The influence of the sertao in Brazilian regionalist literature
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In this paper I will be dealing with regionalism in Brazilian literature, dealing primarily with one of its earliest manifestations – that of the literature of the sertão, an arid region in the Northeast of Brazil. I will discuss how regionalism fits into Brazilian literary history, as well as an analysis of the general characteristics of this region. I will argue that the sertão itself greatly influences the lives, and therefore the literature, of the local inhabitants. My discussion will focus on such things as the political and social structure, the influence of nature, and the importance of religion. To illustrate my points, I will discuss three novels pertaining to the sertão: O Auto da Compadecida, by playwright Ariano Suassuna; Vidas Secas, by Graciliano Ramos; and O Quinze, by Rachel de Queiroz. Although each of these works presents a different view of the region of the sertão, I will argue that there are many common themes which serve to prove that the region itself has a large influence on the style of the literature from that region.