In what way is Rolf like Azucena?
Isabel Allende draws a parallel between Rolf and Azucena in the story “And of Clay We Are Created.”
The little girl becomes a symbol or metaphor for Rolf’s hidden, tumultuous childhood. They are alike in that they are burdened with difficult situations. She is buried deep in the clay from the volcanic eruption, and when he approaches her, her wide eyes speak to him. He is drawn to her and cannot leave her side even though he is a seasoned reporter. In the past, he had the ability to detach himself from tragic events while reporting on them with objectivity. In this case, Azucena’s plight reaches deep into his soul. Rolf stays by her side as she spends the night growing weaker, buried in the earth. During this time, Rolf releases his repressed memories of his childhood living with a disabled sibling, an abused mother, and an angry father.
Her plight forces him to face his buried past. Rolf breaks down and cries as his repressed past floods out of him. The young girl he is trying to comfort ends up consoling him through the night. For a time, there is a role reversal in the two characters. For many years Rolf was buried in his past, but as he understands that the little girl’s situation will lead to her death, he realizes he has a chance to live even though it will take him time to heal.