Tuesday, October 28, 2014

The Colonel

In this shocking, yet brief piece, "The Colonel," by Carolyn Forché, the reader is brought into the shocking realities of the human rights violations taking place in El Salvador. Forché brings the reader right into the scene, with her great descriptions. One feels as if they are sucked into El Salvador, watching the cop show on tv, seeing the daughter filing her nails. Forché also instills the same unsettling fear she herself felt when the colonel spills the sack of ears onto the table. When she writes of one of the ears she notes, "He took one of them in his hands... dropped it in a water glass. It came alive there" (3725). The way in which Forché uses "alive" to describe the severed ear leaves a tingle down my spine, and it is this moment when the fear truly sets in. In such few sentences, Forché has created such an unimaginable villain. This piece leaves with a haunting tone in place: "Some of the ears on the floor caught this scrap of his voice. Some of the ears on the floor were pressed to the ground" (3725). These lines have such a defeated nature, but I don't think they signify giving up. Either way, they leave you with such a knot in your stomach. 

1 comment:

  1. I thought the phrase that some of the ears were pressed to the floor might signify the deaf pleas of the murdered innocent people. I also agree with you about the banality of the accepted evil and cruelty of the colonel.