Encounters of Formation in the Latin American and Hispanic/Latino Bildungsroman
Chapter Three: La ciudad y los perros, Military Schooling and Development
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Through his literary work, Mario Vargas Llosa describes military and militarism as negative forces; they usually lead to corruption and ethical dissolution. From his first well known work, the 1959 short story Los Jefes until his 2000 novel La fiesta del Chivo, his narrative focuses on the social damage that traditional military regimens cause as forces that act specifically against individual freedom, even when those forces justify their actions in the name of modernity and progress. In this regard, Rafael Ocasio affirms that “Vargas Llosa shows the tensions present in any modern society. For the Peruvian society in particular, Vargas Llosa portrays characters that historically had a major role in the development of modern Peru” (116). His 1963 novel La ciudad y los perros narrates a counterpoint between military formation in a military school and a group of adolescents from diverse Peruvian geographical areas and social environments. Situated at the end of the first half of the twentieth century, the novel addresses formative ideals and disciplinary actions that echo the development discourse.
Jonathan Crush argues that “development” works as a created order within a constructed chaotic and disorderly terrain; “the language of ‘crisis’ and disintegration creates a logical need for external intervention and management… Accompanying the imagery of crisis is an implicit analysis of ← 27 | 28 → causation—sometimes external, more often internal. The causes are mostly endogenous… ethnicity, illiteracy and ignorance in more modern incarnations” (9). Similarly, the novel describes how adolescents are brought from a chaotic world...
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