A Comparison of the Alternative Realities in James Joyce’s The Dead and Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo

A Comparison of the Alternative Realities in James Joyce’s The Dead and Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo

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The arts, as interpretations of reality or even the creation of new ones, constantly inform a society’s perceptions of what is real or plausible and what the experience of the individual entails. This is done through a series of perceptions that begins with an artist’s perception of reality. In literature, the author translates this perception into a text that can be as whimsical as Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, as outwardly observant and insightful as Fyodor Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, or as straightforward as Nathaniel Hawthrone’s The Scarlet Letter. It is then the readers’ interpretations of a text that provides individuals and society with new understandings of reality. It is this basis of understanding that is continually added to so that reality is further defined and redefined and there is a greater comprehension of the human condition.
Because the author—and his experience of reality—is at the root of this process it is important that his background be taken into account, especially because an author’s perception of reality will likely influence his portrayal of it. In relation to James Joyce’s “The Dead” and Juan Rulfo’s Pedro Paramo, an understanding of the culture, society, and time period that served as each author’s reality allows for a deeper understanding of each text.
James Joyce is an acclaimed Irish author who is known for his short stories and novels about Dublin and the Irish people. James Joyce was well travelled and lived outside of Ireland for the latter half of his life. He lived during the late 19th century and the early to mid-20th century. Literary scholar Lorraine Weir reports that Joyce opposed the Roman Catholic Church under which he was raised and disagreed with ...


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...tructural Unity: The Fall From Grace In Rulfo's
Pedro Paramo. Thesis. 1969. Ann Arbor: University Microfilms, 1970. Print.

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"James (Agustine Aloysius) Joyce." Contemporary Authors. Gale, 2005. Web. 28 Apr.
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Joyce, James. “The Dead.” Dubliners. New York: Random House, 2005.

"Juan Rulfo." Contemporary Authors. Gale, 2003. Web. 28 Apr. 2011. ic.galegroup.com>.

Rulfo, Juan. Pedro Paramo. Tran. Margaret Sayers Peden. New York: Grove Press,
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Volek, Emil. "Juan Rulfo." Cyclopedia of World Authors. 4th ed. Salem. 1-2. Literary
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Weir, Lorraine. ""Joyce, James"" World Book Student Online. World Book.
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