Analysis of Asturias The President Novel

It is evident that Zany suffers from mental problems, probably schizophrenia, and his mother was a subject that tended to put him over the deep end – “the Zany went mad whenever anyone mentioned his mother” (Asturias, 1963, p. 9).
Zany’s sensitivity to mention of his mother is what leads to a chain of events that eventually ensnares all the main characters, eventually leading to the downfall of every one of them – the murder of Colonel Jose Parrales Sonriente. Sonriente was the new arrival described who “jeeringly” shouted at him “Mother!” After which Zany seized upon him, “thrust[ing] his fingers into his eyes, t[earing] at his nose with his teeth and jabb[ing] his private parts with his knees, until he fell to the ground motionless” (Asturias, 1963, p. 11). It is this murder that is the center of the novel, and it is through this murder that one witnesses the treachery of the President and the people around him.
The reason why this murder is so important is that it shows the power that is wielded by the President. The President uses the murder of Sonriente to frame his political enemies, General Canales and Abel Carvajal, who is a lawyer. The first abuse of power is when the Judge Advocate General “questioned” the beggars who were witnesses to the murder. When the beggars screamed that the Zany was the one who committed the murder, the Judge Advocate General tortured them and told them to say that it was Canales and Carvajal who committed the murder. One by one, each beggar agreed that this was the case except the Mosquito, a legless, blind beggar who refused to lie. This refusal was the Mosquitos downfall, as he was flogged to death (Asturias, 1963, p. 16).
This was the first view&nbsp.of the Judge Advocate General who was arguably more evil than the actual President.&nbsp. This is one aspect of the novel that stood out – the President himself is actually shown as kind of benign, even charitable at times, and a buffoon at other times.&nbsp. Some examples of this are when Angel Face happened upon the Zany, who was passed out in the woods. Angel Face helped the Zany for a little while, then left him.&nbsp.&nbsp.