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Between 1892 and 1897 Machado de Assis published “A Semana”, his last and longest-running series of crônicas, in which it was possible to identify his opinions on the first years of the Brazilian Republic in between the lines. Commenting on the weekly events reported by the “Gazeta the Notícias” and other daily papers, the author criticized the ongoing attempts at hygienizing and modernizing Rio de Janeiro and the habits of its citizens. In his task, he created fictional characters to exemplify the contradictions inherent to the society and reflected in the press: the narrator and his servant, José Rodrigues. In this article, I analyze Rodrigues' appearances in “A Semana” and their possible significance in the context of a society undergoing profound changes while retaining some old customs.
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