And of Clay Are We Created Questions and Answers
by Isabel Allende

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In "And of Clay Are We Created," why does Azucena die despite the sustained human efforts and technological assistance enlisted on her behalf?

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Isabel Allende's short story "And of Clay Are We Created" is based on a real event, which took place during a 1985 earthquake in Colombia. In the story, a young girl named Azucena is trapped in the mud and debris from the avalanche caused by the earthquake while a courageous reporter named Rolf Carlé attempts to free her. While Rolf Carlé is reporting the story, he remains by Azucena's side, offering her words of encouragement and attempting to use his connections to attain a pump that would hopefully free her from the surrounding muck.

While Azucena is buried up to her neck in quicksand, debris, and mud, her tragic situation is being broadcast across the world. Rolf Carlé desperately attempts to free Azucena by using ropes, a tire, and poles but is unable to loosen her from the surrounding muck. Rolf Carlé is aware that a simple water pump will suffice and initially has faith that one will be delivered by a helicopter.

While news crews continue to enter the area with technologically advanced cameras and microphones, Rolf Carlé cannot attain a simple water pump. Tragically, the difficult logistics and lack of coordination stall survival efforts and Azucena dies of hypothermia on the third day due to the cold, wet conditions. Despite having a strong heart, Azucena develops a fever and her exposure to the elements make her conditions worsen until she eventually passes away.

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