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Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War by: Mark Danner and the Farming of Bones by: Edwidge Danticat. The writer compares the two books and the plots with a focus on the massacres themselves as well as their consequences. The writer uses two sources, the books, to complete this paper.
Throughout history authors of literature have used their works to prove a point or send a message to their readers. Sometimes the message is put out there with a bluntness that cannot be ignored, and other times it is a more subtle undertaking in which the reader is led to the conclusion without knowing they are being led there. Regardless of the way the author chooses to address the important points and messages if they do it with finesse the book becomes a solid piece of literature. Two classic examples of authors using their talent to do this are The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War by: Mark Danner and The Farming of Bones by: Edwidge Danticat. In each of these books the authors provide a complete picture of a massacre. Each story lays out the events in graphic presentation that cannot be ignored or shoved aside.
In each book the author provides the reader with a front row view of the horrors that were endured as the massacres unfolded and were carried out. Each book tells a similar story in that people were brutally murdered, yet each story has differences that set them apart from each other.
In Danner's depiction of the massacres that occurred in El Mozote were described in graphic detail. Danner painstakingly reconstructs the events leading to and during the massacre. The December 1981 event is put together in Danner's account with moment by moment detail as well as general information. Over 750 men, women and kids were murdered during this event. This book discusses the cause of the massacre and leads the reader to understand it was a control issue over the religious faith of those who died. The Christian majority in this area were not openly rebellious according to Danner, but instead were quiet and diligent in their support of liberation.
The massacre began with brutality at first. There were rapes, tortures and the abuse of children at the hands of those who would eventually commit the murders. The abuse lasted several days and Danner discusses the fear and panic that must have gone through the minds of those who suffered at their hands.
The escape of several of the victims before the massacre began caused the world to hear about what had occurred and the author attempts to rile the American public to the anger he felt at the refusal by the American government to acknowledge the horrors visited upon those who suffered. The book details many of the horrors as well as the blind eye by the American government so that the reader will be sent the message that the American government allowed it to happen with no consequences.
The author of the book uses the emotions of the reader to drive home the point. The author describes the finding of 23 children's bodies in a shallow grave. This is enough to tug at the heart strings of the most stoic reader, and if that was not enough the author also discusses the discovery of more than 100 additional bodies, that included women and children in the lot nearby.
Danner spends his book lambasting the fact that the American government promotes liberty and freedom yet turned its back on the atrocities that were sent upon those who were massacred and the loved ones that they left behind.
Danner attacks the funding provided by the U.S. For the nation that allowed such treatment of people in its care. The funding of the El Salvadore military by the American government is something that the book underscores as almost as monstrous as the massacre itself.
This author is very objective and even details the attempts by several American officials to convince Washington of what was happening to no avail.
The decapitation of infants and the hanging of children by troops that American dollars trained shocked reporters who investigated the claims that it had happened.
Danner is a journalist who reported on the horrors of the massacre and even in the face of such reporting the American government and the president at the time, Ronald Regan, denied its occurrence. Ronald Regan and his cabinet insisted to the American public that it was a propaganda attempt by anti-American government factions. He also insisted it was coming from those who were angered by the American support and training of troops in the area. Danner points out that all of this may be true. It was aimed at purposes of propaganda, and it was publicly noted by those against the American government. All of this was true but had no bearing on the fact that it was also the truth. The book works to present the evidence with chronological and other types of descriptions.
The massacre hit the front page of the Washington Post and the New York Times right at the same time the American government was arguing about whether or not to continue supporting El Salvadore military troops (Danner pg 9). The argument centered on the very fact that the military was known for its cruel actions. While the debates were raging around the problem and the stories hit the paper those who supported the continued actions of funding the El Salvadore military blamed the stories on the other side. According to those who were for continuing the funding accused the stories and the reporters of promoting propaganda and trying to shed a bad light on the military so that the public would not support the continued funding. (Danticat, 2000) in The Farming of Bones by Edwidge Danticat a completely different situation. The massacre occurred in the 1930's and it was in the Dominican Republic villages. The author depicts the screams and the subsequent labor and delivery of twins. The author of this book uses an entirely different approach from the other book. This book uses the birth of twins to compare to the balance of power seen through the story that unfolds. The double birth is actually a metaphor for the mass murder of Haitian immigrants. This book has something in common with the first book however, in that they both depict the government's support and funding of the situation.
Just as twins tend to start out together in the womb but one ultimately destroys the other, the countries that are involved with this massacre turned on each other according to the author and the book.
Part of what makes this book so different than the other is the fact that it is a fictionalized account of a massacre. The first book was written by a journalist and it depicts actual events in real time discussion through the eyes of someone who was there to witness it the first time. It is an angry accounting of the lack of American government compassion while this book is much more metaphorically developed and uses the birth or twins and other such events to depict the situation in the massacre in Hiati.
While some of the characters and events in the book are fictionalized the massacre and events leading up to it are factual and real. The author combines fiction work with non-fiction fact to bring the reader to the full realization of the horrors of the massacre that occurred in 1937.
The leader at that time decided that he needed to rid his nation of the Haitians working in the cane fields. Annabelle's dedication to finding her man and trekking across the nation to do so she represents some of the things that occurred between the workers and the president. Her fierce determination was metaphorically representative of the determination of those who were being persecuted at the time. The refusal to give up and the instinct of survival were things that the victims also possessed. This book differs from the first one in that it offers up much of the events in historical metaphorical fashion. While this is less hard hitting than the brutal truth from Danner's book it is sometimes a technique that can maintain the reader's attention when straight horror and fact will be to hard to handle.
The racial issues in the book are different than the religiously based anger depicted in Danner's book. While the two underlying consequences to such hate was similar the actual events were caused by the hate of different groups.
Each of them allows the reader to feel the full impact of what can happen when a population is hated and allowed to be persecuted on the basis of who they are comprised of. They also serve as a reminder as to what can happen when any population allows a charismatic person to become a leader regardless of the ideas he…[continue]
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The situation in El Salvador was also a parable of what was happening all over the region. Central America seemed to be covered in revolt in 1981, when the massacre occurred. Along with the revolution in El Salvador, there was an armed conflict going on in Guatemala that was bringing terror and bloodshed to the country, and the Sandinistas had just taken over control in Nicaragua. In the midst of
Massacre at El Mozote This report is a critical book review of Mark Danner's excellent 1994 book called "The Massacre at El Mozote: A Parable of the Cold War" published by Vintage Books, a division of Random House. The book comes highly acclaimed from sources such as the Washington Post and New York Times. "Once in a rare while a writer re-examines a debated episode of recent history with such
Accusing both of possessing communist sympathies and of allowing themselves to become tools of leftist propaganda, a staunch Reagan ally, Ambassador Rivas from El Salvador, argues that "'serious efforts' were being made to stem armed forces abuses and that this was the 'type of story that leads us to believe there is a plan' to discredit the ongoing electoral process in El Salvador, and to discredit the armed forces