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Ashes for the Wind

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by

Ariel Zhang

on 3 December 2012

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Transcript of Ashes for the Wind

Setting:
Time- 20th Century
Place- Rural town in South America
Circumstance- People were persecuted
for their political views and the government had power to do what they want.
Juan: He is the protagonist of the story. He has the central conflict. From what the story shows, Juan is a courageous and determined person. One could say he is foolish for letting himself and his family burn to death. But he did that for justice and what he believed in. He might have inspired others to oppose the unfair government. His actions might have had an affect on the antagonists. After all they took the lives of a family. This might cause them to rethink their values. Juan is also nostalgic at times, when he thought of his old friendship with Simon Arevalo. This makes him a round character.
Tellez uses irony and foreshadowing to add to the meaning of this story. It is ironic because the government is supposed to protect and provide justice and freedom to their people. But in the story, the exact opposite occurs. Parts of the story gives hint to what happens in the future. At first Juan had known the son of Simon Arevalo. It is said that he had a bad name as a kid. But now it said nobody would have dreamed what he would to to old friends of his parents. This leaves the reader with the question of what he would do. Certainly his actions will not be pleasant. For example, Carmen says that they would have to kill them for the authority make them leave their home. Then Juan says that he told Arevalo that too. Then Benevides asked mysteriously if anything happened on his way out. Another example was when Juan was at the store and the policeman came in. Arevalo said Juan was one of the quiet ones. The policeman says "we'll see, we'll see." He said that and then smiles in an ominous way. Initiating Event
Juan and his wife, Carmen recieves a visit from Simon Arevalo's son. He tells them that they better clear out of their home. Ashes For the Wind By: Hernando Tellez Carmen comes to the visitor holding her baby. Juan says nothing to Simon. Then they say good bye and the visitor leaves. The visitor had tried to explain why they had to leave. It had to do with politics and authorities. Juan told Carmen that the visitor says if they do not leave by the end of the week they will "put them out". Carmen replies that "They'll have to kill us." Then she goes inside It is revealed that Juan had voted for the person who did not win the election. That was the reason for Arevalo's warning. Juan decided that he was trying to scare him. Juan remembers that a week ago at Don Romula's store they refused to sell oil to him. Even though he could see the oil behind the counter. Then he went to the drug store. Then Benavides, the proprietor asked him "Nothing happened on your way out?". Then a policeman walked in with Arevalo's son. The police asked what was going on and he asked Juan if he was those who are "resisting". Arevalo answered that yes, Juan is one of the Reds. The police man and Arevalo leaves. Juan was shaken by that encounter. He recalled that Simon Arevalo had been his friend and his son didn't seem that bad.
This story relates to other literary works and real life events. One book that has similar themes is Fahrenheit 451. In these two works, the protagonist has to face persecution by an unfair government. Also the authorities can burn what is deemed unlawful. In the case of Fahrenheit 451 it is books and houses as well. The government also hold more power than the people, and they use manipulation and fear to get people to do their bidding. Throughout history there has been unfair and unjustified persecution by the government. A notable example is the Salem Witch Trials. They burned women who were presumably "witches'. But they never had any real evidence to back that up. They were burned at the stake, just as the policeman burned Juan and his family. Another related topic is that many people die for their cause and beliefs. They are martyrs that suffer death and persecution for a cause that they deem worthy. A notable example was Jesus Christ. He died by Crucifixion for his beliefs. Another martyr was Joan of Arc. She lead the French to a victory over the English. But she was captured and burned at the stake a year later by the English. Another aspect that has connections to the story are forced evictions due to urbanization. People are often driven out of their homes to make way for roads and development. Sometimes there is brute force and threatening words by the police, just like in the story. In the present time, Juan and his family was awoken by the sound of gun shots. Juan got up and saw two men coming towards his house. One was Arevalo and the other was the policeman that was at the Benevides store. The policeman fired again. He tells Juan to clear out because he had warning. Juan realizes the policeman was drunk. Climax:
The police man burned down the house with Juan, Carmen and their baby inside.
Character vs Society/Government
Juan and his family are persecuted for voting for the person that did not win the election. Therefore they were labeled as the ones that were resisting. That was the reason the authority were to drive them out of their home or burn their house. POV: Third Person Limited Omnicient Policeman: He is a flat character, because the story only describes one side of him. The policeman is cruel and sadistic. This is shown because he carries around a whip and talks in a threatening way. Presumably to whip anyone not obeying the law. He was also drunk when he came to Juan's house in the morning. When Juan's house was burning with them inside, the policeman was enjoying it and having fun. Carmen: The story does not centre around Carmen very much. But the little we see of her, shows us many aspects of her. We know she cares greatly for her baby. She is also determined and brave. She says that they would have to kill them before they drive them out. That shows bravery. In the end she chose to stay in the house with her family. She could've left and saved herself but she didn't. Characters Arevalo: He is the son of Simon Arevalo, who said to be Juan's friend. He seemed reluctant to burn Juan's house. He gave Juan plenty of warning to leave their home. Also he subtly told the policeman that Juan was one of the "quiet" ones. But even then his heart belonged to the state. Juan had recalled that Arevalo was always hanging around with the mayor. He described Arevalo as being "hand in glove with the authorities. Arevalo had become somewhat of an informer to the police. But even though he knew Juan, that didn't stop him from doing what he did for the government.
This uses imagery and mood to captivate the reader. A good example of imagery is when Juan describes the valley with the colorful fields from his home. It paints a picture of the beauty in nature. Another vivid example is when Juan thinks of how Arevalo's eyes are the color of tobacco leaf. The color of that leaf is a vibrant yet muted shade of green. Both of these are visual imagery. Another type is used in this story, the type is olfactory, which is the sense of smell. This was used when the baby was described as "reeked of mother's milk and soiled diapers." Another example like this was when Juan realized the policeman's breath "smelled of brandy". Lastly, a powerful example of imagery was when the author describes how the house is burning at the end of the story. He describes it as "a gay crackle of dry thatch, seasoned wood, and old furniture." He also describes the wind whipping around the flames that made it looks like fair-time in the village. The fact that he describes the burning as "gay" or happy and that it's like a fair, makes the event more powerful. What happened is certainly not a happy time like the author describes. It evokes a sense of disgust because there is a family who burned to death inside. That could be included as abstract, visual and auditory imagery. Overall the imagery paints a broader picture for the reader to explore.

Another aspect of the story that impacts the reader is the mood. The overall mood created by the author is one of suspense and impending tragedy. There are several ways the author created this mood. One of which is when Arevalo comes and tells Juan to clear out. Automatically there are questions raised and unsettled feelings. The reader might ask why he is telling them to leave. Another event that builds to the mood is when Juan goes to Don Rumolo's store and he refuses to sell oil to Juan, even though he can see the oil behind the counter. Later Benevides asked Juan if anything happened on his way out. Both these events leaves the reader with more burning inquiries. The feeling of panic was introduced when Juan heard the gun shots. Before it was just an anticipation of the tragedy, but when the guns were fired, the mood shifts to one of urgent panic. At the end when the house burned down, it was something the reader had expected. Nevertheless it leaves the reader uneasy.

Another mood that was introduced by the author was the sense of nostalgia. Juan recalls Simon Arevalo and how much his son looks like him. Juan recalled that Simon had been his friend. He remembers when he had gone to school with Arevalo. When they had ran around barefooted and being boys. That blooms a mood of nostalgia, because Juan remembers a time when things were simpler. When there had been no political stress and they had fun. There are several themes that are illustrated in this story. One of the main ones is that when ever there is unfair persecution, it is an act that stays true to your beliefs that causes the most powerful impact. When doing this the government might be shaken. It leaves people with a strong impression and causes people to question their beliefs. The people that took action may become martyrs for their cause. It might inspire others to do the right thing. The actions that were taken by Juan and his family also impacted the antagonists. At the end of the story only the policeman was enjoying himself when the house was burning. The others seemed to feel a stab of guilt and reluctance. They might start to question their actions and where their loyalty lie. The reason they feel this is because they realized they had killed a whole family. Another theme was that people sometimes give their heart to the government and not to other people. The example in the story was the son of Simon Arevalo. He knew Juan, but despite that fact he still ratted him out and helped the police persecute Juan. One other theme is the big idea of the unbalance of power in society and the world. In the story, it is demonstrated that the government holds way more power than the citizens. They burned down a family's home and killed them. That would be considered murder, but since they ARE the law, they make the rules and can get away with anything. Themes Power of the
State Power of the People Connections Irony & Foreshadowing Conflict Imagery and Mood Arevalo's Eyes- Arevalo's eyes represent Juan's nostalgic thoughts about Simon Arevalo and their friendship. Juan is reminded about how Arevalo looks like his father except his eyes, which are his mothers. This also evokes a feeling of sympathy from the reader. It is even more so felt when Juan recalls how he and Arevalo had gone to school and played together. The Fire- The fire symbolizes a family's persistence and bravery. Fire is often seen as a a weapon to destroy, but it also represents passion and perseverance. Juan and his family were adamant about staying in their rightful home. In the end they chose to do what they believed in. Even though they died, their fire and sacrifice lives on. The result left by a fire is often felt for a long time to come. That is what Juan was trying to accomplish. The Oil- The oil is the fuel that feeds the fire but it represents the fuel that drives the terrible act at the end of the story. In life that fuel is hate and misunderstanding. The government often uses the "goodness and security" of the state as the fuel for unfair persecution. Symbolism When the policeman, Arevalo and their four companions got back to the town, they stopped at the Linares store. The mayor was there. He asked if Juan had left. The policeman replied no and said Juan had stayed inside the house.
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