Monday, January 28, 2008

The first 1/2 of The President

Asturias writes in a very unique style, with many onomatopoeias, if that's what he's intending to use them as, such as on page 21, "They're going to bury them! Ta-ra-ra! Ta-ra-ra-boom!" Actually, I'm not completely sure what he was going for with that phrase. I love the idea of delving into what the subconscious effects are of a malicious dictator. The style of this writing is very descriptive and abstract, which makes it a little more difficult to just plow through it quickly, while maintaing complete understanding of the characters, plot, and basic idea of the book. There's a lot of subtext and hidden meaning.
I love how he creates a visual image through describing the context of a scenario. An example of this is on page nineteen, when he says, "doors and doors and doors and windows and doors and windows flashed passed him." This style is very poetic and fluid, and I really enjoy how he incorporates that into his storytelling.
That being said, I'm not sure I actually get a sense of the plot completely. I understand he's trying to expose a ruthless dictator, I understand he goes into a lot of dream sequences, but it's hard for me to differentiate between what's part of the plot and what's a character's psyche. I also don't really get how the dictator affects each individual, like "the Zany." What exactly does "the Zany" represent? Why is he/it called that? Maybe it was mentioned in the text, but I missed that completely. I'm probably just way too literal of a person to get all of Asturias' subtle and creative ideas. But the plot does begin to make more and more sense as it continues.
The angle of the head authority, the resident psychopath realizing something unjust (according to him) is occurring in his presence and he begins to take a gradual, diabolical revenge is a plot theme used in various other storylines since this book was written. Even in Disney movies we see this idea being used, all of the villains always take the one person captive that the protagonist couldn't live without, i.e. Peter Pan, Snow White, Cinderella, etc. The tragic part of this text is that Asturias is speaking out against tyrannical dictators with too much power, a character that does exist all the time, and often runs countries. Not just impoverished ones, either, an example being the current president of the United States.

1 comment:

eshiu said...

I understand the confusion you are having right now about how Asturias is actually exposing a dictator, but I am hoping it will clear up as the book continues. But for the first half at least, I think there is an attempt to reveal characteristics of the dictator by the way his subordinates act, especially by looking at the actions of the favourite. I also haven't fully grasped the character of the dictator yet but hopefully soon the mystery will unfold.