpose of the book?

3. How does the way we package our arguments affect how willing people are able to accept them?

4. What factors influence Rulfo's writing style & would it have been different if his experiences were different?

5. How do the writing style of Rulfo, Camus, Cheng, and Dostoevsky differ & why were they suited/not suited for the novels' purposes?


"The Ghosts of Comala: Haunted Meaning in Pedro Páramo." A Special Introduction to Rulfo's Pedro Paramo from the University of Texas Press. N.p., n.d. Web. 02 Dec. 2014. <http://www.utexas.edu/utpress/excerpts/rulped-intro.html#2>.

"Guernica (painting)." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 30 Nov. 2014. Web. 02 Dec. 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Guernica_%28painting%29>.