Rosario Castellanos: The New Mexican Woman (p. 6)
Among the voices that spoke out in tribute to Rosario Castellanos at the time of her tragic death in 1974 was that of Mexico`s premier poet, Carlos Pellicer: Rosario Castellanos is an eminent example of the new Mexican woman.
An admirable poet and short story writer, a novelist who portrays the situation of the Indians of Chiapas so miserably treated since the first moments of the Conquest, her love for exploited human beings, her progressive ideas, her work as professor at the National University, her labors as Mexican Ambassador to Israel, her goodness, her moral integrity-all made of Rosario Castellanos, whose recent loss in the plenitude of life we her admirers so profoundly lament, an eminent example of the new Mexican woman.
The years since her death have witnessed a renewed appreciation of Rosario Castellanos` many contributions to Mexican life and an enhanced awareness of the artistic merit of her multifaceted creative endeavors. Beloved as one of her country`s most distinguished literary personalities, she is an insightful and ironic interpreter of Mexico`s cultural uniqueness.
She is admired not only for her abilities as poet, essayist, short story writer, novelist, and critic, but also for the warmth of her personality and for the breadth and quality of the sum total of her cultural and human achievements.
Everything she wrote-first in poetry, then in prose- was an outgrowth of her own experience, her method of working her way through the many conflicts of her life. It served as a means of poetic unburdening for the feelings of sadness and rejection in her childhood, a light in the darkness of her lonely existence that gave her a sense of dignity and self-worth. Later it became the vehicle for reliving those experiences and for expressing her sense of solidarity with the human community.
Hers was a committed art, her life devoted to serving others. She was a person who, in spite of the contradictions and conflicts of her own existence, gave freely of herself to others, was genuinely concerned for the well-being of her fellowman, and was ever reaching out to touch the lives of other people. As Elena Poniatowska expressed it: "I always had the impression that Rosario went about among people with a flower in her hand looking for someone to give it to."
This sense of solidarity with humanity finds eloquent expression in one of her earliest poems, "El otro":
Why speak the names of gods, stars,
foam on an invisible ocean,
pollen from the remotest gardens?
If life causes us pain, if each day dawns
tearing at our innermost being, if each night
falls convulsed and afflicted.
If we feel pain for someone, for some man
we do not know, but who is
present at every hour and is the victim
and the enemy and love and all
that we lack to be whole.
Never say that the darkness is yours alone,
don`t swallow your happiness in a single gulp.
Look around you: there`s someone else, there`s
always someone else. . . .