Deeply involved with the social issues of his times Romulo Gallegos crafted his representation of the stratified society around him by building upon firmly grounded and widespread images. These images highlight the underlying cultural and metaphysical beliefs (basis for a legitimized social order) from which the fictional world is finally drawn. But while doing so Romulo Gallegos offered new alternatives to those visions as he established and widened gaps in those socially accepted perceptions and values. The essential aspects of the social imaginaries and the characterization of the central feminine character are present in La Coronela, the first text that evolved into Doña Bárbara. This edition, carefully annotated by prof Flor Maria Rodriguez-Arenas, also includes entire sections of that previous text, as it shows the intrinsic aspects of "the terrible stalwart woman". Also present are the structuring, discursive and functional elements as the character develops to become "the devourer of men" as portrayed in the final version of Doña Bárbara. These aspects of the social imaginary allow readers from different eras, almost a century after its publication, to understand the novel and continue to generate interpretations that will certainly enrich its reception.