Memory and Reminiscence
For Rolf Carlé, the most important thing that happens during his days with Azucena is his confrontation with his long-buried memories. For years he has refused to think about the horrors of his own past: having to bury concentration camp prisoners, and living with an abusive father who sometimes locked young Rolf in a cabinet. Throughout his professional life as a journalist, he has taken extraordinary risks, choosing to cover wars and natural disasters and placing himself in danger. Talking with Azucena, he comes to realize that these risks have been attempts to build up his courage so that one day he might face his memories and his fears.
The process of remembering is a painful one, bringing this brave, rugged man to tears. Azucena thinks he is crying because of her suffering, but he tells her, ‘‘I’m crying for myself. I hurt all over.’’ The pain continues long after the girl’s death. When Carlé returns home, he has no interest in working, or writing, or singing. He distances himself from everything he loves, including the narrator, and spends hours staring at the mountains and remembering. The narrator understands the process. She knows it will take time ‘‘for the old wounds to heal,’’ but knows also that when the process is complete Carlé will return to her.
Individual versus Nature
The theme of people battling with nature runs through ‘‘And of Clay Are We...
(The entire section is 711 words.)
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