Foreshadowing In ‘Three Dirges’A sense of ominous foreboding permeates the woeful passage from ‘Three Dirges.’ The conflict is immediately apparent: ‘Don Lazaro, you ” ve got five boys in Comitan teaching the campesinos how to read. That’s subversive. That’s communist. So tonight, you have to kill them.’ Don Lazaro, the mayor of the war torn village, San Martin Comitan, seems to have no choice but to carry out this heartless command. His response is indicative of a desperate man searching for answers, yet already resigned to carrying out the task at hand. ‘What can I say? — you tell me!’ cries an anguished Don Lazaro to the villagers.
Is he pleading for their understanding, or asking for a miraculous solution that would alter the path that lay before him? It is this uncertainty that, when coupled with melancholy foreshadowing, leaves the reader at a suspenseful crossroad; suspecting that events are transpiring, but doubtful as to the outcome. The element of foreshadowing is exemplified early in the passage with the visual description of the Indian skyrocket. Was the skyrocket, with its orange and yellow star-burst and streaking gray tail, a warning? Perhaps the skyrocket was a portend of a horrendous atrocity about to occur. Certainly, the resounding echo and brilliance of the skyrocket would alert the villagers to impending danger. In a land already rocked by its internal strife, such a sight in the still darkened sky would send shockwave’s of fear and panic throughout the small community. The reader, too, must ponder the implication of this apparent signal of peril.
... it also becomes a spiritual journey, most especially for Dr. Lazaro, whose beliefs about and disbelief in God, faith, love, and ... who, we later learn, committed suicide. From the latter, the Lazaro family “died” to each other as well. It made the ... became more immersed in religion than in family. For Dr. Lazaro, what kind of God would allow pain? What kind of ...
If the skyrocket failed to capture the attention of everyone in the village, the mission bells foreshadowed an unknown evil that was threatening the village. Was the entire population of San Martin Comitan under attack? The mission bells were easily recognizable to paris honers; moreover they were a welcome tolling beckoning the faithful to worship. But this tolling of the chimes was indisputably out of the ordinary. Mission bells did not chime before sunrise! This unusual timing could only bring fear and sadness.
The feeling of fear and sadness is further portrayed by the crying of the village women, ‘… a woman’s anguish pierced the still, early morning, followed by yet a duet of wails, and then a full chorus of cries.’ Clearly, these women intuitively or otherwise, know of wrenching torment awaiting the village. The somber mood continues with the procession of religious officials making their way to the same destination as the wailing women. In contrast, however, the religious principles have assumed a formation of some sort; ‘marching in six files, two abreast,’ ceremoniously fulfilling their obligation as if all hope had already eroded. That hope further dissipated when the young men, now being led each by an older man, made their way to the cemetery. The cemetery was an every prediction of what was surely now about to happen.
Don Lazaro has protested so much that there is nothing he can do, it now borders on the pathetic. Does he know of some additional harm that would befall him if he doesn’t carry out this sinister plan? The young men, now willing to sacrifice their lives, and resigned to doing so, bravely meet their fate. ‘The five young men, each escorted now by an older man, followed the comrades over the ridge of the hill and dropped down on the other side just out of sight.’ Certainly the reader can see that, with the movement of the young men out of sight, the terrible command is surely about to be carried out. Still there may be time to stop it if Don Lazaro would act quickly. The young men, foretold of their own fate, perhaps taking control out of the hands of Don Lazaro by saying, ‘But what else can you do?’ Clearly, this has happened before to others in other villages, therefore their fate seems sealed. With their short journey almost complete, the families of the doomed young men, along with other villagers curse the cold, heartless demons who ordered the killing.
... when tears come down. This action breaks the silence that is misinterpreted by certain women, as indicating the male has no feelings ... should be dealt with honest and intelligent feelings. A women and man should communicate on the matter and decide what is best ... Court to legalize abortion with unrestricted procedures would profoundly affect women and men's lives. But the American society forgot half of ...
And for what? Is teaching reading so abhorrent a crime that one should pay for it with their very lives? Where is their priest, their spiritual guidance at this sorrowful moment? The fact that the very person who could provide solace and, in fact, perhaps the only person who could possibly halt the massacre is missing tells the reader that hope for stopping the carnage was relinquished with his disappearance. Hope is gone now, and the second tolling of the mission bells indicates to the reader that time is now up and the deadly order will indeed be carried out. Nothing need be said now, and the silence foretold of the bloody sacrifice that would follow. The silence was deafening, and for a while, time stood still, waiting in the quiet, tense anticipation for the inevitable. Silence, as a foreshadowing element, builds the suspense to a frantic state, until one is almost relieved to have the silence broken, in this case by the sharpening of blades. Don Lazaro’s obligation and indeed the obligation of the village had been fulfilled.
Five young men were sacrificed to save not only their village, but other villages as well. Of course, even the casual reader knew the command would be obeyed. The skyrocket told us first, of some impending danger, along with the unusual timing of the mission bells, chiming their ominous message. The village women, perhaps the first to realize the horrible gravity of the situation, weeping, bared their souls as they walked with sorrowful hearts to the cemetery.
The religious procession, with their full regalia and stoic expressions, belied the emotions that were surely heavy laden. Their slow, methodical pilgrimage hinted that they were beginning what would ultimately be a funeral procession. The brave young men, escorted by their elder counterparts, were led to their slaughter much like sacrificial lambs. The fact that they were escorted sends the message that they were truly doomed, much like prisoners being led to their executions. Finally, the awful silence radiated throughout the land. Everyone knew by then, if not before, that any chance for a reprieve was impossible.
... boy. 'Please fulfill my wish.' The old man smiled. 'Go home young one, your wish has been granted.' The ... and wolf, and headed in the direction of the village. When he got there he could sleep. The next ... in, because it had the forest and the nearby village on it. It was somewhere in between, right ... one would know, but it was a well-known fact that a serpent never wanted anything good. Another valuable ...
The young men would die, and the village would be saved. Only the sound of the loud, heavy truck starting its engine gave thought that perhaps this would not be the last carnage, the last sacrifice to this village, or the neighboring villages. Perhaps the big, lumbering truck would forever hold the watchful eyes of those evil enough to order the massacre of innocence.