The Search for Oneself in “Loving in the War Years”

The essay Loving in the War Years written by Cherríe L. Moraga had a big impact on me and especially the passage I am paying attention to which is the “Journal Entry: 2 de Julio 1982” that can be found on page xi.

The first thing that draw my attention was the fact that these journal entries are extremely short for a person who makes a living writing. However, Cherríe makes it clear: “It takes the greatest effort even to put pen to paper” (xi). Also, it is a personal journal, it is supposed to be private. Therefore, I consider the length of this entry is another way she has to let her emotions flow: with the lack of long descriptions we can appreciate this discomfort.

On the other hand, it’s precisely in her words from whichI can grasp the rest of her emotions: “effort”, “weighing”, “depression”, “face flat” (xi). From my point of view, with all these words of sadness, this journal seems to be a constant fight between two facets: her desire for expressing her identity and tell her story and the overwhelming feeling of emptiness that surrounds her when it seems that all what could be described and told about her own identity is already said but it is not enough, that the pursuit of this understanding is not over. That is why the expression “bankrupt of feeling” makes sense.

Writing is, apart from her profession, her way of giving her life and way of being meaning, her way of exorcising her demons. When she tells her lover she is depressed, her lover reminds her this is not a feeling but a state. And still, this depression she feels is “keeping the writing back” (xi). The contradiction of keeping something that gives her life meaning back because it does alter feelings inside her that are not pleasant is the key point of this search for herself.

All these elements that I have noticed led me to the conclusion that this passage is about the difficulty of finding or develop one’s identity, especially through telling your own story by writing, creating frustration and discomfort.

One thought on “The Search for Oneself in “Loving in the War Years””

  1. I very much appreciated you putting the metaphor that Moraga is “bankrupt of emotion” in the spotlight. I feel that this metaphor is an excellent way of verbalizing the feeling that results when you are unsure of how to feel, something that I as a writer have struggled with. This metaphor especially resonated with me, as feelings of uncertainty and fluidity are central characteristics of queerness.

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