How did you react to the outcome of the story in "And of Clay Are We Created"?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The ending of the story, whilst being undeniably tragic, is also incredibly moving, as although Azucena dies, and Rolf Carle is left initially at least haunted by the experience, constantly questioning whether there was anything he could have done differently to save her, there is also a much more positive aspect of this tragedy that is brought to light. This is achieved through the final night that Rolf and Azucena share together, which is very therapeutic and cathartic as Rolf tells Azucena about his own painful past experiences. Note how the narrator describes the impact of this:

I felt how in that instant both were saved from despair, how they were freed from the clay, how they rose above the vultures and helicopters, how together they flew above the vast swamp of corruption and laments. How, finally, they were able to accept death.

Through this sharing of pain and suffering, both these characters, trapped in various physical and psychological ways, are actually freed in a very profound and powerful manner. They are able to transcend their present pain and suffering and able to acknowledge and confront their own mortality, as signalled in the final few words of this quote, where they can "accept death." This, in a sense, gives this story a happy ending, and my overall reaction is therefore a positive one, because although Azucena died, she did so in a position where she was able to accept her own mortality and come to terms with her inevitable demise.

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