And Of Clay We Are Created English Literature Essay

“ And of Clay We Are Created, ” written by Isabel Allende, explores what societal psychologists refer to as the bystander consequence. In the narrative, Azucena is a small miss who is trapped in the clay, and needs aid if she is to last. While the miss suffers and was filmed by infinite newsmans, no one really comes to salvage her. The newsmans are more concerned with shooting the miss than with salvaging her life. “ The bystander consequence is a psychological phenomenon where individuals are less likely to impart aid in an exigency state of affairs when other worlds are present than when they are entirely ” ( Myers, 463 ) . Throughout the narrative, Allende uses voyeurism as a critical dramatic device as she connects Eva Luna to Rolf and Azucena. Through the interactions between the characters, Allende is able to look into how voyeurism can take to societal apathy and act as a desensitizer in a crisis.

Allende ‘s “ And of Clay We Are Created ” describes how a host of newsmans and camera operators become desensitized and apathetic towards Azucena as she is deceasing a preventable decease. The state of affairs clearly characterizes the bystander consequence. Surveies by John Darley, a societal psychologist at Princeton University, Allan I. Teger, and Lawrence D. Lewis, his co-workers, demonstrated this psychological phenomenon in the research lab. The most common account of this phenomenon is that, the more people present, the more likely the single perceiver will go through off the duty to assist the victim, unluckily believing that there is bound to be person who is assisting already or is traveling to assist shortly ( Darley, Lewis, and Teger 395 ) . As more newsmans arrive on the scene, each single newsman feels less obliged to really, assist the miss. Although in the narrative Allende does reference, “ Soldiers and voluntaries had arrived to deliver the life, ” the reader is made cognizant that much of the deliverance attempt is uneffective and cumbrous ( 47 ) .

In this manner, Allende affectingly criticizes the authorities for non reacting suitably, when she points out “ geologists had set up their seismographs hebdomads before and knew that the mountain had awakened once more ” ( 47 ) . She goes on to state that the geologists had “ predicted that the heat of the eruption could detach the ageless ice from the inclines of the vent, but no 1 heeded their warnings ” ( Allende 47 ) . The immediate idea that strikes the reader is that this wholly grim episode could hold been thwarted wholly if merely the villagers had been either straight forewarned or even forced to relocate by the governments. Interestingly, Allende seems to indicate out that the villagers themselves did non mind the warnings of the geologists, possibly to extenuate any incrimination on the authorities and the media.

Adding to the defeat and ignorance, the leaders of the authorities and military are unable and/or unwilling to assist procure a pump that could hold drained the clay H2O, which could hold efficaciously saved the small miss ‘s life. Although it is granted that Azucena is non the lone individual in desperate demand of delivering, the fact that she “ became the symbol of the calamity ” ( 47 ) while ne’er having aid is genuinely heartbreaking. Alternatively, the full universe must watch the miss die a slow, agonising decease in forepart of the cameras. What makes the state of affairs so atrocious is that this event closely parallels an existent incident that occurred in Columbia in 1985 ( “ Picture power ” ) . A vent had erupted ( as in the narrative ) , and vomited dust and catalyzed mudslides that engulfed the towns near the mountain. A photojournalist who proceeded to take her exposure, which made headlines throughout the universe, found a 13-year-old miss. Many who saw the exposure were aghast how “ engineering had been able to capture her image for all clip and convey it around the Earth, but was unable to salvage her life ” ( Picture power ” ) . In fact, Allende seems to explicitly inquiry the unity and value of human engineering as she describes how “ more telecasting and film squads arrived with bobbins of overseas telegram, tapes, movie, picture, preciseness lenses, recording equipments, sounds consoles, visible radiations, reflecting screens, subsidiary motors, cartons of supplies, linemans, sound technicians, and camera operators, ” yet how they were non able to procure one life-saving pump ( 50 ) . It is about incredible how so much advanced engineering and machines are brought to movie the catastrophe as opposed to the sum of stuffs and supplies that are needed to assist salvage the victims of the catastrophe. Allende is about imploring person to assist the miss as Rolf keeps pleading for a pump ( 50 ) .

Allende besides masterfully foreshadows that the effort to salvage Azucena ‘s life will necessarily neglect as she tells how “ anyone trying to make her was in danger of droping [ themselves ] ” ( 48 ) . When a rope is thrown to the miss, she tries to catch the rope, but ends up droping deeper into the clay ( Allende, 48 ) . At this point, the reader must besides inquire whether Azucena really wants to be saved. She must hold been in the clay for some clip now, and the hurting and daze would hold been eating off at her will to last. In fact, when the rope is thrown at her, she makes no attempt to catch the rope ( Allende, 48 ) . Has Allende doomed Azucena to decease already? For a piece, the reader is given small beams of hope that the miss will finally be rescued and that there will be a happy stoping, but in all honestness, most of the marks point toward certain decease for the miss. Another effort to deliver her by binding a rope beneath her weaponries is besides thwarted when the miss cries out in hurting from them drawing on the rope ( Allende, 48 ) . She is stuck in the clay and is merely unbroken from being wholly consumed by the clay when she is given a tyre as a life buoy ( Allende, 48 ) .

Allende skilfully blends fact and fiction, by making her ain narratives from events that have transpired in the existent universe. She creates characters that tell a absorbing narrative, and go really credible. In the narrative, Rolf is a newsman who finds Azucena, the miss trapped in the clay and dust. Samuel Amago, a literary critic authorship in the Latin American Literary Review, asserts that “ [ Rolf ] tries to give [ Azucena ] the inspiration to populate while the impersonal telecasting cameras look on without assisting ” ( 54 ) . He has become battle-tested through his work as Allende explains: For old ages, he had been a familiar figure in newscasts, describing live at the scene of conflicts and calamities with amazing doggedness. Nothing could halt himaˆ¦it seemed as if nil could agitate his fortitude or discourage his wonder. Fear seemed ne’er to touch him, althoughaˆ¦ he was non a brave adult male, far from it. ( 47 )

Through Azucena ‘s battle, he ends up undergoing a personal transmutation by abandoning his distant stance as a newsman that had served him so good in old episodes, and by passionately encompassing the miss ‘s destiny personally.

This is where voyeurism comes into drama. This is non the sort of voyeurism confined merely to the sexual fetish of having satisfaction from detecting a sexual happening or object, but as Elizabeth Gough, a literary critic authorship in the Journal of Modern Literature, states that it besides includes any sort of “ intense, concealed or distant gazing ” ( 93 ) . Eva Luna is non physically present with Rolf and Azucena, but she is able to see everything that is happening through the intelligence. She is in a manner, descrying on the two people. The strength of her gazing is noticeable as the reader finds that Eva is emotionally, connected as she witnesses the events on telecasting.

The first facet of voyeurism we find is the camera in the narrative. Rolf is a newsman and sees everything through a lens. Allende describes how “ the lens of the camera had a unusual consequence on him ; it was as if it transported him to a different clip from which he could watch events without really take parting in them ” ( 47-48 ) . The mechanical tailoring of the cameras turn overing as a human life is easy failing portrays the media as impersonal, cold, and heartless. To Rolf, the camera lens acted like a desensitizer and promoted a sense of separation between Rolf and his milieus so that while he was physically at the scene, his head was in another safe, unafraid topographic point. Eva Luna realizes that for Rolf, the “ assumed distance [ between the lens and the existent universe ] seemed to protect him from his ain emotions ” ( 321 ) . Rolf had erected a psychological self-defence mechanism in response to his traumatic experiences as a immature kid. His injury largely stems from his guilt for non protecting his sister, Katharina, from their opprobrious male parent. Allende suggests that Rolf could non forgive himself for non salvaging his sister, but through his attempts to salvage Azucena- and through his subsequent emotional revelations- he could eventually “ weep for her decease and for the guilt of holding abandoned her ” ( 328 ) . Through this act of credence, Rolf eventually realizes that all his life he had been “ taking safety behind a lens to prove whether world was more tolerable from that position ” ( Allende 328 ) . Allende suggests that Rolf ‘s voyeuristic attack to life had led to shoal success as a newsman, and weakened his ability to swear his ain emotions every bit good as other worlds. Why else did it take him so long to accept that Azucena was traveling to decease? It was because he was excessively afraid to experience the hurting of loss once more, merely like when he lost his sister.

One of the most memorable turning points in the narrative occurs when Azucena helps Rolf interrupt down his emotional barriers and to come to footings with ain yesteryear. Azucena accomplishes this non by stating much, but by listening to Rolf ‘s narratives until he could non keep back the “ dogged floodgates that had contained Rolf Carle ‘s yesteryear ” ( Allende, 327 ) . In a authoritative reversal of functions, Azucena takes on the nurturing function of the grownup during Rolf ‘s weak and vulnerable minutes. Allende portrays Rolf ‘s female parent as an uncaring, cold adult female who would non give him emotional support or even to dry his cryings ( 329 ) . Azucena is the 1 who tells Rolf non to shout, something a traditional female parent figure would hold done ( Allende 329 ) .

Voyeurism is besides apparent when Eva Luna, Rolf ‘s lover, watches all that occurs in the intelligence on telecasting. The physical distance between Eva and Rolf is tangible, as Allende explains through Eva: “ Many stat mis off, I watched Rolf Carle and the miss on a telecasting screen ” ( 324 ) . Nonetheless, through the narrative we are made cognizant that Eva and Rolf are intangibly bound together. The reader is left in the similar predicament of Eva ; we see natural catastrophes and calamity through the eyes of the media. Therefore, in a sense, the media helps desensitise worlds to existent calamities that occur by supplying a assumed, safe distance for its viewing audiences. This is exactly the ground why really sing something can go forth a truly permanent feeling whereas seeing something on telecasting can look vague and impartial.

However, in the narrative, this assumed distance really fuels the world of what is go oning at the catastrophe scene to Eva. For Eva, it is as if she is physically present at the catastrophe with Rolf and Azucena. The images on the telecasting aid her visualise what Rolf is seeing and even believing at each precise minute, “ hr by hr ” ( Allende 326 ) . It is so surprising and singular how Allende portrays the fond regard of Eva to Rolf even though Eva is limited to the impersonal medium of telecasting to ‘keep in touch ‘ with her lover. Allende explains that Eva was “ near [ Rolf ‘s ] universe and [ she ] could at least acquire a feeling of what he lived through ” ( 324 ) . She farther clarifies that while “ [ T ] he screen reduced the catastrophe to a individual plane and accentuated the enormous distance that separated [ Eva ] from Rolf Carle ; however, [ she ] was at that place with him ” ( 324 ) . Eva and Rolf were connected in head as good, as Eva was able to catch the verbal exchanges between Rolf and Azucena to the point where she was present with them ( Allende 326 ) . Although it can be argued that Eva is much more personally connected and involved than the general reader is to the state of affairs at the site of the calamity, the reader is drawn into the struggle and battle by the personal narration of Eva. The reader is told the narrative through Eva ‘s position, and therefore we are left with an feeling that is comparable to the narrator. The voyeurism goes many ways.

Intensifying this thought of long-distance interconnection is how Allende ties Eva to Azucena, in add-on to Rolf. Through Rolf ‘s interplay with Azucena, Eva is hurt by the miss ‘s every agony, and feels Rolf ‘s defeat and powerlessness ( Allende 324 ) . The three are enjoined together in a curious love trigon. Rolf tells Azucena that he loves her “ more than he loved his female parent, more than his sister, more than all the adult females who had slept in his weaponries, more than he loved [ Eva ] , his life comrade ” ( Allende 330 ) . Of class, he does non intend Eros love, the sort between grownup work forces and adult females, but a more per se human one of neighbourly love and good will. Eva, in her bend, expresses her love for Rolf and Azucena when she admits that she “ would hold given anything to be trapped in that well in her topographic point, [ and ] would hold exchanged her life for Azucena ‘s ” ( Allende 330 ) . We are so forced to analyse whether the voyeuristic qualities of the media affects the different types of cubic decimeter

ove shown in the narrative. For the most portion, the media helps Eva to show stronger love for Rolf and to go affiliated to Azucena, whom she had ne’er met. Without the media, Eva would ne’er hold known what had happened at the catastrophe every bit good as the individuality of the small miss who had enormously affected Rolf. For Rolf, his initial voyeurism through the lens of the camera had acted as a desensitizer and emotional roadblock, and when faced with the crisis, his love for Azucena is bolstered as he comes to recognize he must allow travel of his yesteryear and accommodatingly accept the state of affairs. However, Rolf ‘s love for Eva seems to hold taken a hit after he returns from his ordeal ( Allende 331 ) .

A acrimonious inquiry one is forced to inquire is what or who precisely Allende is faulting in her narrative, or if she is even faulting person or something in peculiar for Azucena ‘s decease. While it is clear that Rolf decidedly undergoes a psychological metabolism, we can non logically presume that this alteration is for the better. The terminal of the narrative suggests that Rolf will ne’er be the “ same adult male ” once more, but that he will finally “ heal ” ( Allende 331 ) . Eva hopes that one twenty-four hours when Rolf “ return [ s ] from [ his ] incubuss, ” they shall be the happy twosome they used to be ( Allende 331 ) . However, the stoping suggests that for Rolf, the incident was every bit traumatic as his initial injury as a kid. Rolf is non free from his yesteryear, as Eva would wish him to be. In fact, although he is freed from his childhood injury, he is still haunted by his failure to salvage Azucena. Possibly Allende is proposing that emotional healing can merely happen when the victim is ready to be healed.

Then is Allende faulting the media for Azucena ‘s decease? Alternatively, is she indicating out the gross inability of the authorities to step in fleetly and to protect its citizens? Probably, a spot of both. The media is clearly depicted in a heartless, cold mode. Why did anyone non helped? However, if any one thing is to be blamed, it should be the society where this incident occurred. Allende seems to be disputing the awkwardness and unpreparedness of the authorities and its leaders for non rallying the resources and bravery to salvage the miss. The villagers are besides criticized as heedless saps who merely brought the catastrophe upon themselves by non listening to the geologists. This makes it difficult to fault anyone at all. Possibly Allende is proposing that it is unneeded to fault anyone, but instead to calmly accept what happened, merely as Azucena does in the terminal. One thing is though: that Allende does non O.K. of the societal apathy that permeates throughout the narrative, and claims that it was the involuntariness to assist that finally kills Azucena. This makes us inquire, merely how unsafe it can be to stay a bystander, alternatively of actively helping those who need our aid.

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