The Burning Plain, and Other Stories Summary

Juan Rulfo


(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Juan Rulfo’s collection The Burning Plain, and Other Stories contains a variety of short stories ranging from brief character sketches such as “Macario,” an interior monologue by a mentally deficient boy; to longer, more complex tales such as the title story, “El llano en llamas” (“The Burning Plain”), which follows the skirmishes of a band of revolutionaries led by Pedro Zamora; or the haunting but humorous “Anacleto Morones,” in which a flock of women dressed in black descend upon the porch of the narrator to interrogate him about the death of Anacleto Morones. In one story, “Luvina,” the narrator describes moving to the village of San Juan Luvina with his family to become the schoolteacher. He finds a dried-up town, where the old women flock like bats and nothing grows. This story in particular recalls the deserted town of Comala in Rulfo’s novel Pedro Páramo.

Although the stories in the collection are varied in terms of length, point of view, and narrative method, certain common features emerge. Death is a constant in all of the stories. In “Talpa,” a dying husband, his wife, and the husband’s brother make a pilgrimage to a sacred site in hopes of a miraculous cure for the husband. The wife and the brother-in-law are in love, and they know full well that the husband will probably not survive the trip. In stories like “La cuesta de las camarades” (“The Hill of the Comadres”), “­Díles que no...

(The entire section is 437 words.)

The Burning Plain, and Other Stories Bibliography

(Masterpieces of World Literature, Critical Edition)

Baker, Armand F. “Water-Imagery and the Theme of Disillusion in Pedro Páramo.” Hispanic Journal 14, no. 2 (Fall, 1993): 49-60.

Beardsell, Peter. “Juan Rulfo: Pedro Páramo.” In Landmarks in Modern Latin American Fiction, edited by Philip Swanson. New York: Routledge, 1990.

Detjens, Wilma Else. Home as Creation: The Influence of Early Childhood Experience in the Literary Creation of Gabriel García Márquez, Agustín Yáñez, and Juan Rulfo. New York: Peter Lang, 1993.

Dixon, Paul B. Reversible Readings: Ambiguity in Four Modern Latin American Novels. Tuscaloosa: University of Alabama Press, 1985.

Leal, Luis. Juan Rulfo. Boston: Twayne, 1983.

Leal, Luis. “Juan Rulfo (16 May 1918-7 January 1986).” In Modern Latin-American Fiction Writers: First Series, edited by William Luis. Vol. 113 in Dictionary of Literary Biography. Detroit: Gale, 1992.

Ortega, Julio. “Pedro Páramo: A Metaphor for the End of the World.” Studies in Twentieth Century Literature 14, no. 1 (Winter, 1990): 21-26.

Perricone, Catherine R. “Pedro Páramo: An Odyssey in Quest of a Hero.” The Language Quarterly 22, nos. 3/4 (Spring/Summer, 1984): 5-6, 13.

Reinhardt-Childers, Ilva. “Sensuality, Brutality, and Violence in Rulfo’s Stories: An Analytical Study.” Hispanic Journal 12, no. 1 (Spring, 1991): 69-73.

Wilson, Jason. “Pedro Páramo by Juan Rulfo.” In The Cambridge Companion to the Latin American Novel, edited by Efraín Kristal. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005.