Nada (which literally means nothing in Spanish), has been translated from Spanish into English by Edith Grossman. The novel revolves around the life of a young woman seeking a trace of peace and sanity from the sheer ugliness of her war torn country and chaotic home life.The Novel has an Introduction by Mario Vargas Llosa and was awarded the Premio Nadal in 1944 .This novel was previously translated as Andrea by Charles F. Payne (1964) and as Nada by Glafyra Ennis (1993) .The novel ranks high in the literary world and it is said that the novel is a reflection of the authors life herself who was 23 at the time of writing the novel. The writer converted to Catholicism in 1951 and wrote many other novels, yet this is her most famous novel to date.Laforet's novel Nada is a prominent example of the novelistic form of Bildungsroman (self-cultivation") which is generally an exploration into the social or psychological growth of the main male character or protagonist from childhood to maturity .Many academics have interpreted Andrea's life to be a as a female version of the male Bildungsorman.This novel ranks among the most important literary works of post-Civil War Spain. The Novel is almost a reflection of Laforet's own life and as the story revolves around the life of the young protagonist, Andra who after being orphaned goes to live with her extended family in the war torn Barcelona to attend University.
Before I go on to discuss the role of women in era as represented by Nada it would be worth mentioning the social circumstances the war torn Spain was reverting to in order to "heal" itself from the war damage. According to Lannon(1991)1,
" all separation and divorce petitions were suspendedthe law which had introduced civil marriage was annulled.the right given to women by the 1931 Constitution, to retain a nationality different from that of their husband, was removed.the Divorce Law of 2 March 1932 was repealed and divorces already granted under the law, that involved canonically-married people, were declared null and void..the legalization of abortion by the Catalan Generalitat in December 1936 was swept away together with all vestiges of Catalan autonomy, abolished on 5 April I 938 as insurgent forces advanced on Catalonia..It was particularly evident from wartime legislation on education that the place of women was to be separate, subordinate, and domestic.. The ending of co-education was formalised stipulated that all women teachers must teach in girls"
Lannon goes on to highlight the subjugation of women's rights in the name of religion and reform when he writes 2
"Inspectors were urged to establish local courses for women teachers, to help them prepare their pupils for their 'important maternal function.The very fact that this was a civil war, erupting from bitter ideologicaldisagreements, made it inevitable that conflicting views about Spanish social structure, including the role of women, were at issue"(Lannon,1991).
In her 3article,Mayock has also depicted the tightening noose over the freedom of the female sex when she writes in the words of Morcillo Gomez that the Universal Law 1943 aimed at entrenching the family values thereby giving the "Falange's Feminine Section the duty of maintaining Catholic values in Spanish Women" thus stating that the women now had the duty to defend traditional family values and preserve the culture and "maintain happiness in the home.
With this background one can well understand the frustration the whole society was going through and in the words of Mayock(2004) this was a time of the emergence of the "archetypal female protagonist of the post war period: entrapment and exile."4
This extended family consists of her Uncle Roman (who is depressed), the controlling character of her Aunt Angustias, her abusive Uncle Juan and his wife Gloria. The aftermath of the war has left them poor and they live in a congested apartment. The novel shows how the aftermath of th