Monday, March 3, 2008

la primera parte de I The Supreme

Wow, I The Supreme is quite the novel. It's a bit much for me at points, considering there's not much in the way of breaking up the pages, and the descriptions can get very tedious. I'm excited to see why it is considered the best Latin American dictator novel of all time.
What I find most interesting about the content of what The Supreme states is his agility and desire not to be forgotten, to be immortal and last forever, in some form or another. To me this shows his weakness, his vulnerability, and makes him a real person, instead of some tyrannical beast with no soul- all he desires, as is an innate human want, is to not be forgotten, to mean something so great that people will remember him and pay homage to his existence. His weakness is his mortality, therefore his weakness also reminds him that he is truly no greater than any other human, and the power he craves can only ever go so far.
I don't know exactly why there aren't any quotations to break up the dialogue between the Supreme and Patino. As we talked about in class, this seems intentional, not just a publishing error. The "I" is reflexive, and shows that no one "I" can be just one person, there is no one ultimate authority, like each power-hungry dictator seems to believe of themself.
It's interesting that there is no defined dialogue, it sets up both people, one with significantly less power than the other, on the same plane, and the one with true vulnerability, as they lie on their death bed, is the more powerful of the two. I think what Bastos intended was to show how futile it is for any person in power to crave to be the dominant source of authority, as eventually, we all are mortal and will end up in the same place, anyway. Ultimately there are no real divisions, it's just our actions while we're living that make us different.

1 comment:

Jon said...

You make some good points here. Yes, we absolutely see the Supreme's (very human) weaknesses. The ways in which he is dependent on his secretary, on the compiler, and even on the reader to ensure that he is remembered in posterity.

The point about the "I" is also that it is just a position (in the end a grammatical position). So this is one reason for the split that the dictator is always talking about: between his human, corporeal, weak, personhood, on the one hand, and the ideal (perhaps impossible) position of absolute power and supremacy on the other hand.