This study examines Grande sertão: veredas as a novel that thematizes its own fictionality and develops a self-reflexive narrative about the value of fiction for understanding life. I argue that the shorter narratives inserted in the larger narrative exemplify and engage in metafictional play while working both to reveal reality as a façade and the fictional as a revelation. In more specific terms, I analyze the episodes involving Fancho Bode and Fulorêncio, as well as those centered around Davidão and Faustino, as metafictional commentaries. In addition, I consider the case of Dr. Hilário as a meditation on the potential of fictionality. Riobaldo can therefore be read as the character who pursues a chivalric story with rewards and an “overall outcome,” but who finds instead a different situation, one of loss and disenchantment. These are characteristics of the modern novel in the Cervantine tradition, and thus Riobaldo could be seen as a kind of Quixote or Mephistopheles of the sertão, carrying out a search for the fictitious and entering into a pact with the demiurgic forces of creation. Flawed in life, he is nonetheless successful in the role of a great novel’s incessantly talkative narrator.


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pp. 95-109
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