What words and phrases reveal Juvencio's main motivation throughout the story "Tell Them Not to Kill Me!" by Juan Rulfo?

In "Tell Them Not to Kill Me!" by Juan Rulfo, Juvencio's main motivation throughout the story is to stay alive, even if it means sacrificing his wife, his son, and his son's family. Rulfo brings this out in quotes such as, "All he could feel was his great desire to stay alive," "He let her go as he let everything else go," and, "All he had left to take care of was his life."

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In the short story "Tell Them Not to Kill Me!" by Juan Rulfo, an old man named Juvencio who has been a fugitive for about 40 years is captured and condemned to death. He pleads with his son Justino to try to persuade the authorities not to kill him, and his son finally agrees to try.

The crime for which Juvencio has been captured is murder. Decades before, he brutally killed his neighbor Don Lupe in an argument over grazing land, and he has been running ever since. Now that he is an old man, he has finally been caught. It turns out that the colonel who has captured him is Don Lupe's son, who is unable to forgive him by offering him a reprieve. In the end, Juvencio is executed and his son comes to take his body away.

Throughout the entire story, Juvencio's main motivation—in fact, his only motivation—is to stay alive. He cares for nothing else. When his son objects to interceding for his father out of concern for his wife and children, Juvencio says that "Providence (God) will take care of them" and the only thing that matters is his son's attempt to free him. Rulfo writes:

All he wanted was to live. Now that he knew they were really going to kill him, all he could feel was his great desire to stay alive, like a recently resuscitated man.

Juvencio reflects that all he wants is to have peace in his old age. To save his life, he was even willing to let his wife leave him:

He let her go as he let everything else go, without putting up a fight. All he had left to take care of was his life, and he'd do that, if nothing else. He couldn't let them kill him. He couldn't.

Finally, Juvencio pleads with the Colonel to let him live, arguing that he is "not worth anything" and "crippled by old age." He admits that he has been living "always with the fear they'd kill me at any moment." Not long afterwards, his fear is realized.

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