Theme in by Night in Chile Essay

Excerpt from Essay :

Robert Bolano is the writer of the novel "By Night in Chile" published in 2000. Urrutia is the narrator of the novel and entire novel is narrated in the first person. Starting lines of the novel are "I am dying now, but I still have many things to say," and from this point the novel starts describing how Urrutia was able to enter the Chilean literary world.

The narrator of the novel, Urrutia Lacroix used the image of "the wizened youth," for himself which showed how much he struggled with his conscience, during the time when he was trapped in Opus Dei. The narrator has described his life as distorted because of the struggle he made throughout his life.

Narrator has used different styles to engage the readers. At time it was simple, lofty, intense, and believable however on occasion the narrator used harsh and imposing style to describe the story. This novel has criticized the time Urrutia spent before and during Pinochet's regime.

By Night in Chile is a bravado performance by Bolano in which he had unwrapped and delivered each of the priest's clear and sometimes vague recollection.

The narrator keeps dodging the main issue by using in excess the words which add little or nothing to main idea of the story. Urrutia is trying to evade the moral implications of his own actions because he did not want to admit his relationship with the political actors of that time.

Church played a big role during Pinochet's regime. During that time, torture was used as a "state procedure" to obtain information and form an environment of dread for the prisoners as well as for the ones who knew them. People were tortured in different ways and some of them were suspending them from a ceiling or a wall, beating people, giving people electric shock and asking people to eat waste of animals and humans. Even women suffered from sexual violence and the whole time church was aware of this injustice being done and the conspiracy by Church was flagrant but nobody did anything. Around 3,000 people were killed under General Pinochet's regime.

The novel is an epitome of Urrutia's guilt and his deathbed confessions. Throughout the novel, he had tried to wipe out his guilt in
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order to get salvation but all the confessions seemed to be his half-hearted attempts to get one more chance to live the life of "the wizened youth."

Because he was a priest, Urrutia lived a life in which his only concern was to make it to the literary world as a famous poet and a critic. He recounts the time when he met Farewell, a famous and wealthy Chilean literary elite. From the beginning, Urrutia's intention was to get high status among the writers and poets of his time; his focus was never on serving God. When he met his friend Farwell, he was entranced by the wealth and luxury his friend had. At this point of the novel, Urrutia's contrasting nature is reflected. When he visited Farewell at his estate, he met Pablo Neruda, the greatest poet in Chilean's history and a lifelong Communist. He was in awe of Neruda. The next day, while he was strolling Farewell's property, he came across a boy and a girl who were naked and felt an overwhelming nausea. This showed Urrutia's inability to focus on mundane issues rather than on the moon and the stars, as explained By Neruda's poetry. He liked being in Neruda's company but he did not like to be in poor children's company. He did not even try to stop Farewell's sexual advances on him because he did not want to be in his bad books. This was a serious offense to the vow of chastity he took and also to the Church's strict teachings. To become a part of literary elite, he was prepared to forsake the callings of his own profession, to love others, to serve the poor, and to fight for justice and peace.

The novel represents Bolano's falcon/pigeon illustration. The scene where father Paul's falcon killed the dove, represents the Church's conspiracy with the cruel dictators, their deceit and their negligence in that era. Here, the falcon also represents the priest, who himself was a victim of Church's association with the dictators and their socialist agenda at the time. Also, the scene where children asked the priests about falcon killing the dove, is used as a symbol for the future…

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