This article examines blood carnival metaphors in order to understand how they reflect different interpretations of the nature of violence, the role of state actors and of the people in state violence, and the role of intellectuals in society. In Rabbits and Boa Constrictors (1982), the Soviet satirist Fazil Iskander uses the title's creatures as allegories for Joseph Stalin and his associates as well as the corrupt society that supported and transcended his rule. The satire The Great Solitaire of the Palace (1971) by René Avilés Fabila deals with the Tlatelolco Massacre (Mexico, 1968), in which hundreds of student protesters were shot by security forces and it confronts decades of authoritarianism under the Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI). Animal allegories play a key part in these novels’ condemnation of violence and their attempt to ridicule their leaders. These novels represent carnival on the diegetic and the extra-diegetic levels: The diegeses depict historical events as blood carnivals, and the narratives themselves adopt subversive, carnivalesque features. This study identifies three variations of the blood carnival metaphor: (a) the violent disruption of a festivity, (b) covert violence that takes place during a celebration, and (c) ritualized social action that involves violent excesses.

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