Final Reflection in my own voice

Doing the avatar project was really interesting and it piqued my curiosity to try to understand not just the macro politics and economics but the personal effects and sort of the zeitgeist of the time. I chose to make my character someone who was not particularly involved in politics, and I was especially interested in exploring how these turbulent decades affected or did not affect the life of someone who was not actively (either willingly or unwillingly) involved with politics.
I both consciously and unconsciously modeled my characters and their life paths and political opinions off my host family from studying abroad in Valparaiso, Chile. The sense I got was that they were not very political, but were displeased with both the situation at the time of the coup, and also with the dictatorship. But people my age were much more political on the left. Wanting to mirror that and trying to mirror that gave life to my characters in my head, but also made me all the more conscious that there is so much detail there is in a real person’s life that it’s hard to recreate.
I was frustrated trying to fill in that level of detail that makes a person be more than a compilation of facts from history class. It was easy for me to put my avatar in very political situations ( Pinochet’s speech at Chacarillas) and even easier to put her into very personal situations (the birth of a grandchild), but I struggled to express how the politics were affecting these personal events, and all other events of daily life. I think this is really what’s interesting: how the political climate affects all parts of daily life, which aren’t necessarily in themselves political.
Despite my frustrations with developing this character fully, I found her to be a good focal point for thinking about what we learned about Chile in class. Being able to think, and being forced to think: how would this event affect Paula? Her parents? Children? Etc. Obviously my answers are always guesses. It was an especially useful challenge at first when she was a Pinochet supporter, because my personal opinion is that that is the “wrong” side to be on.

1 thought on “Final Reflection in my own voice

  1. ssvolk says:

    Thanks for this reflection, Paula (and I’ll continue to call you Paula). I find it quite interesting that you used your host family as a template for your own character. It makes a lot of sense and gave you some important insights into individuals who aren’t necessarily confirmed in their convictions, as many would be in turbulent times. Thanks.

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