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The struggle for female identity in a male dominated world

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  1. Introduction
  2. Feminist criticism
  3. Laforet's work
  4. Spanish Civil war
  5. Conclusion

Throughout history, the female has been, at the best of times underappreciated, and at the worst of times, demonized and persecuted. While many Feminist writers believe that this particular brand of prejudice originally stemmed from the story of Eve tempting Adam to fall from grace in the Garden of Eden, thereby condemning all women for the sin of one, it has been evidenced throughout history that women have, for one reason or another, been subjugated and perceived as ?lesser beings? than men.

During the dictatorship of General Francisco Franco, this was especially true. During the Spanish Civil War, the Spanish republic fought against Franco and his Nationalists to no avail. From 1936 to 1939, the Republicans and the Nationalists would fight, with the Nationalists coming out on the winning end. Gaining the support of such men as Hitler and his Nazi party, Franco emerged victorious in the aftermath of the war, creating his own Fascist dictatorship. Contributing money and military assistance, Germany and Italy would play major roles in assisting Franco in his coup and later his takeover.

Like all revolution and wars, the political body and the experiences of the citizens are often two separate realities. What one cannot say outright for fear of imprisonment or execution, one can often portray in a painting, sculpture, or work of literature. It is in many areas of the Humanities that those who rage against the political machine find their voices and are able to exorcise the demons of insurrection.

[...] The blue sky is exposed in the background, creating two separate skies in the process. It is an image of melting figures, balance, rifts, separation, and destruction. All this becomes a metaphor for the situation in Spain during that time. Painted in 1936, Dali has captured the moment of crisis, the moment where one realizes that an event horizon of destruction has already been breached and there simply is no turning back. While Dali struggles to understand and convey his displeasure at the events of his world and his country, Laforet continue to uncover what it means to be a woman in the world of the Franco regime and really what it means to be a woman in any male dominated society. [...]

[...] It is a work that reminds the viewer that a Civil War truly causes the body, the corpus, if one will, to turn in upon itself. It is the body politic, the body of citizens that fights against itself for some unknown cause. Dali reminds the viewer of that by allowing the images of war and oppression to come face to face with the viewer. Balanced precariously, the body is about to tip and seing, back andforth, just as the politics would do until Franco finally takes control. [...]

[...] This powerful social metaphor screams from the page that there must be a sense of self and purpose that women have outside the men of their family. However, this would not have been looked upon kindly and would have been seen as semi-heretical to both the church and the political ideology of the day. To suggest that women have their own identities separate from their fathers, brothers, or husbands would have rocked the established social foundation, and in this fascist world, one can only imagine how Feminism would have been received. [...]

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