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The Role of Class Stratification in Pedro Paramo

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Throughout the history, the class stratification exists everywhere, for example: empires, countries even in some special group or area. The class stratification can be defined as a form of social orders that in a society which tends to divide people at different ranks that result on the getting different access to the resources. Moreover, the world building in that unique area is also different by the class stratification or special political institution. In Juan Rulfo’s famous novel “Pedro Paramo”, we can briefly understand that the main idea of constructing the world at some societies is the class stratification. For example, how the land ownership and absolute power of leaders could impact the situation of lower class. The class stratification is not only single side of advantages or disadvantages, but more important is how the leaders of different special groups could fairly use their power to make right distribution at the world. The leader could use class stratification in positive or negative ways that would also impact the world that construct at their societies as well.

In Juan Rulfo’s famous novel, he mainly talked about a man called Juan Preciado who travels to his recently deceased mother’s hometown for finding his father that lived in the Comala. The first reason to make this work so popular is his unique writing style that use fragmentary narrative to gradually get clear the image of Pedro Paramo to the audiences and readers. The death is the one of the important themes in this novel which pervades in a literal and figurative sense. The novel begins with the protagonist’s mom dies and asks him to find his father. After that, he discovers that his father is died also and halfway the novel, Juan also dies but narrate all stories from his grave. In this novel, death is not the ending, because many people continue to tell about their stories and communicate with each other after they dies. There is not exactly boundary between life and death, the purpose that author uses this strategy is allowing the reader to walk toward Pedro Paramo in multiple directions and get a glimpse of other people’s lives in general. Because this fragmentary narrative leaves so many reasonable gaps in Pedro Paramo’s live, the possibilities of the story are greatly increased, and the reader’s freedom of reading is greatly enhanced. Furthermore, everything connect with death is dark and the novel is fulfilling the atmosphere of depressing and somber by the description of the environment. Therefore, the author’s main clue is death, which also reflects that the content of this book will not be positive.

As we get so far, we gradually find out that the image of Pedro Paramo is kind of negative leaders in the world we see in the novel. Another theme that I focus on this novel is landownership which also divides people in different ranks, and they would get different access to the resources as well. After we read the story of other characters who appear in the novel, we also find out that Pedro Paramo is a landlord who is greedy, ruthless and immoral. From his humble background, he relies on a variety of dishonorable means to become a domineering landlord. He is not only married Juan’s mom for the wealth, but also murder that who dispute his control. From here, we can see that landlord which means he owns kind of absolute power in his village and there is exactly class stratification exist there. At that village, Pedro Paramo seems to be an unmerciful leader in this novel, not only because he had access to the most benefits or wealth to keep his status or position over there, but also, he could get anything he wants by monopolizing the land. According to the text “And yet, Father, they say that the earth of Comala is good. What a shame the land is all in the hands of one man. Pedro Paramo is still the owner, isn’t he?. This quote demonstrate that the leader could use absolute power to do anything he wants, but the desire for the status could impact the leader in negative ways and going to make civilian and lower class feel disgruntled and unfair. The world images in that village is kind of like as manorial system that populated in the middle century. The relationship within the manor was that of the Lord’s oppression, exploitation and dependence on the peasants or serfs. From this point of view, we can connect the fails of Comala is close to the absolute power of wealthy people. It reflects the real world of rural Mexico under the system of plantation owners. Art reflects life. Maybe we can’t see the history of Mexico, but we can see the incompleteness of the Mexican revolution in 1910 and it brought disaster to the countryside through Juan’s writing. Based on this understanding, we can see that the world builds in the novel is hazy, grey and mysterious which we can feel that village is full of death and just like inferno by the negative impact of class stratification and abuse of leader’s authority.

Moreover, another powerful evidence to show that the abuse of use power by the leaders could brought negative influences and disorders in the societies from Sarachek’s article ‘Greek Concept of Leadership’. In Sarachek’s article, he points out that quantities and errors in the leadership. This article mainly discusses the four important quantities in the leadership and how the error of leadership drives leaders to be defeated. According to the text ‘When honor goes astray it becomes vain pride. The overconfident man who attempts to act beyond the limits of his ability inevitably faces defeat. Thus, pride is a personal misevaluation of one’s self which leads to error’. This quote mentions that if leader use his power or authority in the negative ways or just for self-interest, which obviously impact his own action to astray. Because the gaining pride would make the leader misty and make some improper decisions includes sacrificing of others at some important points. The error of concept is similar like the consequence of Pedro Paramo. On the other hand, if Pedro Paramo is not obsessed with the power of wealth, to do something that benefit for the whole village instead of exploiting the resources of lower class, the world that build in the novella would be totally different. The outcome of Pedro Paramo also implies that if the leader in a team blinding pursues his own power and position, ultimately would lead the destruction of the whole country.

In the novel of Juan Rulfo, there is another powerful example to show that how some people in special position abuse their power for their self -interest. For instance, “Father” is playing an important role to decide who was able to go to the heaven or not which means Father could get especial benefit than others. However, if Father abuse his authority and right to earn money for his church then what is the point of liberation and salvation? The Father as a typical representative of power owner, he had ability to decide who is going to be forgive his sin and go to the heaven. According to the text “He laces a handful of gold coin on the prie-dieu and got to his feet: Take this a a gift for your church” “He can afford to buy salvation. Only you know whether this is the price. As for me, Lord, I throw myself at your feet to ask for the justice or injustice that any of us may ask”. These two quotes illustrate that Father accepts the money to forgive Pedro’s son that rape his niece. Moreover, if other people who ask Father to forgive but not enough money would be deny to the heaven. Most importantly, Father as the top people in that village, he didn’t properly use his power and authority to make ordinary people do the right thing like as help other people who need help and so. On the contrary, even the people who does the evil thing, they donate money or coins to the church could get forgive and salvation. At that point, salvation could use money to measure and there is not principle to really do the thing they should do. If more wealthy people did the similar things just like Pedro Paramo did as well, there would bring overwhelming chaos to his village. The desire for wealth would drive the leaders at some particular area to the wrong ways.

Another evidence to suggest that class stratification would push leaders in the negative ways that result on create a chaotic world is from Hierro’s article ‘Gender and Power’. In Hierro’s article, he points out that the desire of majority people is not coming from the positive love of power, but more in afraid of losing them. At that point, holding the power or wealth give them a sense of safety, otherwise, they would lose the confidence that afraid someone would take away their position or status. According to the outside resource “This translates into a disposition to sacrifice everything just to have power. Because if someone who reveres power decides to extend it, the only recourse available is submission to power or the creation of a stronger one in order to oppose it’. This quote claims that the desire for power would lead humanity to do anything in order to protect their own self-interest. Even more, Hierro also illustrates that power is under ‘domination’, which result in the stratification of men over women because men use their power to control such women. Therefore, in the novel of Juan Rulfo, whoever the Pedro Paramo or Father, they both have special authority to control other common people. To begin a better understanding, we know that Pedro has humble background which is not wealthy when he was young. After that he married with Juan’s mom, he enjoys the benefits and advantages that brought by the wealth, but at the same time he also loses himself. In addition, the all thing they did is to keep their status in the village. For example: Father accept bribery from wealthy people is ordered to maintain his authority in the church, which means Father gets pride on the church. If he leaves church or church got collapse, he would own nothing. Similar as Pedro Paramo, he owns the most of land in the village which means he can do anything he wants even did something is totally wrong. The way he abuses his power reflects that he afraid to lose the power that hard to get through his hard work.

The class stratification is not absolute negative, it also has positive impact that depends on how the leaders on that society properly use. As we know, the biggest positive advantage of class stratification is order which means each level maintain their duty which result on the stabilization of whole society. Some aspects of social stratification also could contribute to the society like as push the progress of society. For example: if the advantage of upper class is obvious would consider kind of impetus to push lower class to struggle to get same access for the resource. If the impetus plays a proper way which probably result on encourage all ranks people to struggle that finally promote economic boost. In the Juan’s novel, we can gradually find out that the power owner not always decisive, they also have time to tangle at some moments. For instance, in the book “The last thing he wanted to think about was that he had been in Contla, where he had made a general confession to a fellow priest who despite his pleas had refused him absolution. From here, we can understand that when Father confesses to another men, he also thinks about whether accept the money or not. However, in order to maintain his job in the church, he finally still makes this decision. Furthermore, the power owner is not easy to maintain their status because they got many circumstances that force them to do the thing they are not really want. Therefore, the world builds under the leaders may be not they exactly want due to lots of especial situations.

The desire for power from history till now hasn’t moved much through time. There’s always a greed for power and the desire to move up the ranks of society whether you are unable to or willing to fight for it. I showed reasons to prove that the class stratification may impact society in a few positive ways but mostly negative ways. Even though Juan Rulfo aware of extreme desire may lead scarifying of others, the protagonist still tries hard to avoid others who may take away their power and dispute their rights. There is impossible to define class stratification in absolute positive or negative ways. My whole paper is trying to asset that the world builds everywhere that progressive or degraded just depends on how the leaders properly use their power and rights on some decisions.

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The Role Of Class Stratification In Pedro Paramo. (2021, August 06). GradesFixer. Retrieved October 17, 2021, from
“The Role Of Class Stratification In Pedro Paramo.” GradesFixer, 06 Aug. 2021,
The Role Of Class Stratification In Pedro Paramo. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Oct. 2021].
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