Gabriela Mistral's uncharacteristic short stories, which she began writing at the age of fourteen, demonstrate the Chilean poet's need to express violence through the brief narrative genre. Mistral wrote six short stories and in all of them she blurs the boundaries between gender and violence. For the sexes to be defined, Mistral seems to use violence as a means to distinguish them. When women suffer through men's actions, both gender performances become more pronounced and defined: women and men exist precisely because of men's harmful actions. A shift of perspective and agency occurs when men fail to recognize their own behavior and blame women for their fate. Both sexes lose their subjectivity (or sexuality) and become so intertwined that their differences are no longer perceptible. The two stories analyzed in this essay are the first story Mistral wrote, "El perdón de una víctima" and her last, "El rival." In both, Mistral demonstrates her wariness to define a norm for heterosexual relationships, while at the same time, she attempts to discern female difference
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