Theme and form in the fiction of Guillermo Meneses

Salazar, Ligia (1982) Theme and form in the fiction of Guillermo Meneses. MLitt(R) thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Abstract

Guillermo Meneses (1911 - 79) belonged to the Grupo Elite formed in Caracas, Venezuela. Though he was involved in a range of different intellectual activities, literature was his central concerno. For Meneses the task of literature was to understand the world and express that understanding a pursuit which defines and shapes the whole development of his fiction. His maturing technique, his choice of themes and his use of language are the instruments through which he simultaneously interprets and reflects reality. The development of his work follows a line of investigation that begins with his early works of exploration. In Adolescencia a psychological theme is deployed: the state of mind of a young boy at a certain point in his puberty. In La balandra Isabel llego esta tarde. however, the focus is displaced to a metaphysical and existential theme, the subordination of Man to the dictates of destiny. From another angle, the same problem is presented in Cancion de negros, through the plight of the negro peasants. Borrachera and Campeones present variants of the same theme: the failure of Man to achieve the fulfilment of his expectations. Borrachera presents Antonio, the poor negro drinking, sinking himself into madness in an attempt to escape his misery. And Campeones describes with bitter irony the failure of the youthful dreams of four friends. The subsequent phase of Meneses' work turns towards a more individualistic focusing of reality through the examination of a series of personal. El dugue, for example, presents the story of a man who hides from himself behind his nickname, while El mestizo Jose Vargas turns upon the absence of any defined identity in the protagonist Jose Vargas. Un destino cumplido discloses the revelation Julio Alvarado has had at the moment of his death that his destiny is failure. Alias el rey describes the angry response of the character to his fate of misery. All these destinies have in common the idea that there is no basis for hope in human destiny, hence the necessity to escape, That alternative possibility is opened up by the character Jose Prados in the story Tardio regreso a traves de un espejo, when art is suggested as a channel of escape. La mano junto al muro and El falso cuaderno de Narciso Espejo are a practical attempts to escape such a doomed destiny by producing an alternative reality in which the ruling factor is the artist's will. How ever, they also prove to be failures, since theirs is an artificial game. Nevertheless, at the end, these exercises of falsehood provide Meneses with a sense of selfknowledge which forbids any use of deceitful tricks, and instead, leads him to admit what is suggested in the story El destino es un dios olvidado, and even more maturely developed in La misa de Arlequin, whose character Americo Arlequin, recognizes the futility of attempting to alter his destiny. He too turns his experience into a game, but only to mock his own project.

Item Type: Thesis (MLitt(R))
Qualification Level: Masters
Additional Information: Adviser: Michael Gonzalez
Keywords: Latin American literature
Date of Award: 1982
Depositing User: Enlighten Team
Unique ID: glathesis:1982-71998
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 17 May 2019 13:28
Last Modified: 17 May 2019 13:28
URI: http://theses.gla.ac.uk/id/eprint/71998

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