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The Geographcial Nomadic Wanderings of Las Soldaderas, Essay Example

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In the quote from Turner, the idea that las soldaderas “stumbled upon geographical regions…with which they never had contact” suggests the notion of the diverse environment of Mexico influencing the women soldiers in specific ways according to the particular geographical region. Yet perhaps the more fundamental relation between las soldaderas and the geographical environment that is conveyed in Poniatowska’s book may be explained in terms of the figure of the nomad. In other words, Poniatowska makes clear that because of las soldederas, a fluent and mobile war was possible, in which the relation to environment is defined by a constant movement from environment to environment. There is an unrootedness that defines the relation to environment, which means that the relation to environment is very minimal: the environment is only something to be traversed so as to reach the next tactical point. For example, Poniatowska writes, “In Mexico, in 1910, had the soldiers not carried their homes on their backs – their soldadera with their cots, blankets, pots and provisions – the number of men who would have taken off the shelter themselves in a warm corner somewhere would have meant the end of their armies.” (16) To understand geography and environment as a  dwelling place would be catastrophic, since comfortable “shelter” in a specific location means the end of the war. Las soldaderas made mobility possible, and their relationship to environment involved a conception of environment only in terms of this same mobility. That is to say that geography affected las soldaderas primarily in terms of how it inhibited or enhanced their movement. In this case, the success of las soldaderas was only possible to the extent that environment was conducive to the successful carrying out of tactical operations. This is the nomadic quality of las soldaderas, and geography affected them by either aiding or hindering this nomad-warrior existence.

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