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Journal Article

The Communicative Functions of Language in Balún Canán

Ruth Ward
Hispania
Vol. 93, No. 2 (June 2010), pp. 198-207
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/25703431
Page Count: 10
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The Communicative Functions of Language in Balún Canán
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Abstract

This article analyzes in the novel Balún Canán by Rosario Castellanos the pain caused by the persistence of neocolonialism in the Comitán region of Chiapas during President Cárdenas's land reforms of the 1930s. In this work, the author lays bare personal wounds through the discourse of the variously gendered characters of a culturally mixed society. In so doing, she creates an alternative to the Ladinos' characterization of Indian identity as well as to the masculine definition of the feminine self in post-Cárdenas Mexican fiction. An analysis of Castellanos's narrative (1957) via Roman Jakobson's notion of the communicative functions of language helps us to understand the source of its power as an early feminist social critique of the marginalizing effects of economic exploitation in the still extant rural society of Chiapas.

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