And of Clay Are We Created

by Isabel Allende
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In Isabel Allende's "And of Clay Are We Created", describe Azucena's situation when the story opens.

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In the first paragraph of the story, the reader becomes aware of Azucena's situation. She is stuck in a pit of mud with just her head protruding above the surface. Television cameras transmit her plight to the rest of the world, as she struggles to stay alive. A reporter, Rolf Carlé, stays with her and shares her story.

It is in the second paragraph that the reader becomes aware of the events that place Azucena in her current situation. A mudslide resulting from melting ice on the side of an active volcano covers Azucena's village in a "vicious soup" of mud. Attempts to pull her from the mud are unsuccessful. Azucena dies at the end of the third day. Her death is captured by television cameras for the world to see.

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"And of Clay Are We Created" is a partially autobiographical story about a journalist and his encounter with a young Latin American girl who is the sole survivor of a volcanic eruption that has destroyed her village. At the beginning of the story, the eruption has just taken place, and television crews are examining the site of the destroyed village, which has been overflown with mud.

Azucena's situation is revealed to the reader, and the world, by the television crews; she is buried up to her neck in mud, her head like a "black squash"; she claims that the bodies of her dead brothers and sisters are supporting her legs, and she is trapped in place by rubble. She seems physically shocked and weak, and is lethargic and unresponsive at first, probably because of the trauma she has endured.

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