Type of paper: Essay

Topic: Literature, Violence, People, Veterans, Crime, Present, Time, Social Issues

Pages: 4

Words: 1100

Published: 2020/12/28

Rulfo’s stories are set in the unforgiving country side where he was supposedly raised. Therefore, he tends to bring out the various subjects, aspects or themes that he and other people who live in the countryside face from their day to day lives. The stories talk about the heart-rending lives of the inhabitants of these parts of the country while closely examining various factors that they faced including violence, crime, family disharmony, and poverty. He uses plain expressions to express the desolate, severe settings in which his people live. The book having a set-up of the post-revolutionary period also exhibits themes of violence and delinquency which were the prevalent concerns during that time. As a result of these lawlessness and government corruption, farmers and peasants alike migrated to the cities hence leaving the countryside and ranches empty and desolate.
The themes of violence, guilt and the relationship between the past and present are brought out in most parts of this book. In the various short stories as narrated by Rulfo, these subjects are an embodiment of what the inhabitants had to brace during that period. Because it was an era which was characterized by these shortcomings, it will not pass unmentioned that these factors greatly impacted the lives of the people of that time. In the story ‘the plain in flames’ we can clearly note that the initial spur that triggered the revolution brought about succeeding movements which were repeatedly relatively autonomous of its original compulsions and were difficult to reinforce. In this story, the narrator talks about the fate of such group. Violence is brought about by the skirmishes that erupt from the federal soldiers who are supporting their general. Pedro’s men struggle to ward off the federal soldiers by an ensuing gunfight in the ravine where the soldiers are stationed. The ambush lasts all afternoon between the soldiers and Pedro’s men who are the revolutionaries.
After burning corn fields and towns, the revolutionaries realize that they cannot hold off the federal soldiers anymore. So much damage had been done by these men, and the soldiers were so ambitious to capture these men. Even the Indians who had joined this band and who had become so loyal started to turn against the revolutionaries. At the end of it all, the band disintegrated, and the men ran away with the soldiers in their hot pursuit. Some were captured and put in jail including the narrator of this story. After being released from prison, he started to look back at what they had done and the destruction and damage they had caused. He recounts his luck by saying that the federal soldiers didn’t know he was with the leader of the revolutionary band, hence not giving him a harsh sentence. At this instance, he reflects on the past plunders they had done and the towns that they had pillaged. These recollections of the past bring out the reconciliation of the past and present whereby there is a stark contrast between these two points in time. The narrator ends up saying that he ‘hung his head’ when the woman who had been waiting for him showed him a boy that was supposedly his son.
In the story Anacleto Morones, we see that the character is being hunted down by some women who he doesn’t want to meet. Perhaps he was running because of the guilt that he had suffered from the various deeds that he had done to these women. On women asks him about abandoning her when she was pregnant with his child. He feels bad when she tells her that God will never pardon him because she had to abort the child. Albeit being shocked by this, he goes out to make more myrtle water. In this particular instance, there is also a blatant difference between the past and the present because of the events that took place in these different timelines. The players of this story are trying to marry the events that took place in the past with the present by storming into the narrator’s house and bombarding him with hard questions about his activities and relationships with these women, of which he didn’t take seriously.
Violence continues to present itself in the story ‘tell them not to kill me.’ Juvencio can be seen tied to a pole ready to be executed, and he begs for his son to plead with the sergeant not to kill him. But his son tells him that the sergeant will not listen nor spare him. Juvencio’s thoughts then begin to resurface about how he murdered Don Lupe, and this is the event that brought about his condemnation. He seems to regret murdering him just because he couldn’t share the pastures with his animals. The drought had hit the area, and his animals began to die off, this led to him breaking the fence and driving his animals to the other side to graze. His victim didn’t like this which led him to mend the fence but he broke it again. Now he is regretting killing him because he is being put to death because of this stupid act of anger that he did. The theme of guilt is brought to the fore in this scenario whereby Juvencio is being remorseful and begging for mercy because of what he did. The past deeds of the people of this land have been revealed to catch up with them in their later lives. In this case, the relationship between the past and the present is presented in these stories because they are interrelated in one way or the other.
Killing was a prevalent act during the time of this book. It is widely spread and people perform it with little consideration of the importance of living. It is a tool that most people used to settle scores and finally their activities later catch up with them. We see many people trying to hide because either they have killed someone and fear being put to death too, or they helped in killing someone. Being a time of revolution, violence and crime was widespread as we have seen in the stories. In the story ‘the man,’ at the very beginning we see that Urquidi is pursuing Jose but later we learn that initially Jose was looking for Urquidi because he wanted to revenge for the murder of his brother. The characters are brought out in the interchangeable manner in order to showcase both sides’ quest to kill or murder. The fact that both characters killed a member of the other’s family brings out their violent nature and readiness to kill for the love of their families. In the end, we see that each man’s particular circumstances end up being secondary to the cycle of violence in which they are trapped.
The cycle of violence is encompassed in almost all the stories in this book. The people who often commit these violent crimes like killing and murdering other people and also destroying other people’s properties end up being killed too. Their past comes to haunt them as it catches up with them, and they seldom escape the wrath of death itself when they have been pinned down. As the revolution starts, we see many people migrating to cities because of violence and crime in the countryside and the ranches. Many of who commit these crimes becomes remorseful and full of guilt for committing such heinous and violent crimes. The relationship between the past and the present also is brought forth by the fact that there is a difference in timeline between when these acts take place; a complete contrast between the time when the violence is perpetrated and the ‘payback’ time of these violent acts.


Rulfo, J. (2003). The Plain in Flames. Austin: University of Texas Press

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WePapers. (2020, December, 28) The Plain In Flames Essay Sample. Retrieved March 22, 2023, from https://www.wepapers.com/samples/the-plain-in-flames-essay-sample/
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"The Plain In Flames Essay Sample." WePapers, Dec 28, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2023. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/the-plain-in-flames-essay-sample/
WePapers. 2020. "The Plain In Flames Essay Sample." Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. Retrieved March 22, 2023. (https://www.wepapers.com/samples/the-plain-in-flames-essay-sample/).
"The Plain In Flames Essay Sample," Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com, 28-Dec-2020. [Online]. Available: https://www.wepapers.com/samples/the-plain-in-flames-essay-sample/. [Accessed: 22-Mar-2023].
The Plain In Flames Essay Sample. Free Essay Examples - WePapers.com. https://www.wepapers.com/samples/the-plain-in-flames-essay-sample/. Published Dec 28, 2020. Accessed March 22, 2023.

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