MYP English 10
17 February 2009
João Guimarães Rosa
The great Buddha once said that, “Learn from the rolling of the rivers.”(Harss & Dohmann 350). In my opinion this is what João Guimarães Rosa was trying to reflect in his story, The Third Bank of the River , Rosa was saying that one must learn from their experiences and try to find out what one, can do to find, that “third bank of the river”. In the story The Third Bank of the River Rosa wrights, “So wide [the river] you couldn’t see across it.”(Rosa 29) the river he is writing about I believe is his way of symbolizing life, because life is so vast you don’t know what is going to happen next, but one must still confront it. As William L. Grossman says about Rosa’s writing style, “he conveys not realism so much as symbol and implication.” (Grossman 349). One would have to agree with Mr. Grossman, that everything in The Third Bank of the River is a symbol waiting to be explored. Because of the high amount of intellectual analysis needed to fully understand The Third Bank of the River, it should be included in the International Baccalaureate (IB) Cannon.
The Third Bank of the River, was written to open the eyes of many people, just like a very important event that changed Rosa’s life, “the severity of the heart attack he suffered in 1958 changed his outlook on life and on writing”(Vincent 7). To many critics after 1958 Rosa never wrote the same. Before his heart attack when Rosa wrote, all of his stories were set around the sertão which is the jungle back lands of Brazil, but after his heart attack, “[the sertão] are no longer of much importance.” (Vincent 7). Instead of focusing on the Brazilian outback, Rosa has changed gears and has started to criticize rational thought, “[The Third Bank of the River] sharpest criticisms of the supremacy of rationalist thought” (Coutinho 4). The change from realistic writing to symbolic writing was a good change because now Rosa can reflect many...