I liked the Avatar project. It was useful to consider how I would have acted in Chile during this time, and to humanize the people who did experience the Dirty Wars.
One thing that I struggled with during the project was maintaining continuity. My avatar fluctuated quite a bit in her political opinions, and I don’t know how realistic this is. I had a hard time finding the line between character evolution and changing personality. I think that skipping so much time between posts made this more difficult than it would have been writing weekly journal entries for one year of the avatar’s life. I also had a hard time with some of the posts because I did not always feel like I had a good understanding of the situation in Chile at the time of the post, and wanted to be realistic. Looking back, I think I was overly concerned with facts. I wish that I had realized at the beginning of the project that it was more important to be truthful than to be factual.
After a few posts, I realized I wanted to use the Avatar project to understand how children who had grown up with the dictatorship as the only reality reacted to it. Although my assigned avatar was already 30 when the coup happened, I explored this through her children. This allowed me to see different effects that the dictatorship could have. Marco, her oldest son, became sympathetic to the military due to the way it was taught in school. Rosa, her daughter, was younger than Marco. She was less affected by this rhetoric during school, and after the dictatorship fell she became very critical of the way her parents acted during those years. I know that this is something that has been common in Germany, as the children of the Nazi regime have grown up. Rosa’s criticism for Catalina was especially potent because Ramon, Rosa’s father, had died before she could criticize him. It was interesting to look at this criticism from the perspective of the parent. As a college student, it is easy to be critical of my parents and grandparents for holding certain perspectives about the world. But in understanding Catalina’s point of view, it is easy to see that her actions had justifications, and Rosa’s criticisms feel harsh.
Overall, I am glad that the Avatar project was a component of this class, even though it was difficult and tedious at times. I thought about my avatar frequently, and tried to figure out her place in society for each post before I sat down to write. This project, as well as the fiction we read for class, certainly enriched my learning.