Colin Michael O'Malley
5 April 2012
Bridges Made and Bridges Burned
The novel Pedro Páramo is about a young man who loses his mother and decides
to take a journey to a ghost town called Comala to find his father, but instead dies of fear
and finds out his father is dead. A central theme that runs through Juan Rulfo’s Pedro
Páramo is the nature of hope and despair in a person’s life, which Rulfo demonstrates by
Pedro Páramo’s love for Susana, Juan Preciado’s journey to Comala for his father, and
Susana San Juan’s desire for her deceased husband.
Rulfo exhibits Pedro Páramo’s hope for a future with Susana as a sometimes-
positive nature followed by the negative nature of despair he experiences from her
demise. Pedro talks about how he has hoped Susana would return to him after many years
of being gone since they were children: “I waited thirty years for you to return, Susana. I
wanted to have it all. Not just part of it, but everything there was to have, to the point that
there would be nothing left for us to want, no desire but your wishes” (Rulfo 82). Pedro
has been persistent about Susana’s return after a long thirty years. He has loved for
Susana since their childhood when they flew kites together, and thinks she will come to
love him upon her return. He went through all the trouble to gain power and land out of
the hope that Susana would return and he could meet any request she wished. Pedro is
talking to Don Fulgor about the plan to get rid of Susana’s father Bartolome San Juan:
“We need it to be so. She must be left without family. We’re called on to look after those
in need. You agree with that, don’t you” (Rolfo 85)? Pedro still hopes that Susana will
realize she needs to return to him and come to love him. He believes that it will be easier
for her to realize this once Don Fulgor as an order kills her father in the mines. Once he is
alone with Susana he plans to comfort her now that her father is not with her or a
distraction anymore. Pedro is miserable because Susana has just died: “I will cross my
arms and Comala will die of hunger.” (Rulfo 117) Pedro is mainly portrayed as a selfish
man, but not when it comes to Susana. According to Dorotea Pedro really did love
Susana and wanted the best for her. When she died he lost it, he plummeted into
depression and did not speak to anyone, because Susana meant the most to him. He
promised vengeance on the town of Comala for not caring enough about Susana’s death.
He choose to sit down and watch Comala collapse, because no money would circulate
through the town since he owned all of it.The character Juan is like Pedro because he
based his choice to go on a journey on a ray of hope only to fall into the shadows of
Rulfo displays Juan Preciado’s search for his father in Comala is based on hope of
finding answers to his questions about his father, but is greeted with melancholy news.
Juan’s mother Doloritas has just died and she had asked him to go to Comala and make
Pedro pay them back for not being there to be a husband or father: “But before I knew it
my head began to swim with dreams and my imagination took flight. Little by Little I
began to build a world around a hope centered of the man called Pedro Páramo, the man
who had been my mother’s husband. That was why I had come to Comala” (Rulfo 3).
Juan’s mother wanted him to go to Comala to get what he deserves from Pedro and
receive payback, but Juan quickly changed his mind about why he was going to Comala.
Juan has never seen his father so he is quite ecstatic to see who Pedro is and what he
looks like. Juan hopes that he will arrive in Comala to find his father Pedro and start a
new life for himself, and that they will develop a father and son relationship. Juan has
received some disappointing...
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