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ASHES FOR THE WIND

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by

Jennifer McIlwain

on 2 October 2013

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Transcript of ASHES FOR THE WIND

"ASHES FOR THE WIND"
Hernando Téllez
Symbolism Within the Story
The Fire
The Oil
Whips
The fire in the story represents the government's
ability to erase that which they do not deem
acceptable. The government used fire to get rid
of people that may oppose them and their choices.

The oil is representative of the corruption within the government. Juan is denied oil at Don Romulo Linares' store because they were "out of oil," despite the fact that Juan could see the oil dripping into a canister right in front of him. He knew that something was wrong with the situation, but dared not speak up. If Juan is to make one wrong move, he will go up in flames, just as the oil would.
The whips carried by police officers are to show the relentless grip the corrupt government holds. Should one deviate from their demands, no matter how slightly, they are to be cracked down upon. Evidence of this is found in how Juan was threatened and eventually killed for voting for the opposition before the current government had even won the election.
Characters
Protagonist : Juan Martinez
A man with a wife, Carmen, and an un-named child. He owns a small house in a poor neighbourhood surrounded by fields. He voted for the opposing party in the most current election.
He is very confident in his opinions and stubborn. He refuses to be told to leave town, for he wishes to keep his farm.
His character undergoes no significant change, and we never explore his personality in depth- due to the nature of this story, he is a flat and static character.
Antagonist : Arevalo
Plot Summary
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1. [Initiating incident]
Juan is warned by the son of Simon Arevalo to leave town immediately, or face consequences.
He is the son of Laura and Simon Arevalo. He works for the local government and seems to carry out their dirty work for them. His parents were very good friends with Juan. He seems to have the ability to control his conscience- a necessity for a job like his.
He is static and flat- Arevalo's tendencies never change. We only ever see one side of him; we only ever see his dark side. He refuses to make eye contact with Juan and shows signs of shame, but never falls short of his orders. He is nervous and sneaky.
2. [Rising Action]
Simon Arevalo's son lays down the ultimatum that Juan and his family must be out of town by the following week.
3. [Rising Action]
Juan takes note of several things that are out of place in town- police are carrying whips, and when he visits the local store, he is denied oil. The air is tense.
4. [Rising Action]
A police officer carrying a whip enters the store and confronts Juan asking him if he is "one of those who is resisting". Juan is threatened before the police officer leaves.
5. [Climax]
In the middle of the night, gunshots are fired outside of the Martinez household- Juan runs outside to see what the commotion is.
6. [Falling Action]
Arevalo, accompanied by some police officers, threaten Juan to leave town immediately.
7. [Conclusion]
Juan refuses said demand, and returns into the house. He closes and locks all the windows and doors, and his family perishes as flames engulf the house. His stubbornness cost him greatly in the end.
Other known characters include:

Carmen Martinez
The Mayor
Store owner Don Rimulo Linares
Laura and Simon Arevalo
Unnamed police officers
Setting
"Ashes for the Wind" takes place in the poor part of a small town in a hispanic country some time around the 1950s, not long after an election for Mayor.
Theme
The theme of "Ashes for the Wind" is to know when to make your own decisions and stand your ground, as well as the fact that power is almost always corrupt in some fashion.
"He said if we weren't gone by the end of the week, they'd come and put us out." -Pg.52
This is statement is proof that Juan's family was put in danger by his vote in the recent election. Despite the fact that he backed the party that didn't win- quite possibly a minority- he didn't find shame in that. He stood for what he believed and did not give into the pressure of voting for someone else.
" 'So you, too, are one of those who are resisting?' "
-Pg. 54
A police officer refers to Juan as "one of those who are resisting". This makes it clear that he took no care in keeping his vote a secret. This eventually drew him into trouble, though- ultimately resulting in the death of him and his family. Juan had the right idea with following his own beliefs, but failed to realize that there is a time and place to back down.
"Some of the police, in addition to a gun, carried a whip" -Pg. 53
The police carrying whips as well as guns was a very important part of the story. Those whips were representative of the corrupt nature of the government. If a citizen is to so much as breathe the wrong way, the government well strike down like a cracking whip- swift and fierce. The government is not afraid to erase or destroy that which does not agree with them.
+More Literary Elements
Indirect Presentation
Foreshadowing
Mood
PG 51- Arevalo avoids eye contact and kicks at the dirt with his feet. He is shown to be cowardly and ashamed through this.
PG 53- Don Rimulo scowls at Juan and refuses to sell him oil. This is to show that things in town were definitely strange; word was getting around that Juan was not someone a person should interact with kindly.
Pg 53- The police officer regards Juan as if he knows nothing about him. In such a small town, especially when Juan is the center of so much drama in town, this is indirectly representing that again, something is amiss.
Don Rimulo refusing Juan the oil he desires is foreshadowing to his house later being set on fire.
The mood is tense and dull- nothing is lively or bright, people live in fear of the government.
Conflict
Conflict within "Ashes for the Wind" seems, at first, to be Man vs. Man. Juan is up against Arevalo, who is threatening him to leave town. But actually, the conflict of "Ashes for the Wind" is Man vs. Society.

Arevalo is merely the vessel through which the government is threatening Juan.

Juan voted for the opposing party in an election, and therefore became a target to the new government. He struggles to keep his land and home, but in the end, the government destroys everything that he loved.
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In the end, there was no time, and no place to go.
(I considered making a pun here about it being time for our presentation to end. But here we are. Pun-less. The end. c: )
Full transcript