Tell Them Not to Kill Me!

by Juan Rulfo

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How does the author structure "Tell Them Not to Kill Me" to reveal details about Juvencio's life?

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The reader is gradually allowed to learn the information that the main characters know. Some of the most important events happened long before the confrontation between Juvencio and his killers. The reader wonders why the man must die: what did he do that was so terrible that it merits—at least in the killer's eyes—the others' taking his life?

By locating the main action in one period and flashing back to the reasons for the enmity between the two men, the author shows us both Juvencio's dilemma and Lupe's reactions to his overstepping the bounds. The main concern shifts to the complicated ethics of land and property ownership and unequal social relations that may be manifested in violent acts that set off a cycle of retribution as further violence. A straight linear narrative would result in quite a different story.

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