Imagery and Metaphor as Resistance in Miguel Asturias' The President

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Imagery and Metaphor as Resistance in Miguel Asturias' The President

In The President, Miguel Angel Asturias uses madness as his initial tool to launch a social examination of evil versus good under the strains of a terrifying dictatorship. To paint a vivid picture of the political and social atmosphere under the regime of The President, Asturias wields rich and abstract imagery, repetition and metaphors throughout his novel to punctuate, foreshadow, and illuminate. Wind is one of these recurring metaphors, and is used as a representation of a storm brewing, a constant reminder (premonition of) that what is to come. Like the weather, acts of political tyranny cannot be foreseen with much clarity. The underlying corruption of
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le golpeaban y arrancaban las ropas a pedazaos." (p9). After such subjugation, and in a state of utter exhaustion, el Pelele can finally withstand no more and falls asleep at the "Portal de Señor." When he was rudely startled from his sleep by someone yelling "mother," the lunatic viciously attacked his tormentor, Colonel José Parrales Sonriente (known as the man with the little mule), to death (p11). This incident occurred `just before dawn,' and is in fact the dawn of all of the events that followed.

As the catalyst of gigantic storms brewing, el Pelele fled from the attack on Colonel Sonriente, and found respite in a rubbish pile outside the city. There, in keeping with the misfortune that was his life, he was viciously attacked by turkey buzzards and while trying to fight the birds off, he fell down an escarpment of garbage and broke his leg (p 22). Injured, el Pelele is rescued by a wood-cutter, and between the wood-cutters dog and el Pelele "palpitaciones formaban gráficas de angutia a través de sus gritos y los ladridos del can, como el viento cuando entretela la lluvia." (p29- my emphasis). Wind as metaphor of a storm brewing, hints at what lies ahead for el Pelele. The wood-cutter is joined by Miguel Angel Face to help el Pelele off the rubbish pile, Angel Face puts some money in the madman's pocket, and both men leave the injured man to fend for himself. Terrorized and hurt, el Pelele