There is an uncountable amount of references of Latin American culture found within the literature, Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo, and No One Writes To the Colonel by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The question is; can the reader whose cultural experiences are based in the United States of American relate and make relevant to themselves the aspects of Latin American Culture? Through the comparison of sport, such as cock-fighting, a Latin American pastime, The roles of a small town vs. a large urban American city, and the part the Patron plays in the community, it can be seen that the United States reader does not have the Latin American experiences necessary to easily relate to many of the situations presented in the texts. Cock-fighting is an important sport in No On Writes to the Colonel, and is referred to many times through out the book. Cock-fighting is used as a means for economic gain and an improvement in one’s standing in the community. Cock-fighting in the story is viewed in different lights. To some, the fights represent the risk of gambling and the decaying state of the society. These people would see the violent and greedy nature of the sport as the people’s last resort for economic stability with a high price to pay; morals and decency. The other side of the spectrum would view the sport as a highly entertaining pastime that has monetary as well as social benefits.
A man could become rich and respected off the fighting ability of his trained animal. Interestingly enough there is a highly similar sport in the United States that faces these exact clashing viewpoints; for example, the highly regarded and disregarded sport of professional wrestling. One side of the United State’s population would cite this activity as an immoral and disgusting sport that feeds on the lust for money and violence of a lower-class group of individuals. However, the opposing side views it merely as a good laugh and an easy and entertaining outlet for mans inscrutable appetite for gambling. These two parallels between Latin American culture as presented in these two texts and United States culture, obviously give the U.S. reader the ability to make the situations and pastimes presented in the book relevant to themselves. In Pedro Paramo , the plot is based around an extremely small and isolated town named Comala, in the midst of the Mexican landscape. This setting is often presented in Latin American literature because it is only there where small towns are isolated from each other and the rest of the world because of barriers in the terrain and communication, as well as tradition.
The city of Comala, and isolated and desolate ghost city is not questioned or uncommon when viewed in Latin American literature, however there is very little like this to be found in the United States. The United States reader would know that throughout the U.S. landmass even small distant cities are connected to the tangle of communication, commerce and tourism that is America. It is because the U.S. reader has never been in an environment as isolated and completely separated from a mainstream society as seen in Comala in Pedro Paramo, it is hard to really relate to that type of setting. This is one example of the vast differences between the two cultures that interferes with the readers ability to connect with the relevance of some of the material in Latin American literature. One more example that demonstrates the effect that the differences in the cultures of Latin American and the United States have on the readers ability to relate to the text, is the role of a Patron in a community. Throughout both of the texts the Patron plays a very important part. He is feared, he is respected and he is the corrupt owner of towns and their inhabitants. In the Latin American culture it is not considered to be a monopolistic type of situation, rather more of a community leader controlling the town. In a land of free enterprise and a place where the government has control over the amount of control that one person can have over the people, the readers in the United States have very little to relate to when it comes to the role of the Patron.
Although the Patron plays a very solid role in Latin American society, there is very little comparison to something of that sort in the U.S. Once again there seems to be one more difference in the cultures that presents itself as a gap between the U.S. reader and the relation of situations in Latin American Literature to situations in the reader’s own library of experiences. Although we are provided with a few instances where the references to Latin American culture, such as sport, are parallel to specific examples of United States culture, there is still a vast amount of differences that cannot be compared. The setting of a small completely isolated town such as Comala in Pedro Paramo by Juan Rulfo, for instance cannot be paired with any strong similarities in U.S. culture that would have enough substance to bring the two cultures into one underlying experience. This is also the same with the highly visible and integral role of the Patron in Latin American culture in comparison to the United States culture which boasts next to nothing that can be seen as a comparison to the Patron. Pedro Paramo and No One Writes to the Colonel , simply do not contain enough cultural examples that the U.S. reader can relate to though cultural experiences found in the United States. Had either of the two works presented more universal settings and traditions, The reader based in the cultural setting of main-stream America would have been able to make to aspects of Latin American culture relevant to themselves through personal experiences with United States culture.