Critical Context

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

María Luisa Bombal wrote The Final Mist while sharing the kitchen table with Pablo Neruda, who at the time was composing Residence on Earth, a book which would revolutionize poetry. As many critics have pointed out, The Final Mist was an equally significant landmark for Latin American prose. Published during a period in which the predominant literary trend was Criollismo—a nativistic depiction of Latin American prototypes and their peculiar geographic environment rendered through the aesthetic mode of realism—The Final Mist presented an avant-garde vision of reality, radically modifying the traditional literary techniques of the period. Subjectivism, poetic elaboration, and the fantastic were elements which made the book an outstanding example of the emerging avant-garde in Latin American writing, as well as a precursor of the world-acclaimed Latin American novel produced during the last two decades.

Apart from its notorious importance in the development of Latin American literature, The Final Mist is considered the most artistic testimony of women’s predicament in Latin America. María Luisa Bombal denounces her society’s unfairness to women by presenting the devastating power of patriarchal society. Forced to fulfill the primary roles of wife and mother, women have no choice except to get married and become housewives. Thus, being marginal to politics and economics, they do not have the...

(The entire section is 435 words.)