According to Guatemalan author and critic Arturo Arias, Salvadoran writer Claribel Alegria is a key figure in the transition in Central American letters from the social realism of the 1950s to the magical realism of the "Boom" in the 1960s. In Alegria's story, however, Beni serves not only as an alter ego but also as a symbol of El Salvador itself. Although Alegria suffers existential pain and personal doubts during the period from 1950 to 1958, the years between writing and publishing Tres cuentos, she lived a remarkably sheltered life, protected from the violence and atrocities taking place in Central America. Her memories of El Salvador are nostalgic and idealized. Neither her literary work nor her personal life were concerned with the sociopolitical realities of her homeland. Memory in Alegria's experience brings the inevitable pain of suffering, loss, and death, issues she struggles with in her early poetry and emotions she would hardly want to inflict on a child.