History Lesson: Part 2

Posted by Lori | Posted in , | Posted on 2:51 PM


We're sitting in my room, Laura on my bed, and I on the computer correcting her recent attempt at a letter of intent to study abroad at Chapel Hill. She is reading "La etapa social de Blas de Otero en la trilogia que trata de Espana" that she found there.

I look over and laugh. "Te interesa?"

"Si, mucho."

"Quieres hacer el trabajo para mi?"


She reads me a fragment of one of the poems in the article about the post-Civil War Spanish poet. She gets excited. "Siempre con el doble sentido! Es tan buena."

I tell her that I have a hard time picking up on the double meanings in the Spanish language. She launches into an explanation of the poem she was reading. But then she gets really excited. She asks me of my understanding of the historical situation in which Blas de Otero was writing.

I shake my head, "muy poco."

One hour later, several poems, and a few webpages later and I not only have an understanding of Blas de Otero's situation, but I'm discovering more pieces of the Spanish Civil War and the oppression that followed.

A quote from Dolores Ibarruri. "Prefiero morir de pie que vivir de rodillas." (I'd rather die on my feet than live on my knees.)

Pictures of the Republican and Fascist soldiers.

And then start the stories.

Laura tells me that Asturias was completely Republican during the Civil War, with Oviedo as the only Fascist city.

"Do you know what they did to kill Asturias? They hired troops from Morocco and told them to come, kill, rape, and steal. Do whatever they want.

They came to my pueblo.

My great-grandmother was raped and then killed. She had eight children. My grandmother was the oldest one, and she ran with the rest and hid in the caves. There were a lot of people hiding in the caves."

"Ostia," is all I can manage. And I feel once again like I'm discovering this past I had no idea existed.

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