Last Updated on August 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 525
"Tell Them Not to Kill Me" is a short story by Mexican author Juan Rulfo. The tale outlines an escalating conflict between neighbors that results in a murder. After a lengthy cover-up of more than thirty years, the perpetrator of the crime is finally brought to justice and executed by firing squad. The small cast of characters in this short story is outlined below.
The Juvencio is the sixty-year-old protagonist of the story. Juvencio is about to be executed and begs for his life, despite the heinous nature of his thirty-five-year-old crime. Juvencio's crime is described in a lengthy flashback. Juvencio was the dishonest, lazy neighbor of Don Lupe in the Mexican village of Alima. After destroying his neighbor's fence to allow his animals to pasture on Don Lupe's land, Juvencio brutally murders his neighbor with a machete but lives the rest of his life in fear of being caught.
Juvencio's fear of death rules his life. For example, he runs to the hills and hides for days every time a stranger appears in town, fearing that it will be someone searching for justice. In the end, Juvencio is executed by Don Lupe's son for his crime.
The son of the murderer, Justino, is reluctant to help his condemned father. Justino appears at the beginning of the plot and refuses to ask the Colonel for mercy because he fears that he will be executed as well. At the end of the tale, Justino ties his father's bullet-riddled corpse to the back of a donkey and returns home.
Guadalupe Terreros (Don Lupe)
Don Lupe is the neighbor of Juvencio and the murder victim in the story. Although details are scant, Don Lupe appears to have treated Juvencio Nava fairly before his murder. Don Lupe repaired his vandalized fence multiple times and politely requested that Juvencio stop pasturing his animals on his land. Don Lupe also explicitly warned Juvencio of the consequences of continued grazing on the farm....
(The entire section contains 525 words.)
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