Themes and Meanings

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Last Updated on May 7, 2015, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 446

Vivid and explicit language conveys the tragedy and pathos of the women who endure the exile, torture, and death of their Sandinista sons and brothers. It does not compromise its political ideology with euphemisms or extraneous poetic language. The narrator begins the poem as a continuation of an account, another chapter of a chronicle written by a human rights observer. The first line begins “Now I’ll tell you. . . .” The speaker serves as a reporter, a focused intermediary illuminating the experiences of several women as they survive atrocities. From the honesty and integrity of the language emerges a poetic voice speaking from life. It serves as a contemporary epistle, alluding to the biblical letters of the early apostles and disciples as they evangelized and recorded their experiences. The oppression, exile, persecution, and torture of early Christians correspond with the women’s experiences during the siege of Cuá.

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The poem also demonstrates that dreams and visions spun by the magical realism of the traditional Nicaraguan peasants defy and defeat the brutal regime that governs them. Shared dream sequences return the embattled peasants to their inherent dignity and power so that they may determine their own destiny. The women’s imaginations seek out their men. The power of their shared imagination blends their visualization of a peaceful and free village life with the poignant reality of their torture and imprisonment. The women’s “subversive” thoughts cancel out their oppressors’ control. Their faith and tenacity enable them to envision their men’s triumphant return. In their dreams, where night mist shrouds distant mountains, the Cuá women find freedom. This is where they return in their nightly spiritual journeys to “see the boys.” Through their hopes manifested in dreams, the Cuá village survives. The poem chronicles their struggle, and their victory is later proclaimed in “The Women from Cuá Arrived.”

“The Peasant Women from Cuá” serves as a rallying cry for liberation theology, a political and religious movement in which Nicaraguan peasants seek justice and self-determination. The concept of theology in practice as well as theory as means of liberation is not limited to Central American peasants. By transcending the siege of Cuá without minimizing its significance in the Nicaraguan struggle for freedom and justice, the poem serves a greater spiritual mission of conversion and enlightenment. It elicits political consciousness on the part of the reader, as its intense and explicit language reveals the poet’s penetrating focus, committed compassion, and acute insight into humanity’s strengths and frailties. Above all other messages that the poem conveys, it restores dignity to the oppressed. The Cuá women poignantly speak with honesty and integrity as they discover their own language of empowerment.

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