Parallelism and metaphor in Jose Maria Arguedas' "Los Rios Profundos"

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Languages, Literatures, and Linguistics


Pedro Cuperman


Spanish text, Peru, Jose Maria Arguedas, Metaphor, Parallelism, Rios Profundos

Subject Categories

Anthropology | Arts and Humanities | Latin American Literature | Social and Behavioral Sciences | Social and Cultural Anthropology | Spanish and Portuguese Language and Literature


This dissertation examines the function of metaphor and parallelism as constructive strategies in José María Arguedas' novel Los Ríos Profundos . In particular, it is claimed that the protagonist's quest for his own origin and identity is used systematically as a primary semiotic component in both types of construction. The theoretical framework assumed is essentially based on Roman Jakobson's analysis of metaphor and parallelism in their relationship to the poetic function of language. The work also draws upon Christian Metz' clarification of the sintagmatic and paradigmatic possibilities of metaphor.

The dissertation is organized in seven chapters. Chapter one is a general overview of the works of José María Arguedas in the context of Spanish American history and literature. Chapter two provides a detailed explanation of the theoretical framework of the dissertation. In chapters three to seven the text of the novel is analyzed, such that each individual chapter discusses specific cases of parallelism and metaphor, along with the corresponding chain of isotopies. The semiotic elements upon which this analysis focuses are: the characters, stones, travel and the river, music, and death. All chapters detail the various ways in which a functional relationship is established among all formal constituents of the parallels and metaphors examined. It is concluded that the above semiotic constituents function both as contributors to the poetic quality of the novel and as formal devices in the general constructive strategy of the literary text.


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