My middle daughter, Valerie, gave me a copy of The Penquin Book of International Women's Stories edited by Kate Figes for Christmas. I was, of course, very happy to get it. Yesterday I was looking through the book to see what countries for Project 196 might be found in the collection. In the table of contents they have the country of the author next to their name and I saw "Isabel Allende-Peru" so I read the story and I am very glad I did. She was born in Peru (1942) to parents from Chile who were serving as diplomats in Peru. Her parents returned to Chile shortly after her birth and she has always been involved in writing about Chile (one of her cousins was elected President) and on her webpage it is clear she thinks of herself as Chilean. She has been an American citizen since 1993 and has lived in California since 1987. Given this I decided not to count her as my writer from Peru for Project 196, in which I am posting on a short story from all 196 countries in the world. That being said, Isabel Allende is a writer of tremendous popularity, with over 57 Million books sold, translations into 30 languages and numerous awards and honorary degrees. You can learn more about her work and very interesting life on her webpage.
"Two Words" is one of her better know short stories. It was in fact required reading at La Salle College, one of Manila's most prestigious universities last term in Junior English. The story very much has the feel of Latin American magic realism. The central female character is a woman who grew up as an orphan with no one to help her. She learns the power of words and how to read, a very big thing in a largely illiterate society. She makes her living by writing letters for people, with every letter she gives people two secret words to help protect them. She rapidly develops her fame as a woman with a great ability to use words, to caste a spell with them. The place she lives is rugged, nearly in a state of anarchy with bands of bandits disguised as political groups roaming the countryside and terrorizing people at will. One day the woman is kidnapped and brought to the command post of "The Colonel". He has heard of her power with words and he wants her to write a speech for him, one he can give throughout the country to get himself elected president. Where ever he goes people are mesmerized by the speech. It also appears the woman has cast a spell on the colonel that made him fall in love with her. His second in command wants to kill her as a witch but the colonel will not have it. I will leave the rest of the very intriguing story untold.
"Two Words" is a very interesting story and it is not hard to see from reading it why she has sold such a huge number of books. I will hopefully be reading more of her work in 2013 and beyond.
Please share your experience with Isabel Allende with us
Essay on Two Words
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The short story “Two Words” by Isabel Allende is a tale about a girl who went by the name of Belisa Crepusculario. She had extreme desire to be the best at selling words, since the first time she saw words in the sports section of the newspaper. Belisa learned to read from a priest for 20 pesos and read the dictionary until she knew it cold. She went from the top of blistering cold mountains to scorching hot coasts selling her words in markets and fairs. Belisa’s words became popular fast and everyone knew who she was. People waited for her from year to year to hear her words.
The main focus in this story is on the two words that she said to El Mulato that cursed him. This shows that you can’t be so quick to judge…show more content…
I believe that the author tries to lead the reader in to sympathizing for the people when the author wrote, “The rebels swept into town like a stampeding herd…. Chickens took wing, dogs ran for their lives, women and children scurried out of sight, until the only living soul left in the market was Belisa Crepusculario.” Because this quote from the story shows how everyone’s scared of both the Colonel and El Mulato except for Belisa.
The setting is important in this story cause the story is set in Spain back in the time when women had no rights and were only used to cook and clean. But Belisa contradicts society by putting a curse on El Mulato a mighty all-powerful man who everyone is scared of except Belisa. When Belisa curses El Mulato the once all mighty man El Mulato is in the hands of a woman who defeated him.
When reading this short story I think that we are suppose to feel surprised after reading the story from Belisa’s accomplishments because Belisa went from being unpopular and poor to being the most widely known and the most powerful at the end of the story. The message in this story is aimed to the reader and it says that anyone can do anything they want if they put there mind to it, and if u have the determination you can accomplish a lot no matter what you are dealt with in life. Another message in the story is that no matter how strong or powerful one is there will always be someone bigger and better.
When I first read this story I found it