Iracema and I-Juca-Pirama
For the texts I have chosen two of the best loved works in Brazilian literature: José de Alencar’s novel Iracema and Gonçalves Dias’ epic poem I-Juca-Pirama.
Named by the author ‘A legend of Ceará’, the state of his birth, the story relates in highly poetic language the ill-fated love of an early Portuguese settler, Martin, for an Indian girl, Iracema, who as daughter of the shaman is destined to marry the tribal chief.
The title of the poem is in Tupi-Guarani; roughly translated it means “He that is to die”. It relates the story of a Tupi warrior taken prisoner by a cannibal tribe of Timbiras and of his conflict between bravely facing death or of feigning cowardice to return to save the life of his blind father, whom he had left to seek help when he was captured.