And of Clay Are We Created

by Isabel Allende

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Student Question

In "And of Clay We Are Created," why does the narrator feel a "horrible sensation" when she sees Azucena and Rolf on TV?

Quick answer:

The narrator experiences a "horrible sensation" when she sees Azucena and Rolf on the television screen because she is unable to do anything to help.

Expert Answers

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"And of Clay Are We Created" is a short story written by Isabel Allende. It was first published in 1989 and tells the story of a young girl, Azucena, who is trapped in a mudslide and is unable to escape. A reporter, Rolf Carlé, tries to help her but is unable to do so. In writing this story, Allende was inspired by a real volcanic eruption that occurred in Colombia in 1985.

It is important to note that "And of Clay We Are Created" is written from a first-person perspective. Over the course of the story, the reader finds out that the first-person narrator is in a romantic relationship with Rolf. We can see that, for example, in the following passage:

When the station called before dawn, Rolf Carlé and I were together. I crawled out of bed, dazed with sleep, and went to prepare coffee while he hurriedly dressed. He stuffed his gear in the green canvas backpack he always carried, and we said goodbye, as we had so many times before.

This is one of the reasons why it is so difficult for the narrator to watch the events on television, as she is not worried about just anyone—she is worried about her partner. She can empathize with him and feels the anguish and desperation that she knows Rolf must be feeling at the time, and she is unable to do anything to help him in his quest to save the girl's life.

The narrator tells us that she had "the horrible sensation that Azucena and Rolf were by my side," which clearly shows us that she feels like a part of the unfolding events—but a passive part, a part that is unable to do anything but to watch helplessly.

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