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Las Soldaderas, Essay Example

Pages: 1

Words: 374

Essay

The first ten pages of Las soldaderas (2006) presents a picture of such brutality and inhumanity that many readers will probably feel simultaneously repulsed and angered. These feelings are intentionally created by the author in order to transmit some of the flavor of what was experienced by the common citizens in Mexico during the Revolution. The fact that the opening section of the book focuses on the experiences of women is also one of the ways that the author, Elena Poniatowska, seeks to catch the reader off-guard. Many people assume that war and revolution are actions which impact soldiers and those who control the government. The truth is that war and revolution have their deepest impact on the civilian population. This is shown quite clearly in the first ten pages of the book where women are shown being murdered, taken prisoner, and treated in the most inhumane ways by the soldiers of the Revolution.

One observation that I made about the opening of the book was that regard for human life is one of the key factors of how society protects itself from chaos. The first ten pages of the book show that once the regard for human life has been overthrown by the urgency of military action or political upheaval, all that remains is chaos and bloodshed. Although it would be impossible to withhold sympathy from the women who are shown to be victimized during the opening of the book, it is also impossible not to respect these women, many of whom responded to their captivity, torture, and murder by vowing revenge. The fact that the women in the book responded to the cruelty of the soldiers with hate and promises of revenge shows that the brutality of war has no limitation. Even those who stood as protectors of life and family, such as the women in the book, can become estranged from their most noble attributes and sink to the level of those who perpetuated crimes and depravity. The lesson that I learned from the opening of the book is that warfare is not an outgrowth of heroism or political righteousness, but simply evidence of the savagery and inhumanity that exists just beneath the social order that laws and governments try to maintain.

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