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Diary of A Survivor: Literary Analysis

Uploaded by Lili Wolff on Sep 08, 2001

Title: Diary of A Survivor: Nineteen Years in a Cuban Women’s Prison
Authors: Ana Rodriguez and Glenn Garvin
Published: St. Martin’s Press
Type of Book: Assisted auto-biography

Plot Summary
Diary of a Survivor follows nineteen years of Ana Rodriguez’s life, a Cuban woman arrested by Cuba’s ‘State Security’ in her late teens.
As a teenager she had been an activist against the Batista dictatorship which governed Cuba, and at first welcomed Fidel Castro’s take-over of power. Gradually, however, she realises that Castro has no intention of leading Cuba democratically and joins the fight against him. She is betrayed to the authorities by an informant, is arrested, tried and convicted, and is sentenced to thirty years in prison.
Diary of a Survivor tells of Ana Rodriguez’s continuous resistance against political intimidation that eventually ‘breaks’ her captors rather than them ‘breaking’ her. This strong will and courage earns her legendary among fellow political prisoners and civilians as a ‘plantada’; one who cannot be broken.

Themes/ Thematic Statements

  • The ill-effects of communism/ dictatorships on a society is explored through the entire book as it was a constant part of Ana’s life, in fact it is what caused her imprisonment.
  • Human rights abuses in Cuba and in communist countries in general Cuba’s corrupt government hierarchy and legal system also feature throughout the books, like the continual rapes and beatings the prisoners face.
  • People who betray one group of people will end up betraying anyone they come into contact with. This is shown in Isis Nimo, the spy who initially gets Ana sent to prison but eventually gets fired from all her government jobs because of her untrustworthiness.
  • Racism can work in reverse but still produce adverse effects. There are two mentions of black political prisoners (most are white). They are considered unusual because Fidel Castro’s regime was meant to favourable to black people in general.
  • Even people who are said to have firmly set ideas can have doubts, like the ‘hard-line communist soldiers’ who do not join in when the women are being attacked and the guards that in one particular incident slip the starved prisoners food.
  • The pros and cons of the chivalrous Cuban idea that women are considered good and passive, and therefore only the most offensive women criminals are jailed in Cuba, and the disregard of it by some officials. This is touched on whenever there is contact with the common prisoners, and in an especially disturbing scene where a group of female common...

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    Uploaded by:   Lili Wolff

    Date:   09/08/2001

    Category:   Literature

    Length:   9 pages (1,926 words)

    Views:   1428

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