“Boots appear among the civilian footwear. Nightsticks hop in and out of view, and the sound is punctuated by the thud of wood on flesh. Gunfire starts peppering the audio.
‘It was like that in Cuba,’ Silvo says. ‘Didn’t matter which side you were on.’
‘Mother of God, ‘ Father Tom says.
At the corner we see a girl , not much older than Abbie, go down under a volley of hard blows. She covers her head with her hands as she hits pavement, but blood seeps through her fingers and she stops moving” (Vourvoulias, 96).
At this point of the novel we are faced with idea of the havoc that is happening to the town. A war that is in some form a “declaration.” In this particular passage, the characters are watching virtually what is happening outside of the charred remains of Holy Innocents. In this passage we are gruesomely introduced to the horrors of what systems are failing such as the government. In the depiction of security of simply boots and nightsticks readers are immediately immersed into a corrupted negative feel. The lack of proper nouns such as people being named adds to the foreboding nature of this passage. It makes readers feel like it was depicting similar images of what happened during the Holocaust. With the reference to Cuba, we can see an extension to strip away people from their identities and significance. Silvo mentions that the side people were on “[d]idn’t matter.” As if the individuals themselves didn’t matter. Look at the one sentence “Gunfire starts peppering the audio.” The word peppering is not a typical description of gunfire. Pepper is an addition to flavor or an enhancement to something usually. The idea that the shots pepper the audio make the gunshots seem like they are enhancing the gruesomeness of the tragedy.
With Father Tom’s following comment, we can see the introduction of religion included. This simple comment of shock ties in the name of the church: Holy Innocents. The place where “innocents” are being shot, bludgeoned, and burned. The final image of the girl, illustrates to the readers the severity of what is occurring. From both a governmental situation and religious platform, sides do not matter. The final image of the girl ties this in, where readers are illustrated the damage that is occurring within the town. That this is reality, whether they want it or not.
This passage is also fascinating with the narration being placed in present tense along with the novel up to what we read. This makes every action much more active and so with this convergence of system corruption. It makes the scene much more poignant and powerful to the reader especially in relation to the girl.
How did this passage/section of the novel make you feel as a reader?