Broad and Alien Is the World reveals Ciro Alegría’s commitment to the ideological platform of Acción Popular Revolucionaria Americana (American popular revolutionary action), a socialist-oriented political party that he cofounded in 1930. As a result of his political engagement, which included involvement with guerrilla groups, Alegría was forced into exile. The novel openly attacks the violations of the human rights of the indigenous Peruvian population by national corporations and governmental institutions. The novel’s publication caused Peru to become the target of international outcry.
In its open treatment of life among native groups, Alegría’s novel moves away from traditional treatment of the Inca. Peru’s indigenous people were portrayed in previous works as living in the perfect state of natural existence, in the Romantic tradition of the noble savage. Alegría’s realistic descriptions of indigenous rural life are connected to a social movement known as indigenismo. This proindigenous movement encouraged a fuller, more honest understanding of the Peruvian national identity. For them, nature and people are interdependent. The city’s vicious exploitation of nature, the novel implies, may account for various economic and social crises.
Alegría’s novel presents a major character, Rosendo Maquis, mayor of a community of Indians, as a representative of the Incas. Rosendo is wise and hardworking. He is...
(The entire section is 469 words.)