And of Clay Are We Created

by Isabel Allende

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In "And of Clay Are We Created," what equipment does Rolf need to rescue Azucena?

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Rolf Carlé arrives shortly after the volcano explodes, which has left the surrounding environment in ruins with thousands of people and animals buried underneath tons of debris and mud. He ends up spotting a young girl named Azucena, who is stuck in the mire, and his camera crew begins filming her. Rolf Carlé tries numerous attempts to free her from the quagmire and mud to no avail. Rolf and his team initially attempt to pull Azucena from the muck after they throw a rope around her body, but she is weighed down by the debris and mud. After Rolf unsuccessfully dives into the mud in an attempt to free Azucena's legs, he realizes that the only way to free her from the muck is to drain the water surrounding her. In order to drain the water surrounding Azucena, Rolf needs a pump. Unfortunately, Rolf receives word that they will have to wait until the following day for a pump to be transported to the scene.

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Rolf Carle again and again is shown to need nothing more sophisticated than a pump in order to rescue Azucena and save her life. What is ironic, however, is that in spite of all the highly expensive technical equipment that is shipped in by all of the media stations in order to film, record and beam footage of the wreckage and of Azucena around the world, a simple pump is clearly not able to be brought to Carle in order to save her, as the following quote establishes:

In the meanwhile, more television and movie teams arrived with spools of cable, tapes, film, videos, precision lenses, recorders, sound consoles, lights, reflecting screens, auxiliary motors, cartons of supplies, electricians, sound technicians, and cameramen. Azucena's face was beamed to millions of screens around the world. And all the while Rolf Carle kept pleading for a pump.

Note how the irony is built up through the juxtaposition of the technological sophistication of the media channels and the simple pump that Rolf Carle keeps on begging for. The text therefore creates a somewhat cynical stance towards media who are quite happy to trade in on the suffering of others whilst doing nothing to try and appease that suffering or end it themselves. This is likewise something that is communicated by the visit of the president.

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