During the second night Rolf Carlé spends with Azucena in Isabel Allende’s “And of Clay We Are Created,” he realizes through her suffering he cannot escape his tormented past.
As he stays with the child,who is burning in clay from the volcanic eruption, the demons of his childhood in Europe come to haunt him and he must confront them. In some ways, her plight is parallel to his. As a child, he was abused by his father and locked in an armoire for hours at a time for deeds he did not commit. This made him feel as though he was buried alive. He also sheltered his sister, who had Down’s Syndrome, from their father who found her to be a disappointment. Together, they hid under a dining room table that was draped with a large tablecloth. He witnessed evidence that his mother was abused, and he was forced to bury the dead in concentration camps.
During that second night, he realized he lived his whole adult life taking extraordinary chances to compensate for the trials he lived through during his youth. He is spent from these revelations and deteriorates into tears.