Ana Marie Matute and Miguel Debiles
Ana Marie Matute and Miguel Debiles are some of the most exceptional Spanish writers of the post-civil war in Spain. Although each of them had different childhood upbringing and experiences, the themes of the oppressive and dictatorial leadership of Francisco Franco is illustrated clearly in their works. They both lived the violent and dysfunctional years of the Spanish civil war and their concern for human life, dislike for war, and childhood are some of the subjects that inspired them to write.
Ana was ten years old when the Spanish civil war broke and some of her writing styles show signs of trauma and loneliness. Her fiction reflects the searing experiences she faced as a pre-adolescent during the civil war. Most of her writings favor adolescents which she presents in delicate prose writing. Ana has affection for the old who are humble and rejected. She presents them as victims of the Franco regime and writing in tragic tones, her work is full of social criticism and emotional probing.
Ana’s short stories basically have a common theme and one of the themes that she is well known for includes the world of children and adolescents, their fantasies, illusions and sometimes cruel adaptations which they have been forced to undergo due to the Franco regime. Children feel hated, have resentment and feel deprived because of the war and have to go through harsh maturity experiences. This has denied them of their consciousness as she mentions in her book La Conciencia when the tramp says “"Nobody in the world with pure consciousness, not even the children, "(pg. 1). This shows the pessimism the people of Spain have because of the effects of the civil war where even children who are innocent don’t have a conscious. Her stories bring out not only impassive objectivity but use of lyricism, pathos, monologue, psychological insights, intense drama, sudden and surprise endings, and outrageous violence.
In short, her stories have various complex literary elements which she weaves in together intelligently to make them interesting and memorable. On the other hand, Miguel is known for his love for rural Spain, love for the countryside and nature as he wrote about hunting, fishing, shepherds and blacksmiths. He criticized the Franco regime for making people poor, and analyses the psychological and emotional gap between the middle and lower class characters. He had empathy for the poor who struggled every day to have a better living but the Franco regime did not give them a chance to do so. Instead, they are oppressed and exploited by the rich. Like Ana he uses a tragic tone to criticize the rich land owners who exploit the poor farmers in rural Spain who are struggling to escape a life of bondage and disgrace.
Miguel’s work was characterized by questions of the happenings in daily life and somehow his themes reflect on his own life. His love for swimming and hunting is shown in his book Mi querida bicicleta (pg. 8). He used his writings to show how the Franco regime had ripped happiness and decent lives to those living in the rural areas to by killing their loved ones hence his hate for death and respect for human life.
Miguel also used various complex literary elements to bring out his work just like Ana which included descriptions, use of traditional narratives, perception and simplicity, symbolic language and criticism of literature itself. He used this style to develop themes of defense of nature and hunting which was his hobbies dehumanization which was being practiced by the Franco regime.
In conclusion, these two understood the art of symbols. Metaphors and parables and used it to create their works and hide their creative meanings to criticize the Franco regime which would have otherwise seen them exiled, imprisoned or even executed.