octavio paz

Amelia Freno


Multi-Culture Unit

3 Febuary 2001

Ocatavio Paz: rags to riches

“This is an irreplacceable loss for contemporary thought and culture - not just for
Latin America but for the entire world,” said Mexican President Ernesto Zedillo. This
was the common lost shared world-wide. Octavio Paz was known for many things in his
lifetime such as his works of poetry and essays, because of his fine works of arts he often
received many awards and recognizations for his skills and abilities in writing. Paz’s
writings often reflect his personal childhood experiences and allowed him to
incorperation his culture and perspection of this native surroundings. Octavio Paz lets his
culture shine though his works in many ways paz often descrides his native backrounds,
interwinded certain slang words and examplifies his childhood experiences throughout
his writings.
Octavio Paz was born on March 31 1914 in Mexico City. Both sides of Paz’s
family came from different ethnic roots. His Fathers side was a group known as Mestizo
from a state known as Jalisco. His Father was a lawyer who was involed in the Mexican
Revolution. His grandfather was a well known jurnalist who fought against the French.
Octavio’s mother’s side were purely Spanish imigrants.
As a young boy Octavio Paz experienced the result of urbanlization to his village,
Paz recalls:
“We lived in a large house with a garden. Our family had been impoverished by
the revolution and the civil war. Our house, full of antique furniture, books and
other objects, was gradually crumbling to bits. As rooms collapsed we moved the
furnitur into another. I remember that for a long time I lived in a spacious room
with part of one of the walls missing. Some magnificent screens protected me
inadequately from the wind and rain . A creeper invaded my room......”.
The civl war and Mexican Revolution seems to have a great effect on his writings. It
seems to have given Paz a greater sense of domestics and pride for his culture and native
Octavios father was on influence on him because he had taken part as a lawyer in
the Mexican Revolution, which gave Paz a sence of reality in the revolution. Paz
probably got his unique writting abilities from his grandfather who often attacked the
French . This makes it amazing that Paz’s writings can be so calm with his influences
being so bold. That shows Paz has the qualtities to be independant and go against the
fades. The biggest influence on Paz’s writing is not a person ,but a thing. It is his garden
in his backyard. Octavio makes many references to this jungle like garden in his writings.
Octavio even refered to this garden in his 1990 noble speech:
“ The Garden soon became the centre of my world; the library, an enchanted cave
. I used to read and play with my cousins and schoolmates. There was a fig,
temple of vegetation, four pine trees, three ash tress, a nightshade, a pomegranate
tree, wild grass and prickly plants that produced purple grazes. Adobe walls. Time
was elastic; space was a spinning wheel. All time, past or future, real or
imaginary, was pure presence. Space transformed itself ceaselessly. The beyond
was here, all was here: a vally, a mountain, a distant country, the neighboors’
Octavio bases many of his poems on his enchantment with the garden.
Paz had great respect for his culture, he appoached the differences and tried to
live within the set rules of his ethnic roots. The Mexicans/Spaniards are known as hard
works and appeciate their earnings. Octavio went though many rough times as a child
such as when Zapata ( a peasant leader of Mexico’s 1910-1920 revolution) was murdered
in 1919, and the Paz family went into brief exile in Los angeles and there they were
selling pieces of furniture to make ends meet.
Octavio soon made things change for himself. Paz with his interlecture mind and
his politic sense was sure to be going far. At the age of 16 he got his first poem
published and a year later he got his first essay published. In 1937 he travelled to many
countries such as Valenica and Spain to participate in the International Congress of
Anti-Fascist Writers. He made his trip back to Mexico in 1938 we he began to establish a
journal called Taller, a