How does the narrative style aid in the development of the plot in Rulfo's Pedro Páramo?
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The narrative style of Pedro Páramo combines first person subjective and third person omniscient subjective points of view. The first person point of view often comes from main character Juan Preciado, who has promised his dying mother that he will visit the town of Cómala in order to meet the father whom he has never known: Pedro Páramo. The third person omniscient narrative permeates the story, particularly after Juan Preciado dies sometime in the middle of the story. After this part is reached, the narrative breaks once more into first person accounts from Pedro Páramo himself, since the story takes the non-traditional approach of going back in time after the death of Juan Preciado, which occurs in the present time.
This is precisely what helps the plot develop: when you consider the fact that this is actually a ghost story, the mixture of the past and the present makes sense, for it gives the tale a very ethereal and surreal flavor. Pedro Páramo has been dead for a while at the time that Juan Preciado searches for him. However, the people who Juan Preciado meets along the way are, presumably, ghosts which foreshadow his future imminent death. The Gothic and fantastic nature of this novel grants the use of unique narrative styles that will keep the reader wondering exactly what is going on. However, the themes of life, death, the afterlife, and redemption are very complex topics; non-traditional topics are often best presented in a non-traditional story-telling way so that the purity of their complexity is best appreciated.
Therefore, Pedro Páramo uses first person and third person narrative points of view to effectively convey the essence of the topics that are being treated: the reality of death, the mystery of a possible afterlife, and the possibility of redemption long after life no longer is. Hence, the convoluted nature of the narrative helps to accentuate an equally complex treatment of the topic of life. This is, perhaps, the best way to really understand the depth of the main idea.
Narrative style aids in the development of plot because it gives the reader more information about the narrator, who is often a character in the story, or about the characters in general. Narrative style helps the reader gain his or her footing in the story world.
For example, in The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, we learn that Huck, our narrator, is unreliable through a series of events. This narrative style--the unreliable narrator--is used as a plot device throughout the book, as readers learn to make their own conclusions, rather than to trust those of the narrator.
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