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Peru > Deep Rivers. José Maria Arguedas

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message 1: by Betty (new)

Betty Asma (everydayabook) | 3618 comments "Translator's Note. Frances Horning Barraclough"

Barraclough points out that a reader will find in Los Rios Profundos/Deep Rivers by José Maria Arguedas a description of the rural landscape of Peru and a story told from the point of view of Peruvian Indians, who spoke Quechua.


message 2: by Betty (last edited Mar 05, 2011 08:58AM) (new)

Betty Asma (everydayabook) | 3618 comments CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER SUMMARY OF "DEEP RIVERS" (1-7)--a unique feature in this story are the translated songs, huayno.

1. Old Man
A boy and his father visit an estranged uncle in Cuzco.

2. The Journeys
The boy's father is a traveling lawyer. The boy describes their journeying from place to place -- the comparative customs and practices of townspeople, the natural flora and fauna, as well as his own actions in each town.

3. The Leave-Taking
Father and son finally reach the town of Abancay, hoping to end their pilgrimage and set up a law office there.

4. The Hacienda
The Patibamba hacienda with a sugar mill and a well-tended flower garden completely surrounds Abancay, but the boy cannot persuade the Indian workers inside its environs to admit him. He finds a bit of acceptance from the boys at the boarding school while his father is away in Chalhuanca.

5. Bridge Over the World
The boy describes life at the boarding school in Abancay for the various boys. During bouts of of loneliness, he reminiscences about times in the past when his father had to leave him; he takes to the wilderness to admire the Pachachaca river and bridge.

6. Zumbayllu
Antero, one of the boy's at the boarding school, brings several Zumbayllu (Child's spinning Top) to the playground to give away (perhaps he makes the toys). The toy, unfamiliar to them, nonetheless enchants the boys with its hum, light, and motion.
The main character we discover is named Ernesto, the boy whose father has temporarily left him at the school. He becomes a respected student at reading and writing, Markask'a asking him to write a love letter for a girl.
Another aspect of the boys' lives is the tendency to schedule fights and demonstrate more feats of bravado besides, but the feeling for these sometimes breaks down into a desire for camaraderie instead. A glossary at the end defines some the Quechua/Spanish/English vocabulary.

7. The Insurrection
Ernesto joins an enormous crowd of women, demonstrators taken into the streets of Abancay and workers' quarters of the Patibamba hacienda to recover and redistribute the salt stolen from them by the salt dealers. Afterward, he joins crowds outside the chichi bars before making a visit with Markask'a to meet the 'princess of Abancay'.


message 3: by Betty (new)

Betty Asma (everydayabook) | 3618 comments CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER SUMMARY OF "DEEP RIVERS" (8-10)--

8. Deep Canyon
The Rector, affectionately nicknamed Padrecito, of the boys' boarding school chides and punishes Ernesto for his participation in the public demonstration against the unfair distribution of salt that the 'chicheras', women who serve corn-based alcohol in chicha bars, staged in Abancay and Patibamba. Ernesto's unforgettable encounter with a lovely blue-eyed lady on the day of the insurrection makes him inquire into her identity. Word around town reaches the schoolboys to the effect that a troop of soldiers is coming to the area to reassert authority after the disturbance. The boys' fears, however, are mollified by the Rector, and their boyish pursuits again take precedence over their thoughts. Antero makes another wondrous zumbayllu (spinning top) into which he whispered incantations during its construction. Lleras gets a broken nose after disparaging and angering the friar; the Rector's guidance brings harmony to the aftermath of this fray, too, in fact more genuine camaraderie, humility, and forgiveness among most everyone than there was before Lleras's prejudice against the friar's race.

9. Stone and Lime
Gossip runs rampant about how the rioters will be punished, about whether the Indians will add to the riot by burning the cane fields and the haciendas. It is decided that orphaned Añuco will become a friar and leave for Cuzco with Friar Miguel. Quarters are spruced up for the troop regiment that arrives. The bridge over the Pachachaca River where Doña Felipa's orange shawl and the innards of a mule are draped becomes a focal point of everyone's interest. News gets transmitted through Incan song called huayno,

10. Yawar Mayu
Lleras, an incorrigible and unrepentant boarder, runs away with a girl toward the cordillera. Bittersweet farewells in the predawn are exchanged as Añuco and Friar Miguel set off, the effect of which encourages the remaining boarders to settle their interpersonal grievances. Some of the many scenes in this chapter are: the "big army band" and "village musicians" give a concert, astonishing the boys by their sparkly uniforms, their big, shiny instruments, and their Incan folk songs; some of the boys go find sweethearts and friends; a chicha bar is raided as the singer and the harpist entertain patrons with huaynos, which putdown the effectiveness of the rural police who are futilely chasing the leader of the insurrection; Ernesto thinks he will prove his manhood with the village's "idiot" but his remembrances and sympathy about what she has suffered change his mind.


message 4: by Betty (last edited Mar 21, 2011 07:40PM) (new)

Betty Asma (everydayabook) | 3618 comments CHAPTER-BY-CHAPTER SUMMARY OF "DEEP RIVERS" (11-End)--

~11. Colonos is a spanish word for Indians who live on a hacienda. Ernesto, a white boy of Spanish heritage, was raised by Indians, and "Deep Rivers" is essentially their story told by Ernesto. The principal events are the women's insurrection and the plague, the latter breaking out in haciendas across the Pachachaca River and impelling masses of Indians to journey across the bridge to hear Father Linares (Rector) say midnight mass and give a sermon in the church. In the morning, Ernesto, the last boy to depart from the temporarily closed boarding school, sets off on a two-day journey to rejoin his father.

~Afterword, Dreams and Magic in José María Arguedas.
The insurrection and plague which affect the Indians are, as the Afterword says, major events in this autobiographical novel. Ernesto's security and acceptance reside with the Indians, who raised him, and with his father (a traveling lawyer), not with an old uncle, who owns a hacienda and is a powerful man. At the Franciscan(?) boarding school for elite Spanish boys where his father has temporarily left him, Ernesto is a loner among with other boys, a nature lover, and an animist. His life as a boarder and a visiter in town often conjures up reminiscences of his earlier experiences. Ernesto narrates the story, making frequent references to the "Andean landscape" and its irrational, all-knowing dark forces, which know the tragedies and hardships that inexplicably happen.

~Glossary of Quechua, Spanish, and English words.
E.g., apank'ora=tarantula; cedrón=lemon verbena; pisonay=a red-flowered tree with pods; winku=deformity in an otherwise round object; Yayaku=Lord's prayer.


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