November 7, 2002
Susana San Juan
In the novel Pedro Paramo, Susana San Juan plays an important yet ambiguous role. She lives in Comala and she is the wife of the wealthiest and most malicious landowner, Pedro Paramo. This wealth, however, does not satisfy her for she wishes to be with her deceased husband, Florencio. She does not find pleasure in the things that Pedro has to offer her, even though he does love her and tries to satisfy her. Susana is Pedro’s first and only love, but she does not love him. She knows him from her childhood but recognizes that that is in the past and that they have very little in common now. Pedro’s feelings for Susanna are so strong that after her death he falls into a big depression. Although, throughout the novel, Susanna is portrayed as a crazy woman, she plays an important role because she brings out a different side to Pedro Paramo and unknowingly proves that she is able to influence Pedro and through him, the rest of Comala.
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Susana is first introduced at the beginning of the novel when Pedro is the narrator. This takes place a long time ago because Pedro is talking to his grandmother. He mentions Susana numerous times. He talks about how he misses her and wishes to be with her. He says, “every thought I thought was of you Susana,” which shows that he truly loves her because he tells himself this and does not try to fool anyone. (15). This innocent love which flourishes while the two of them were kids continues to live in Pedro’s memory until his last days.
Pedro does love Susana, but he does not stay faithful to her. In fact, he is the worst womanizer in the town. Before Susana goes to Pedro, her father warns her about him, “Don’t you know that he’s married, and that he’s had more women than you could count?” (84). Suprisingly, Susana reacts to this with complete indifference and confirms to her father that she is mad. Pedro, on the other hand, is absolutely rejoiced with her acceptance to marry him. He tells her “I waited thirty years for you return, Susana,” “And weep I did, when I learned that at last you would return to me.” (82, 83). Pedro’s words to Susana evoke feelings of sympathy for Pedro. He presents himself as a love struck man who has done nothing but good in his life and deserves to have Susana, the one thing that is missing in hid life. Yet, Pedro is far from being a good man.
When Susana keeps getting worse and refuses to talk to Pedro, Pedro pulls one of his old tricks and orders her father to be killed. He tells one of his men “I imagine it wouldn’t be too hard for an old man to disappear in a territory where no one ever ventures.” “She must be left without family.” By doing this Pedro reveals his dark side once again. An image of a man who is able to love is shattered and he is transformed into a selfish and merciless creature. Susana’s life keeps on getting worse. After she loses her mother, her father, who makes her do unreasonable things, molests her. Then she looses her husband and marries a beast. Her life at this point is so miserable that she tells, Justina, her caretaker “I only believe in hell.” A woman in that kind of emotional distress would probably be weak and unimportant, but she is just the opposite. Even with her sickness, Susana has the most control over Comala. She is not aware of this, and it is not important to her. Her only concern is to escape the reality that she has to face. Her influence is most obvious after her death, when Pedro falls into a depression and isolates himself.
Susana, because of her indispensability to Pedro is the most influential character in the novel. She is able to change the destiny of Comala and display a different side to Pedro. Because of her, Pedro has a human side to him. She, also, weakens him, and her death destroys him and the rest of the town. Her innocence and sexuality transform the destiny of the whole city.