Dictators, directives, tyrannical figures, and cultural discourse: Jorge Zalamea, Gabriel García Márquez, and Mario Vargas Llosa
This study focuses on how a dictator or a culturally dominant power can use language to impose cultural values. As an instrument of power, language is used by a dictator to educate, induce, or manipulate a nation's citizens into acting in accordance with the ruling power's cultural values and beliefs. Jorge Zalamea in El Gran Burundún-Burundá ha muerto (1951), Gabriel García Márquez in El otoño del patriarca (1975), and Mario Vargas Llosa in La fiesta del Chivo (2000) draw attention to how the use of vernacular can resist cultural imposition by employing culture-specific items in order to represent its own culture and nature of reality. When translated into a different language, culture-specific items create a conflict of meaning between the original text and the translated text. This discord arises because the translated reference no longer conveys its original message. The original significance has been substituted in the translated text for a new meaning determined by the dictator or translator's ideology, usage, or the untranslatable nature of the original words. These culturally loaded words are categorized into three areas of language: vulgar words, terms of endearment, and religious words. As such, they reveal how the construction of language defines relationships of power and resistance between a dictator and his nation, or between one culture and another, such as the United States over Latin American culture. The analysis of culture-specific items presented in this dissertation will provide an understanding of how language functions as an instrument for the imposition to gain or maintain power in El Gran Burundún-Burundá ha muerto, El otoño del patriarca, and La fiesta del Chivo. Culture-specific items also suggest how translators may substitute the values of the source culture in the original text for their own cultural biases when translating from Spanish to English.