Fissures in the discursive monopolies of two narrators: The non-existent Indian from «Huasipungo» and the absent Indian from «Raza de Bronce»

María Ximena Postigo


Two were the main concerns in Latin America during the first half of the twentieth century: the consolidation of the nation-State and the incipient development of capitalism. In the Andes the “Indian problem” added complexity to these concerns. This article proposes a comparative analysis of how Alcides Arguedas, with Raza de bronce (1919), and Jorge Icaza, with Huasipungo (1934) –despite similarities in their social projects, the racism of their speeches and the stories that they address– differ in how they incorporate indigenous issues into the novel. If Huasipungo’s social realism responds to a need for change in the relations of production, Raza de bronce’s critical realism responds to a fear of an indigenous uprising. The above is not, however, the central difference. The latter consists of a monopolistic coherence in the narrative discourse of Icaza versus the fissures that literary modernism produces in Arguedas’ positivism. As a result, the social narrative of these writers creates a bourgeois responsibility in Huasipungo (where the indigenous cultural universe is reduced to a non-existence) and a dangerous indigenous potential in Raza de bronce (where the reader does not feel the presence of the Andean cultural world, but neither its non-existence).


critical realism; discursive fissures; discursive monopoly; oligarchic structure; rare forms of beauty; social realism; socialist realism



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