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Weight of All Things Essay

In: English and Literature

Submitted By jp3akabatman
Words 1184
Pages 5
Tiny perspective, Enormous view

John Humanities Class Yellow Class

The novel’s story is told through the eyes of Nicolas Veras, a nine-year-old Salvadoran boy. Do you think this point of view is effective? What do you think is gained by portraying the story this way? Would the story have been more powerful if told through the point if view of an adult? Throughout the novel, The Weight Of All Things by Sandra Benitez, the story of the revolution in El Salvador is being told from the perspective of a 9-year-old Salvadoran boy, Nicolas de la Virgen Veras, who is caught in the middle of the revolution. He loses his mother, but he keeps the faith that his mother gave him in La Virgen. His mother told him, “Do not fear. La Virgen is with us” (2-3). La Virgen takes a giant part in Nicolas’s life and appears to him multiple times throughout the novel. Nicolas’s turn of event lead him to seeing the war from the perspective of the guerilleros, and the war from the perspective of the army, the Guardia. After seeing both sides he learns that he is caught in the middle. His grandfather, Tata, explains to Nicolas, “We are caught in the middle. That’s what we are” (115). Towards the end of the novel Nicolas begins to grow up. And example of him starting to grow up was when though to himself, “He walked with the might of a lion, with the heart of a lamb” (235). The method of telling the story through a 9 year olds perspective is an effective strategy because it builds sympathy. Everybody knows what it is like to be nine and afraid and can relate to Nicolas. Portraying the story through the eyes of a 9-year-old gains the perspective of a true innocent bystander. Nicolas is only a little boy who was caught in the middle. The novel wouldn’t have been more powerful if it were written from an adult’s point of view because the reader wouldn’t be able to get the full view of the story. An adult is biased, and a child sees things the way they are without being biased. Telling the story from Nicolas’s perspective is a great strategy because it builds sympathy throughout the novel. Using the method of telling the story from a child’s prospective is effective because it builds sympathy. Everybody knows what it is like to be nine and afraid, so the reader can relate to the protagonist. This point of view effectively caused the reader to sympathize with the protagonist when Nicolas just lost his mother and was trying to find her. Benitez shows this by saying, “Behind the line of policemen, the wide cathedral doors were a yawning mouth that had swallowed up his mother”(8). This quote is a perfect example of the use of this strategy to build sympathy. This allows the reader to remember a time when they felt lost, alone, and afraid. Another example of a time where the author uses Nicolas’s point of view effectively to build sympathy would be at the end of novel when there is an attack leaving only Tata, Basilio, and Nicolas left to survive, and Nicolas finds a gun under one of the dead bodies. Benitez describes, “He trotted a few paces down stream. Then he cocked his arm and hurled the firing chamber as far as he could. Then the cartridge clip as well… He twirled each over his head and flung when the moment was right”(235). This quote of him throwing the gun into the river is representing how he feels about the revolution and all that he has gone through. He just wanted it all to go away. The reader can relate to being naive enough to think that by getting rid of that gun that his problems would go away. Portraying the story through the eyes of a 9-year-old gains the perspective of a true innocent bystander. Nicolas is only a little boy who was caught in the middle. The reader gains the perspective of a true innocent bystander when Nicolas is talking to the guard, “He did not want to be a soldier. He wanted to save lives” (182). Nicolas does not want to fight in the war. He just wants to be a doctor like Dr. Eddy. He doesn’t seem to understand the war, but he knows that Dr. Eddy helped a lot of people. Nicolas does not want any more children to lose their mothers like he did, and he does not want any more mothers to lose their children like La nina Tencha did. After seeing Gerardo die, Nicolas thought of her, “He thought of Gerardo’s mother… oblivious to the fact that her little king was gone” (104). He feels sorry for her because now she has lost all of her children. He was an innocent bystander and so is she. Nicolas is simply caught in the middle. He is innocent. He knows he is in the middle of something, but he is so innocent that he asks his Tata, “Am I an act of revolution, Tata?” (115). He heard the Dolores talk about being an act of revolution, but he had no idea what that meant. He is just a bystander. This type of writing allows the novel to be a lot stronger than if the novel was told from an adult prospective. The novel would not have been more powerful if it were written from an adult’s point of view because if it were told from an adult prospective then we wouldn’t be able to get a full view of the story. An adult is biased and would tell the story with a bias toward one side or another, but a child is free to tell this story without prejudice. An example of a time where Nicolas’s point of view may have been better for the story than an adult’s point of view would be when he sees the man being interrogated by Captain Portillo. Nicolas asks Ofelia, “What do you think will happen to him?” (152). Nicolas is genuinely concerned about the man. He did not care about whether or not the man was a subversive. He was just worried that the man’s thumbs looked like they were in pain. Nicolas could not watch because he felt sorry for the man so he closed the door. This is powerful because the reader gets to see the human side of the story and not just the guerilleros side or the Guardia side. Benitez was smart to write this novel from the point of view of a 9-year-old Salvadoran boy because it builds sympathy, and the reader can relate to the protagonist, the novel wouldn’t have been more powerful if it were written from an adult’s point of view, and the novel gains the perspective of a true innocent bystander. The Weight Of All things and the perspective that Benitez chose is a wonderful point of view, which should not be changed.…...

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