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Earthquake In Chile Essay

863 words - 4 pages

In Heinrich von Kleist’s, The Earthquake in Chile, illustrates the story of star-crossed lovers brought together through a natural disaster. The description of the earthquake presents itself as a scene from hell. The relation between the destructiveness of the earthquake and the image of hell of apocalyptic literature presents the end of the world for the people of Chile. Kleist uses imagery to portray post earthquake Chile as the Garden Eden, the presence of a pomegranate tree symbolizes the start a new life and foreshadows the inevitable end for Josepha and Jeronimo. By introducing a pomegranate tree , Kleist frames the effects of the earthquake as an opportunity for and altruistic community. The symbolism of the pomegranate tree in the “Garden of Eden” symbolizes fertility for the rebirth of the Chilean community. Heinrich von Kleist’s, The Earthquake in Chile, presents the destructiveness of an earthquake as a transition from the image of hell to an opportunity to rebuild the community.
The conditions of the earthquake depicts an image of hell. The images of collapsing buildings and the chaos of destruction associates with the fires and chaos of hell. Jeronomo’s experience of the earthquake represents the earthquake as creating hell on earth by the amount of casualties. For example, “there the flame, flashing in clouds of smoke curled out, of every gable and drove him, terrified, into another street” (Kleist, 124). The image of flames and clouds of smoke in this piece relates to the image of the fires of hell in apocalyptic literature. The flames from the earthquake presents this sense of the end of the world. Jeronimo's experience of the obstacles of smoke and fire illustrates a common perception of fires association with hell. Images of hell recur during the earthquake such as, “ here lay a heap of corpses; here people shouted on burning roof-tops…” (124). The illustration of corpses laying everywhere and people shouting from the flames gives a representation of the souls trying to escape the fires of hell. These images of suffering people out of the flames resembles the world ending in hell. Kleist uses similar imagery of the post earthquake conditions.
The land after the earthquake where people have settled is comparable to the Garden of Eden which contains symbols of life. Chile presents features of the Garden of Eden after the earthquake, although there is destruction this image of the garden is an opportunity for the beginning of a new community. In the days following of the earthquake, the presence of a pomegranate tree presents its self as a...

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