Gabriela Mistral 's life and story read like a myth spun from her self- addressing as " a daughter of my land ", deeply identifying with her country and people; her powerful voice in defense of the under-privileged or socially oppressed; of volcanic emotions from a tragic love affair; from sonnets of love, enderness and humanism which cast her with the spiritual image of a madonna of the Americas- and yet, such perceptions in contrast were darkened by criticism for her political role and relationship with the state, and her sexuality contained in public dubiousness which she masterfully infused in her writings.We must give expression to the soul in all its intensity, and boldly utter the message which springs from the heart before it ceases to beat.-Gabriela MistralForged by an unlimited love of humanity, clarity of forward vision and a prophetic sense of the estiny of Latin America, Mistral 's prose and poems sought to redefine women 's roles, specific to their plight in a patriarchal society that has been traditionally unconcerned for women 's suffering.
In La abandonada/The Abandoned Woman, she is desolate from the absence of love: Now I am oing to learnthe sour country, and unlearn your lovewhich was my only language, like th river that forgetsits current, bed, and banks.I have sat down in the middle of the Earth, my ove, in the middle of my life, to open my veins and my chest, to peel my skin like a pomegranate, and to break the red mahogany of these bones that loved you. ( At the same time, she is left an angry and vengeful victim of domestic conflict): I ’ m burning all that we had: the wide walls, the high beams— ripping out one by onethe twelve doors you opened and closing with ax blows the cistern of happiness.Considered to be the most revealing self-portrait of Mistral is La otra/ The Other ( my personal favorite), in which the poem 's narrator destroys a part of herself: I killed a woman in me: one I did not love.I left her to die, robbing her of my heart ’ s blood.She ended like an eaglestarved of its food.The beating wing grew still; she bent, spent, and her dying emberfell into my hand ... The write 's voice is scorching, harsh, unforgiving, leaving la otra to shrivel in death 's eventuality.Gabriela emphasized that her poetry was never " an end in her life ", insisting she was- in heart, first and foremost- a teacher, and described her poetic work as more of th " relief of her spirit, to undo knots. " In Madwomen, glimpses of a complex and controversial writer are illuminated, but more true to Mistral 's purpose, I would surmise, they re the reflections of the faces, the flesh and blood experiences of mother, child, wife, daughte, daughter; she is as the poems' titles intone: Fugitive, Humbled, Happy, Fervent, Unburdened, Pious, Storyteller, Forgotten, Unchanged; she is Electra, Antigone, Cassandra, Clytemnestra; she may be you or I, but without question, she is everywoman.