In Isabel Allende's short story "And of Clay We Are Created," what is an example of the protagonist undergoing change?

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belarafon | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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"And of Clay We Are Created" is a realistic short story by Isabel Allende.

Although the narrator is a television producer named Eva Luna (unnamed in the story, but known from others in the same anthology), the protagonist is Rolf Carlé, an on-scene reporter. He is well-known worldwide for his dispassionate reporting of tragedy. When he arrives to cover a little girl, Azucena, stuck in the mudslide of a volcanic eruption, he is first concerned with her rescue, and then finds himself deeply affected by her plight. Early in the story, his emotional arc is foreshadowed:

"Don't worry, we'll get you out of here," Rolf promised. Despite the quality of the transmission, I could hear his voice break, and I loved him more than ever. Azucena looked at him, but said nothing.
(Allende, "And of Clay We Are Created")

Here, Rolf makes a promise he cannot keep; his unconscious mind, knowing his own emotional fragility, comes through in his voice. Rolf cannot save Azucena, but he is unwilling to treat her as a mere story, as do others in the media as well as the President of the Republic. Eva Luna hears his voice break and understands. Azucena, who believes that her brothers and sisters are holding her legs, knows from the beginning that she will not survive. Rolf desperately attempts to save her and keep her emotionally secured, but in the end Azucena is the one to tether Rolf, and allow him the emotional security to grieve and heal.

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