27
Jan
09

Exile–the theme of Latin American literature

Maroon is the term used by Ramon Arnaud as the Corrigan II disappeared in the horizon after leaving him and his wife, Alicia, to the mercy of the ocean.

As Laura Restrepo explains in her novel, “The Isle of Passion”:

maroon, a variant of cimaroon— and for some game of logical associations, designed the name of the capital punishment that the British pirates of the Caribbean applied to the traitors: they abandoned them in a deserted island, in the middle of the ocean, without other thing than a few drops of sweet water in a bottle and a gun, charged with a single bullet, for when the agony turns unbearable. (p 80)

Clipperton fits the description of such punishment to perfection. A deserted island in the middle of the Pacific Ocean with nothing but crabs, sand and the 13 palm trees that the German Gustavo Schultz planted. Yet, when the story ends, Alicia is asked how she was able to bear the decade she spent in the island with her husband and she replies that they were livable. 

This really makes me think that, after all, exile is bearable as long as it is spent with a partner like the one Alicia had. The had their own isle of passion where they conceived and raised four happy children. Tragedy and hunger was part of their daily routine, but somehow their survival instincts kicked in even after all the men of the island were killed by disease. The women and the children survived.

Moreover, I think this novel is an excellent example of how there are stories everywhere waiting to be told. Restrepo found a great story out of an uninhabited island that nobody remembers;  not even marines will venture into the corals surrounding the island like a death trap waiting for them.


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