Language and ideology in the poetry of José Emilio Pacheco

2008 2008

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Abstract (summary)

The poetry of José Emilio Pacheco expresses an ongoing inquiry into the relationship between language and the existence of violence in the universe. While Pacheco's investigation fails to provide definitive solutions to the problems of this world, such as environmental catastrophe, war, famine, etc., Pacheco's poetry advances an ideological position that foregrounds the limits of human subjectivity and epistemology. For him, moral concepts such as "good" and "evil" have no real, predetermined meaning which can be discovered and shared. Instead, these concepts often represent the subjective desires of a few individuals to control and dominate their fellow human beings as well as the outside environment. Language becomes the opportunistic tool through these subjective concepts are formed and imparted to other humans. Therefore, these moral perceptions establish the ethical and political attitudes that ultimately influence and affect world events. Consequently, all people, as language-bearing beings, are inescapably complicit in the power relations that they wish to contest. Recognizing this, Pacheco's poems suggest an ideological program that recognizes the interdependency of all the agents of the universe (people, animals, plants, and inorganic objects).

Metapoetic aspects, Los elementos de la noche, represent the act of linguistic communication as the clash of signifiers occurring in the mind's unconscious. Consequently, the separation between the conscious and unconscious realms creates a divided sense of awareness in the human individual. As a result, Pacheco expresses an ideology whereby language becomes intricately tied to the divided existence of human beings. Such an ideology is consistent with a postmodern sensibility, but it also suggests similarities with the works of French psychoanalyst, Jacques Lacan, which other studies of Pacheco have overlooked. Therefore, this dissertation addresses the basic principles of Pacheco's ideology in Los elementos de la noche (1963), El reposo del fuego (1966), No me preguntes cómo pasas el tiempo (1969), Desde entonces (1980), and El silencio de la luna (1992) using the ideas of Jacques Lacan and postmodern thought.

Indexing (details)

Latin American literature
0312: Latin American literature
Identifier / keyword
Language, literature and linguistics; Ideology; Language; Mexico; Pacheco, Jose Emilio; Poetry; Violence
Language and ideology in the poetry of José Emilio Pacheco
Birdsong, Jeffrey Lyman
Number of pages
Publication year
Degree date
School code
DAI-A 69/04, Dissertation Abstracts International
Place of publication
Ann Arbor
Country of publication
United States
Rivero, Alicia
The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Romance Languages
University location
United States -- North Carolina
Source type
Dissertations & Theses
Document type
Dissertation/thesis number
ProQuest document ID
Database copyright ProQuest LLC; ProQuest does not claim copyright in the individual underlying works.
Document URL
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