Could we ever equate something like greatness—or more specifically talent? We humans instinctively clap our hands at something that we appreciate, but is an applause enough. One way of determining greatness of an individual is through awards. And out of all the awards, one of the most prestigious and highly-coveted is the Nobel Prize. To be awarded a Nobel Prize would mean fame for the winner. But perhaps more significantly, it is the recognition that is more satisfying for the recipient.
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Isabel Allende is considered to be one of the brightest contemporary writers. She is one of the women writers from Latin America who were able to achieve worldwide readership. In many respects, her contribution to the Latin-American literature cannot be overlooked. As a testament to her success, she had been awarded many literary awards. This leads us to the query: why such a talented writer like Isabelle Allende is still not given a Nobel Prize for Literature Award?
Since 1901, The Nobel Prize is awarded to a recipient once a year. A notable trait of the Nobel Prize is that it is awarded to a recipient of any nationality. There are a set of judges that will determine who will win the award. Their criteria for judging would be in line with the terms of Alfred Bernhard Nobel’s will: the Nobel Prize in Literature should be awarded to the writer who has created “the most distinguished work of idealistic tendency.” It appears that of the criteria for judging a work has much to do with the idealism within the piece.
Isabel Allende became known for writing stories that are oozing with idealism. She is generally regarded as one of the most nationalistic writers for Latin America. That is not to mention that her works are aesthetically exquisite. Her stories are mostly about lives of the people, the culture, and the mythologies of Latin America. She became famous by portraying the political and gender struggles of Latin America. Some of her best known works that are the political and gender struggles within Latin America are the novel “The House of Spirits” (1982) and the short story “An Act of Vengeance.”
In many sense, her writing could also be considered loyal to her culture. It is agreed by many literary critics that she had continued a tradition that the Nobel Prize winner Gabriel Garcia Marquez, also a Latin-American, had popularized. Both Marquez and Allende’s writing style exhibits much of the writing style called “magic realism.” Basically, in this particular literary genre, magical and mystical things are being treated as normal, as real. And because of the success of Latin-American writers in using this particular genre, magic realism is closely associated with Latin-American literature.
Additionally, maybe just like Marquez, she had become a representative of Latin America to the world. Her portrayal of the Latin American culture and beliefs in her stories makes other cultures understand the Latin Americas better.
Moreover, what makes Isabelle Allende exceptional is the context of her chosen field. It would be gender discrimination to say that there are only a select few women writers that excel in the literary field. There are so many great women writers such as Mary Shelley, Jane Austen, Sylvia Plath, and many more. But Allende is one of the few women writers that come from Latin-America. In some respects, she faces two challenges as a writer, both having to with her being a woman. It is not uncommon to us that the literature and most societies, especially in the Latin-Americas, are male dominated.
Isabelle Allende’s contribution to the Latin-American literature, even to the culture is certainly cannot be dismissed. She really deserves an award for her achievements and contributions to literature—but maybe now is not the time for her to receive a Nobel Prize For Literature.
It would be important to consider that many other great writers also never received a Nobel Prize Award in Literature. To name some of them, James Joyce, Mark Twain, Franz Kafka, Henry James, are just some of the great writers that were not recognized by the Nobel Prize. Even the world-renowned Ernest Hemmingway almost did not win a Nobel Prize.
But even though Isabelle Allende would not receive a Nobel Prize in Literature immediately, she should be handed the award someday. Her love for her homeland just shines through her works—works that are being read and loved by literature enthusiasts around the globe.
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