51 pages 1 hour read

Isabel Allende

And of Clay Are We Created

Fiction | Short Story | YA | Published in 1989

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Pre-Reading Context

Use these questions or activities to help gauge students’ familiarity with and spark their interest in the context of the work, giving them an entry point into the text itself.

Short Answer

1. Can you think of any natural disasters (floods, earthquakes, etc.) that people made worse by the way they responded (or didn’t respond)? Try to name two or three.

Teaching Suggestion: Students may not know about the 1985 Nevado del Ruiz eruption, but examples of disasters exacerbated by incompetence, apathy, or ignorance are unfortunately quite common. Various governments’ responses to the Covid-19 pandemic are a recent example, as is Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath. In real life, the Colombian government received harsh criticism for the tragedy upon which Allende’s story is based; in the story, society’s apathy toward nature mirrors their lack of compassion for one another and connects to the theme of Empathy and Humanity’s Place in the Natural World.