Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Fabio’s village

Fabio’s village. Small Argentine village where Fabio lives with two aunts as a boy. The opening chapters of the novel describe the village as having forty blocks of flat houses and streets as monotonous as a prison. Village life represents order, structure, and civilization. Fabio flees his dull home in search of adventure in the countryside.

La Blanqueada

La Blanqueada (blahn-KAY-ahdah). Village saloon in which Fabio often hangs out while playing hooky from school. Occasionally, he makes a lot of money by selling his freshly caught catfish to the owner. Otherwise, Fabio wastes time, gossiping and playing pranks on the seedy characters who frequent the bar. The saloon symbolizes the wasteful and destructive side of village life. Ironically, it is here that Fabio first encounters his mentor, Don Segundo.

Galván’s ranch

Galván’s ranch (gahl-VAHN). Ranch of Don Leandro Galván, to which Fabio flees from his aunts’ home in the middle of the night, following Don Segundo there. He is hired as a ranch hand and taught the ways of the gaucho. After much struggle, he tames his first wild horse and ropes his first steer. Fabio thoroughly enjoys the physically demanding work but is slow to adjust. He tries extremely hard to prove his courage and strength to the gauchos. He admires the camaraderie among these rugged cowboys and soon joins them around campfires for boastful stories, fire-roasted beef, and maté, a hot tea made...

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(Great Characters in Literature)

Alonso, Carlos J. The Spanish American Regional Novel: Modernity and Autochthony. Cambridge, England: Cambridge University Press, 1990. Discusses representative novels, illustrating the search for an autochthonous artistic expression. Focuses on the complexity of Don Segundo Sombra’s discourse, noting the text’s reference to its own process of production.

Beardsell, Peter R. “Güiraldes’ Role in the Avant-Garde of Buenos Aires.” Hispanic Review 42, no. 3 (Summer, 1974): 293-309. Explores Güiraldes’ participation in the avant-garde movement of the 1920’s, and shows how this is reflected in his poetry and narrative. Concludes that Don Segundo Sombra would not have been possible without the influence of avant-garde literature.

Fitz, Earl E. Rediscovering the New World. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 1991. Approaches the writings of the Americas as a cohesive literary type. Compares Güiraldes to writers such as Mark Twain and William Faulkner, exploring how their works transcend the local to attain the universal, representing “deep regionalism.”

Franco, Jean. Spanish American Literature Since Independence. New York: Barnes & Noble, 1973. Compares Fabio’s training to a spiritual exercise and emphasizes Don Segundo’s spirituality. The regional setting of the novel is seen as conducive to attaining spiritual goals away from the industrialized world.

Vazquez Amaral, José. The Contemporary Latin American Narrative. New York: Las Americas, 1970. Includes the chapter “Ricardo Güiraldes and the Metaphysical Gaucho: Don Segundo Sombra,” in which Vazquez discusses Güiraldes’ “Argentinity” and the importance of Don Segundo Sombra as the summation of the entire literature of the gaucho.