The Gaucho Martín Fierro

by José Hernández

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What is the speaker's perspective on the gaucho lifestyle in "The Gaucho Martín Fierro"?

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The speaker in this text is not the author (José Hernández). He instead writes in the voice of a fictional gaucho (cowboy) named Martín Fierro. Fierro is looking back on his life in a style reminiscent of epic poetry. He sees the gaucho lifestyle as difficult but free; he plays up the machismo associated with these rugged people: I am a bull in my rodeo and if you want to try me, others come to sing

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The speaker in this text is not the author (José Hernández). He instead writes in the voice of a fictional gaucho (cowboy) named Martín Fierro. Fierro is looking back on his life in a style reminiscent of epic poetry. He sees the gaucho lifestyle as difficult but free; he plays up the machismo associated with these rugged people:

Yo soy toro en mi rodeo

. . .

y si me quieren probar,

salgan otros a cantar

y veremos quién es menos (l.61–66).

The gaucho lifestyle is glorified throughout the poem. For Fierro (and Hernández), the gaucho is a man's man who can hold his own in the harsh environment of the Argentinian countryside. According to him, the vipers don't bite his feet, nor does the sun burn his forehead (l.83–84). Fierro uses his own life struggles to compare his actions to those of the government. He recounts how he was forced to fight against indigenous people, leaving behind his wife, children, and ranch. He received no thanks for this; this is subtle anti-government propaganda on the part of Hernández, whose message revolves around the government taking advantage of the honest and hardworking gauchos.

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