‘Tell Them Not To Kill Me!’ by Juan Rulfo

Tell Them Not To Kill Me! by Juan Rulfo, 1951

The magic trick:

A ‘western’ with history replacing myth

This feels like an American Western without the bogus mythology. It feels realistic, historical. We’ve got themes you might expect like revenge and selfishness-versus-community. But we also get issues particular to the Mexican Revolution and cultural transitions enacted through personal vendettas. And that’s quite a trick on Rulfo’s part.

The selection:

They’d brought him in at dawn. The morning was well along now and he was still tied there, tied to a post, waiting. He couldn’t keep still. He’d tried to sleep for a while to calm down, but he couldn’t. He wasn’t hungry either. All he wanted was to live. Now that he knew they were really going to kill him, all he could feel was his great desire to stay alive, like a recently resuscitated man.

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