Broken Mirror: A Look into Octavio Paz's "Blanco"
Waring, Taylor D.
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This essay examines one of Octavio Paz's major works: the prose poem "Blanco." The essay juxtaposes several major analyses of "Blanco," and in doing so shows how many critics have been misled by themselves, and Paz, into misreading the poem. The critics thus far have argued that the typography and structure of "Blanco" are intended to draw the reader toward the postmodern notion of Presence: undeniable, unmediated, though ultimately ineffable perception of reality. Whereas they arrive at this conclusion by gaining their insights from theorists who were influential to Paz, this essay differs in that it applies Octavio Paz's own critical theories. In doing so, I argue that the critics did not find this meaning, but rather that the critics have created it. By exploring the naturally reflective typographic structures of "Blanco," I examine the ways in which the text provides mirror images of who gazes into it: the reader.