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”And of Clay Are We Created” by Isabelle Allende tells us a compelling story about a young girl Azucena being trapped in a mud-pit like a prisoner after a volcano erupted, perishing the whole village. Rolf Carle is a television news reporter who had been dispatched to cover the disastrous scene and finds Azucena and tries to rescue her. The story created detailed images of a sad, sorrow, and tragic mood, while the tone was sympathetic towards Azucena. With a crafted plot and story structure, Allende illustrates the theme of realism and images throughout her story.
The compelling story seems to have many themes, not just one. One of the key themes is the relationship between Rolf Carle and Azucena. Because of Azucena, Carle Is able to face his past and disturbing memories. The bond that connects between Carle and Azucena helps inspire Carle to open up his emotions and face his darkest fears. Carle’s profession as a news reporter seemed to affect his life as he once was someone who has barriers between himself and the outside world.
Allende demonstrates many good examples of imagery and tone to enhance a better clear understanding of the story. Allende stated “…was cold and that one could begin to smell the stench of corpses.” This quote is good imagery because it makes the reader imagine the horrific smell of dead people while the weather is cold. Another good example of imagery is when Allende states “…but she said it was not just rubble, that she was also held by the bodies of her brothers and sisters clinging to her legs.” This imagery leads the readers to focus on imaging your siblings clinging onto you for the hope of their lives, knowing that you are responsible for saving them. This quote also lets the reader feel sympathize because just the thought of someone losing a sibling is unbearable and can be one of the toughest things to do.
Within the story, there are a few symbols that appear at various points which are the tire and the pump. Allende states “Someone brought hum a tire, which he placed beneath her arms like a lifebuoy, …” and “Azucena was shivering inside the tire that held her above the surface.” These two quotes refer to the tire that Rolf Carle used to try to save Azucena from sinking into the mud pit. The tire symbolizes hope because Azucena knows that help is coming, but just doesn’t know exactly when and the tire is the only thing that is saving her from drowning. “It is a case of eminently unstable emotions that never crystallize in form or in virtue and therefore make the mind restless and unsettled: “Hope is ‘inconstant pleasure, arising from the image of a thing future or past, of whose outcome we are in doubt.’ Fear is ‘inconstant pain, likewise arising from the image of a thing in doubt.'”
”In the meanwhile, more television and movie teams arrived with spools of cable, tapes, films, videos, precision lenses, recorders, sound consoles, lights, reflecting screens, auxiliary motors, cartons of supplies, electricians, sound technicians, and cameraman: Azucena’s face was beamed to millions of screens around the world. And all the while Rolf Carle kept pleading for a pump.” The pump symbolizes the lack of humanity. Humans bring in all the technology that they had but could not bring the one item that was needed, which was a pump. The viewers thought that social media and new casting was more important rather than saving Azucena.
In many different ways, Allende also shows the readers how to feel sympathy for Azucena. Allende stated, “The girl could not move, she barely could breathe, but she did not seem desperate, as if an ancestral resignation allowed her to accept her fate.” “How, finally, they were able to accept death. Rolf Carle prayed in silence that she would die quickly because such pain cannot be borne…Azucena gave up, her eyes locked with those of the friend who had sustained her to the end. Rolf Carle removed the lifebuoy, close her eyelids, held her to his chest for a few moments, and then let her go She slowly sank slowly, a flower in the mud.” Although Azucena ended up dying, it makes us readers feel sympathy towards Azucena, because she could have been rescued only if they brought the pump sooner rather than being fixated on her story. Azucena had to go through all the turmoil in order to survive until the end but just wasn’t able to do so.
Allende also inputs emotions and self-inflicting life scenarios into the reader’s minds. The pathos between Rolf Carle and Azucena was a soul-searching reciting for Carle’s own life. All his life he had kept everything to himself. Carle never thought that he would find a “fragment of his past, lost thirty years” until he met Azucena. It is the second day that Carle and Azucena were together when Rolf begins to open up his locked doors and letting his forgotten memories come back to him. Carle started to bring his emotions out as he started to mention his darkest secrets such as his abusive father, or his retarded sister. “That night, imperceptibly, the unyielding floodgates that had contained Rolf’s Carle’s past for so many years began to open, and the torrent of all that had lain hidden in the deepest and most secret layers of memory poured out, leveling before it the obstacles that had blocked his consciousness for so long… Sorrow flooded through him, intact and precise as if he had lain always in his mind, waiting.”
In the last short stories of Eva Luna written by Isabel Allende, comes a story with an imaginative, compelling, suspenseful, and tragic called “And of Clay Are We Created”. Allende tells this compelling story with her story structures and metaphors, to make us readers as if we were actually there ourselves. The mood and the tone, very suspenseful yet emotional to keep the readers wanting more. Humanity is incapable of overcoming many hardships and catastrophes even with much and dedicated efforts.
- Allende, Isabel. “And of Clay Are We Created” The short Stories of Eva Luna. Macmillan Publishing Company 1991.
- “Hope and Fear.” The geometry of the Passions: Fear, Hope, Happiness: Philosophy and Political Use, by Remo Bodei and GIAN PIERO W. DOEBLER, University of Toronto Press, Toronto; Buffalo; London, 2018, pp. 53–62. JSTOR, www.jstor.org/stable/10.3138/j.ctv5j02f6.6.
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