Foreshadowing in Three Dirges

1108 words 5 pages
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
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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. And for what? Is teaching reading so abhorent 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