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central themes Gabriela Mistral

Gabriela Mistral was an extraordinary woman.  Her life was filled with tragedy but she turned her experiences into beautiful poetry.  Her poetry reflected many things about who Gabriela Mistral was and what had happened to her throughout her life.

     Gabriela Mistral was born on April 7, 1889 in Vicua, Chile.  When she was only three years old, her father abandoned her family.  She attended a rural primary school and the Vicua state secondary school. By the age of sixteen, she started to support herself and her mother by working as a teachers aide.  Gabriela Mistral is only a pen name for Lucila Godoy Alcayaga. She took the name from her two favorite poets: Gabriele DAnnunzio and Frdric Mistral.  She was the first Latin American to receive the Nobel Prize for literature (1945). After the suicide of her lover, Romelio Ureta, she lived a life of self-described desolation.  Although she wanted it, she never experienced motherhood.  She did adopt a child but it later died.  She taught at Colombia University, and Vassar College.  In 1930, she was a visiting professor at Barnard College in New York City. She also became the principal of Santiago High School. Her first text was la Voz de Elqui and Diario Radical de Coquimbo in 1905. Her second work was called Desolacin.  Soon after she accepted her post at Santiago, she was invited to work in Mexico on a plan to reform the libraries and the schools. She lived primarily in France and Italy during 1925 to 1934. She also worked for the League for Intellectual Co-operation of the League of Nations between 1922 and 1938.  She was the honorary consult for Brazil, Spain, Portugal and the U.S.   In 1933 she entered the Chilean Foreign Service and was appointed by the government of Chile as a sort of ambassador-at-large for the Latin American Culture.  During World War two, she became friends with Stefan Zweig and his wife. Later they committed suicide in Rio de Janeiro.  Also her nephew, Juan Miguel killed himself.  Because of poor health, she was forced to retire to her home in New York. She died on January 10, 1957, at the age of sixty-seven. She died of cancer.

      Like most people, Gabriela Mistral wrote poems about her life experiences or what she holds to be true. In her poem Dolor, which is from the Desolacin collection, she expresses her feelings on the death of her lover.  Most of her work offers intellectual and spiritual love, and nuturance to others.  It offers a simple and direct language but full of tenderness and passion. The central themes in her poems are love, a mothers love, painful personal memories and sorrow and recovery.  The death of Romelio left profound marks on her works.  Her works reflected the yearning for physical maternity as seen in her cradle songs and poems about mothers.  In the poems of Lagar and Tala, she suggests that life is just a mysterious pilgrimage leading to death, which she thinks is a final liberation from the world.  She differs from other women poets who are often, painfully self-centered, she mentions herself only to tell us of her plainness. Desolacin main themes are Christian faith and death.  She promises that after death, sunny land will emerge from the decay around.

      A poet, cultural minister, diplomat and teacher, she moved the whole world with her poetry and pain.  She helped her nation by becoming an ambassador-at-large.  Her life was full of pain and suffering but she rose up through the desolation and became one of the worlds most famous poets and people. Her longing for motherhood inspired many of her poems, as did the suicide of her lover, two friends and her nephew. Death is a main aspect of her poetry and in the end, even she had to succumb to it.
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Old Man And The Sea And Santiago

The Old Man and the Sea The Old Man and the Sea is a heroic tale of mans
strength pitted against forces he cannot control. It is a tale about an old
Cuban fisherman and his three-day battle with a giant Marlin. Through the use of
three prominent themes; friendship, bravery, and Christianity; the Old Man and
the Sea strives to teach important life lessons to the reader. The relationship
between the old man and the boy is introduced early in the story. They are
unlikely companions; one is old and the other young, yet they share an
insuperable amount of respect and loyalty for each other. Santiago does not
treat Manolin as a young boy but rather as an equal. Age is not a factor in
their relationship. Manolin does not even act as a young boy; he is mature and
sensitive to Santiago s feelings. He even offers to go against his parent s
wishes and accompany Santiago on his fishing trips. Santiago is viewed as an
outcast in his village because he has not caught any fish for more than
eighty-four days and is therefore unlucky . Nonetheless Manolin is loyal to
Santiago and even when his parents forbid him he wants to help his friend. Their
conversations are comfortable, like that of two friends who have known each
other for their whole lives. When they speak it is usually about baseball or
fishing, the two things they have most in common. Their favorite team is the
Yankees and Santiago never loses faith in them even when the star player, Joe
DiMaggio is injured with a heel spur. In this way Santiago not only teaches
Manolin about fishing but also about important characteristics such as faith. In
the story Santiago s bravery is unsurpassed but it is not until he hooks the
great fish that we truly see his valor and perseverance. Through Santiago s
actions Hemingway teaches the reader about bravery and perseverance in the face
of adversity. He demonstrates that even when all is lost and seems hopeless a
willful heart and faith will overcome anything. Santiago had lost his luckiness
and therefore the respect of his village. Through the description of his cabin
we also suspect that Santiago is a widower. Although Santiago has had many
troubles he perseveres. He has faith in Manolin, in the Yankees, in Joe
DiMaggio, and most importantly in himself. This is perhaps his greatest
attribute because without it he would never have had the strength to persevere
and defeat the giant Marlin. Faith is not the only thing that drives his
perseverance. Santiago also draws upon his past victories for strength. After he
hooked the Marlin he frequently recalled his battle with a native in what he
called the hand game. It was not just an arm wrestling victory for him it was a
reminder of his youthful days. His recollections of this event usually proceeded
a favorite dream of his in which he saw many lions on a peaceful shore. These
lions represented him when he was young and strong and could overcome any
challenge. Although he was an old man and his body was no longer like it used to
be his heart was still great and he eventually defeated the Marlin. Santiago s
perseverance and bravery are further illustrated when he tries to fight off the
sharks. He was a fisherman all his life and therefore he knew that the fate of
his catch was inevitable yet he persisted to fight the sharks. The battle
between him and the sharks was about principles not a mere fish. Santiago was
still a great warrior at heart and warriors fight until the end. One of the
greatest and most obvious symbolisms in the story is Christianity. From the
beginning of the story the reader is shown a unique relationship between
Santiago and Manolin. Their relationship parallels that of Christ and his
disciples. Manolin is Santiago s disciple and Santiago teaches Manolin about
fishing and life. One of the greatest lessons that Santiago gives is that of a
simple faith. Have faith in the Yankees my son. This type of faith reflects the
basic principles of Christianity. Hemingway s description of Santiago further
illustrates Christian symbolism. Hemingway gives a reference to the nail-pierced
hands of Christ by stating that Santiago s hands had deep creased scars.
Hemingway also parallels Santiago s suffering to that of Christ by stating that
he settled K against the wood and took his ... more

central themes

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