Josť  Donoso
Symposium 2001
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Mount Alvernia High School, Newton, MA
Emily Cunningham
"The Metaphor of the Mask in the Works of Josť Donoso"
"The US Involvement in the 1973 Coup in Chile"


In his works The Garden Next Door and Hell Has No Limits, Josť Donoso uses the metaphor of mask for social criticism. The mask hides identities, roles, children, and the bizarre. In Donosoís works his characters hide behind personal masks. The characters hide their insecurities through alcohol, drugs, and women. Donoso criticizes the roles of the government and writers in exile. Donoso illustrates how children in exile were affected by the government and the masks they hid behind. In both novels the bizarre is symbolized through his portrayal of prostitutes and homosexuals.

Josť Donoso also incorporates the political and social turmoil of his home country of Chile into his works. On September 11, 1973 General Augusto Pinochet and his troops, with the help of the United States, took over the country of Chile in a military coup. The United States was directly involved in the preliminary planning and action of the coup. The United States feared that if the President of Chile, Salvador Allende, continued to be President communism would spread throughout the Americas. The United States military and CIA officials worked with the Chilean military forces in carrying out a plan to take over the country. Thousands of people were killed, including Charles Horman, an American journalist living in Chile. The United States was not directly involved in Hormanís death, but the United States government covered up the information they knew about the execution because they did not want the citizens of the United States to know that they were indirectly involved in the killing of an American. The United States government feared a negative response because after the Vietnam War American citizens were reluctant to get involved in conflicts in foreign countries. General Augusto Pinochet became the leader of Chile after the military coup. He enforced strict rules and took away many human rights, and many Chileans were exiled.

Photo credit: http://members.nbci.com/epdlp/donoso.html