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Trials And Tribulations Of Ariel Dorfman

Trials And Tribulations Of Ariel Dorfman Trials and Tribulations of Ariel Dorfman In the late 1950’s Chile was fighting a political war. Ariel Dorfman wrote many stories and essays dealing with the political oppression. Ariel Dorfman was exiled from Chile because of his writings, and struggled with his writing in Paris. With ambitions to return to his country he became one of the most significant Hispanic writers in the 20th century. Chile was going through a time of change. After the death of President Salvador Allende, Augusto Pinochet took over.

Ariel worked for Allende and wrote many not so nice things about Pinochet. In 1973 Pinochet didn’t fire Dorfman, instead he just exiled Ariel from the country. After being exiled Dorfman went to Paris he came down with a case of writers block, which left him poor for a while. He eventually recovered and wrote many famous plays and poems. In one of his poems “He describes Latin America as an enigma a vibrant, sprawling, messy reality which did not itself know where it was or where it was going ..

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a series of half-formed nations trapped in a history not of its own, trying to invent an alternative.” (Former Exiled Writer “Dorfman” 21) Born on May 6, 1942 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, Dorfman’s family was well aware of the horrors of war and the pain of exile, his Jewish grandparents fled the pogroms of Eastern Europe. At the age of two his family moved to New York City and he attended grade school there. When he was seven he began writing children’s fiction. He also expressed himself through painting. At the age of twelve he and his family moved to Chile where he completed his education, married, and in 1967 became a naturalized Chilean citizen. He attended graduate school in Berkley California in 1968 and 1969 and then he returned to Chile.

As an adult Dorfman worked as an activist, journalist and writer. Dorfman actively protested against political oppression in Chile. When Chile’s democratically elected Allende and his Marxist government were overthrown in a coup by Augusto Pinochet in 1973 he found himself in opposition to those in power. Following Allende’s death, thousands of politicians, intellectuals, clergymen and writers, of which Dorfman was one, were expelled from Chile. Many famous and significant writings came from Dorfman.

His writings include Windows, his Memoir Heading South Looking North: A Bilingual Journey, Death and the Maiden, along with many short stories and poems. His widely acclaimed novel Windows portrays a peasant woman whose male relatives including her husband, father and sons were abducted by the military. The novel shows the realistic, emotional strain and grief that disappearances put on the families of the missing. Knowing that this highly sensitive subject would probably prevent the book from being published in Chile, he devised a scheme to have Windows printed first in Europe under the pseudonym Eric Lohmann. He planned to have the novel published in Danish, French or German and then issued as a Spanish translation of a European novel.

However, at the last minute the Spanish-language published backed out and the novel was ultimately released under Dorfman’s real name. After writing this novel, Dorfman wrote many poems focused on the same subject. Dorfman said, “all of my poems are ways of giving voices to those who have disappeared, and those who are left behind; I am a bridge between them. Words become a way of returning to your country – a cemetery, but also a resurrection ground.” (Contemporary Authors On Line “Dorfman” 1). Dorfman’s Memoir called Heading South Looking North: A Bilingual Journey outlines his escape and account of his years in Argentina as a cultural advisor and writer for Allende’s government.

Dorfman said, “The book is very much an attempt to show what you do control and what you don’t control in your life”. (C.A.O.L “Dorfman” 1) In 1992 Dorfman wrote the play Death and the Maiden. This story was based on three main characters; Paulina is the wife of a lawyer asked to serve on a commission investigating the crimes under the previous government including her own brutal rape by a doctor. Through her husband, she meets the man she believes raped her. She kidnaps him and decides to place him on trial for crimes in her home.

The play that was performed around London and New York was later produced as a film for which Dorfman gained worldwide recognition. After reading the interesting short story, The Rebellion of the Magical Rabbits, I decided to choose Ariel Dorfman as my significant twentieth century author. This story is about a pack of wolves that kill all the rabbits in the land. The leader of the pack of wolves declares himself king. He has a monkey, who is a photographer, take pictures of him so everyone in the land would know he was king. Everyone in the land knew that rabbits no longer existed and anyone who spoke of rabbits would have to answer to the king.

In every picture the monkey took, rabbits appeared out of nowhere. The monkey using his photography skills fixed all the photos and gave them to the king, he also kept copies of the photos with the rabbits in them for his daughter. The king found the photos and thought that the monkey was a trader and tried to sabotage the pictures. The king wanted to kill the monkey but all of a sudden the lights went out and the monkey escaped. When the monkey woke up the next morning, he looked out the window and found the wolves hard at work; he saw the world was full of rabbits.

Dorfman said, “This story describes the events that led to the fall of dictatorship.” (Dorfman “Rebellion” 462-474) Dorfman’s views on political oppression, the missing and Latin America caused him many trials and tribulations, but in the end they helped him become a significant, acclaimed writer of the 20th century. Biographies.


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