Isabel Allende: Tells Tales of Passion

Allende begins her tale in a humble manner, a way to make her listeners more comfortable and familiar with her speech and ideas. She lists topics that appear again and again in her books. Due to her past we can trust her judgment on how to incorporate these themes in the stories in a way we can all understand. She gives justice to her tales, and authenticity to the struggles of her characters. Perhaps it is because of her own struggles that her characters struggles don’t have to be overly theatrical for us to care and sympathize. Her incorporation of magic and power of nature can be linked to her feminism. Most ancient cultures would have some view of women as magical because of their ability to give life. This also, unfortunately, led to many women being burned as witches.

Allende goes on to explain how she carried a flag during the Winter Olympics in Italy and how it made people aware of her on a larger scale than her books had. This was the first time an all women group would be flag-bearers, and she was honored to be chosen as one of the five representatives. Allende respects all those competing in the Olympics and their sacrifices to become the best they can be at their sport and represent their countries. She grants that the elements play a role in who wins, but states that it is what is in ones heart that allows them to win. She says, echoing the Olympic slogan “Passion lives here” because to win one must have passion. In order to do anything well or pursue our dreams we must have passion. She goes on to commemorate the passionate women who have so much for their countries and families. Like Wangari Maathai who won the Nobel Prize for planting 30 million trees that enriched the soil which benefited the farmers, economy, and weather. As well as Somaly Mam, who fights against child prostitution in Cambodia.

She begins her first tale of passion about Tutsi refugees in the Congo in a prison camp in 1998. Rose Mapendo, pregnant and a widow due to soldiers torturing and killing her husband in front of her is the champion. She manages to keep her seven children alive and give birth to twins. When soldiers try to rape her eldest daughter, she holds on to her and doesn’t giver her up even with a gun to her head. The family manages to survive for 16 months and then because of a young American man named Sasha Chanoff with a passionate heart, they are saved. He puts the family in a U.S. rescue plane and Rose Mapendo with her nine children now thrives in Arizona. In Swahili Mapendo means “great love” and we can see just how true that is in Rose Mapendo. Isabel Allende reminds us that her passionate and charismatic female characters are not made up – they don’t need to be – she has plenty of models for characters in our own world.

Allende explains how she became a feminist at a young age, due to the patriarchy of her Chilean family. In a Latin society one rarely hears of feminists because women usually don’t even know anything besides a patriarchal society exists. Feminists are strange and disrupt the society. Women cook and clean and take care of children while men work and that’s that. When your father, brothers, husband, cousins, sons, or any male relation comes home from work it is your job to have supper on the table waiting for them. You serve them and then you usually eat last, making sure there is enough for all the guys first. As a daughter you are raised by your mother to be as good a wife as she is and make your family proud. Once you are married your husband and children to come are your new family and sole focus.

This didn’t settle well with Allende, so she followed her own beliefs.

In a patriarchal society a girl turns to other females in her family for support and comfort, her male relatives usually won’t be as supportive and are only there to protect them and make sure they make the family proud. Close male relatives usually have good intentions but simply do not know how to relate to women. It’s not always a terrible situation, fathers can be loving and protective of their little girls, brothers can be just as protective of sisters, but they always have this expectation that she is weaker, less intelligent thus she should be told what to do, and needs to stay at home and fill her role. The women have their own family inside the family, an imaginary energy link between girls. If a girl is sad she can rely on her sisters, mother, grandmother, aunts, or nieces to uplift her and give her what help she needs. If one girl suffers then all her female relatives will sympathize and be there for her. Because they all feel like they are separated from the ‘male world’ women create their own ‘world’.

In our more modern world we expect that all people have the same rights and are treated as equals. Women still get paid less than men, and many men still like to treat women like they are weaker. Sometimes women are guilty of supporting this theory, we might be too lazy to help carry heavy boxes etc, and then whichever guy helps us develops the belief that we are indeed weaker. By standing by outdated beliefs women think they can ‘worm’ their way out of situations. We often don’t realize the harm we do ourselves. Sometimes the box really is too heavy, but sometimes we just want an excuse not to do something.

Outside of our sight there are many women who suffer because of these beliefs that we haven’t completely rid ourselves of yet. Their suffering is, however, on a far greater scale. Imagine your husband beat you because you didn’t get his dinner to him on time, or you didn’t prepare the meal just as he would have liked. Would you think this justified? Would you stand there and take it, or would you fight back? When you fought back, what kind of as chance would you have to be seen as acting in self-defense in a society ruled by men? All the men would sympathize with your abusive husband and you might end up in an even worse situation. In this kind of society it takes a lot of heart and a lot of bravery to be able to stand up to men. Often you won’t succeed and your struggle will pass unnoticed by others. That is why we who are privileged should help these women stand up for what they and we believe is right. If they cannot do it on their own, shouldn’t we give them our support?

One of the biggest things we can do to help people stuck in such societies is offer education. Education can help eradicate close-minded beliefs and give people freedom. Once educated, all people will have more power and more impact, but the likeliness of their power being used to do good is even more likely. If men see that women can be treated as equals without society going to ruins and women ruling men instead, they may be more willing to stop their prejudice. When a woman is educated even if her children cannot go to school they learn by copying their mother. By empowering women we empower the next generation.

Women are not perfect, and I do not believe putting more women in political offices will solve the world’s problems, but I do believe having more women in power will help somewhat.

One gender is not better than the other. Men cannot rule us, and we cannot be ruled by women. If we can come to a balance of power then we might be able to find some form of peace. We shouldn’t judge who can rule by race, gender, or religion, but by who can have the greatest positive impact on the world. Until we stop judging why what or who you are and judge by what you want to do for the world, our problems cannot be solved. In order to get closer to this goal of real equality we have to start small and then get bigger. Without a solid foundation, anything we build up will just collapse on itself. Giving more rights and more education, empower those who do not have power. It will be a long difficult process but the end result is worth the struggle.

Allende’s passionate men and women in her stories and whom she has spoken of are all glimpses of the type of people we should strive to be. Their success is greater because they put all they had into reaching their goals, and their failures along the way are forgotten and forgiven because they gave their all trying to succeed. As George Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel said, “Nothing great in the world has been accomplished without passion.”


Bear Grylls: Motivational Speaker

Despite moments of great pain and despair, Bear worked hard to regain full mobility and together with a team of friends he planned his expedition. With characteristic determination he raised the enormous sponsorship needed and began training for the daunting challenge.

The actual ascent of Everest took ninety days enduring extreme weather, two months of limited sleep and running out of oxygen in the upper regions of the ‘death zone’ (above 26,000 feet). On May 26th, 1998 at 07.22am, Bear joined only thirty British climbers to have successfully completed the expedition and return alive. Every year the death toll on Mount Everest rises, for every six mountaineers who make it to the top, one will die.

On the way down from his first reconnaissance climb, Bear cheated death while navigating the perilous Khumbu Icefall, the ice cracked and he fell into a 1,000 foot deep crevasse, was knocked unconscious and came to swinging on the end of a rope. Had it not been for the tenacity of his team mates he would not be alive today. This incident was dramatised as part of the award winning, ‘Sure For Men’ advertising campaign, which stars Bear and is being broadcast worldwide at present. It is also known as ‘Rexona’ in Europe.

Before the Everest expedition, Bear spent three years as a Specialist Combat Survival Instructor and Patrol Medic with the British Special Forces. In September 1997, he became the Youngest Briton to climb Mount Ama Dablam in the Himalayas (22,500 feet), a peak described by Sir Edmond Hillary as ‘unclimbable’.

As a keen environmentalist, he led the first team to Jet Ski around Britain testing a pioneering new fuel made from rubbish and owns a nature reserve on an island, off the coast of Wales. Bear was a guest presenter on Meridian TV’s Ridgeriders, talking about the countryside and places of interest on a motorbike ride. As a survival expert he is totally at home in any outdoor situation and when in London he lives on houseboat with his wife. He has a passion for sailing and all extreme sports.

His book, ‘Facing Up’, published by Macmillan soared into the best-seller list and to date has sold over 35,000 copies. His natural talent for communicating with everyone and entertaining led to a major new television series of his own, to be broadcast next year. He has been a lively guest on ‘Ready, Steady Cook’ BBC TV, The Sean Hughes Show, Ainsley’s Meals in Minutes BBC TV, This Morning ITV, Through The Keyhole BBC TV, Bigger Breakfast CH4 and many others. He has presented on The National Geographic ‘Young Explorers’ series and written articles for The Daily Mail, The Telegraph and The Sunday Telegraph.

As one of the youngest motivational speakers on the international business circuit, Bear has won over even the toughest of audiences and has a list of extremely impressive references to his credit.


“There are precious few people in this world who can really make a difference in a positive way, you are one. Many thanks for all you are doing for BA. It is so good for our people to hear and learn from someone who has done so much in a world so different from ours”. CHIEF EXECUTIVE, BRITISH AIRWAYS

“I have never had such a positive reaction to a guest speaker before, the team were simply enthralled…an inspiration to all who listened! Somehow you still managed to make the challenges we face in our jobs relevant on a personal level to yours”. TRADING DIRECTOR, COCA COLA ENTERPRISES LTD

“Bear was exceptionally well received by the audience, we thought he scored 10 out of 10”. BP INTERNATIONAL

“Bear has a wonderful way of conveying his passion and excitement of the life threatening adventures he’s been on in a highly personal and compelling way – the ripples he has sent out across our business has been terrific. His delivery and content for our conference was excellent”. W H SMITH LTD

“Your talk went down extremely well with all of our audience, I received special thank you letters from the Chief Executives saying that your speech was the most entertaining we have had to date . One of the best speakers we’ve had in years” PRICE WATERHOUSE COOPERS

“Our thanks for your professional and inspirational contribution to our lunch, the combination of your particular style and breathtaking video was entirely appropriate and hit all the right notes”. THE INSTITUTE OF DIRECTORS

“All our senior Chief Executives had great things to say about Bear, he was a fantastic speaker”. UBS WARBURG SENIOR TEAM DINNER

“Your fascinating presentation at our Negotiators and Valuers Conference was truly amazing, especially for someone so young. Without exception we were all absorbed, it has had a positive impact across our company”. MANAGING DIRECTOR, CHRISTIE & CO

“He was one of the best and most enjoyable speakers we’ve ever had for our Investors in People dinner”. SUSSEX TEC

“Content of his presentation was excellent and he had a good delivery” AZTEC

“Bear was marvellous, his presentation was unique and we all appreciated his great sense of humour” AXA INSURANCE CONFERENCE

“I have seen a number of presentations on the climbing of Everest over the years, but I can honestly say this is the first time that I have got a real sense of what it means and feels like to attempt the climb and to succeed. Your presentation is delightful and inspiring”. SENIOR PARTNER, DAVIS LANGDON & EVEREST

“We absolutely loved him, he was a fantastic after dinner speaker”. REUTERS

“One of the most moving and honest speakers I have heard in many years.” SPIKE MILLIGAN