Callaloo 23.3 (2000) 999-1010
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An Interview with Ángela Hernández Núñez
The interview that follows was conducted with Ángela Hernández in the offices of Cemujer (Centro de Solidaridad para el Desarrollo de la Mujer), of which she was the director, in Santo Domingo on May 19, 1993. The interview was conducted during my tenure as a Fulbright scholar in the Dominican Republic 1992-1993, and forms part of a project on Dominican women's writing.
GONZALEZ: When one meets a woman writer or political activist who has created a body of work, especially in Latin America and the Caribbean, she is most often a woman alone, without a husband and family. Then one finds Ángela Hernández Núñez, a young woman, who has already carried out important political work, who has created, and is still in the process of creating, important literary work, and who has, for lack of a better term, multiple family ties. One is faced with an example of what it is possible to accomplish. What are your thoughts about finding yourself in such a position, and what factors have helped you to manage all the different spheres in which you move?
HERNÁNDEZ: I would rather not be taken as a model or example, because if there is one thing that I have learned in my life, it is that one has to find one's own way. Not that this is an original thought, but between saying such a thing and feeling it, in all its quotidian and determining meanings, there is a great distance. I had many models, as everyone does: familial models, religious models, political and literary ones. Yet every time I have tried to be like the people I admire, I have found that their model does not fit me in some way. I always find that I cannot fit perfectly into any model of what feminists ought to be, of what mothers ought to be, of what writers ought to be. And if you do not learn to value this individuality, you create anxieties for yourself because you allow others to pressure you, because you are not a feminist or a writer or a mother in the way that is expected. So it is important to discard your models, to begin with who you are as a unique, singular person, to realize that you are a universe, and that you have to pay attention to your own inclinations and needs.
Naturally, there are many things in one's life which one cannot say were chosen consciously. For example, I found that I had my first and second daughters at a time when I had no understanding of what that meant, especially the responsibilities it entailed. However, once it became a fact that I had one, then two daughters, I took on the responsibility. After all, I was not going to act as if it were an infinite crisis. [End Page 999]
I understand women who have chosen to remain alone to carry out political work or creative work, and, although I must seem quite accompanied, in some ways I too am alone. Perhaps in some deep zone inside myself I am as alone as those women who never married nor had a family. It's a solitude that has to do with one's own search, with one's attempt to not simply join in and repeat what's already there. As a woman, I think that's what happens with women who remain alone--I think that even those of us who have families are in some measure alone--because they do not follow the established pattern of what it is to be a woman, what ought to be the inclinations or charms of a woman. Because they rupture these patterns, having to accept a certain level of solitude is already implied.
So why do these women remain alone, and why do I understand them so well? One factor is the difficulty in finding an appropriate partner. Abigail Mejía, our first established feminist...