Theoretical Suicide and Truth in "All About Suicide" by Luisa Valenzuela

Theoretical Suicide and Truth in "All About Suicide" by Luisa Valenzuela

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"Suicide, what a terrible concept. There are two types of suicide: physical, and theoretical. Physical suicide is the more commonly heard type of suicide. It entails the person actually, physically killing himself or herself. On the other hand, theoretical suicide is when the person does something that will, in turn, get him or her killed. For example, in “All About Suicide” by Luisa Valenzuela, Ismael, a man that works at a minister’s office, murders the minister, a high-ranking public official. Ismael has been forced to be quiet by the government; therefore he lashes out by killing the minister so that he can reveal the truth about the government. In doing this, Ismael technically “kills himself” because he knows the government will eventually find him and execute him. The theme of this story is that quite often, the truth is misconstrued or is hidden from the public. In order to reveal the truth, action must be taken to bring the truth to the people. Valenzuela reveals this theme through flashbacks, pronoun usage, and imagery.
To begin with, the theme about truth is introduced through flashbacks throughout the story. For example, when the author states, “No, Ismael in the ministry without being able to tell what he knew, forced to be silent. Ismael in the bar with the glass (his third) in his hand, and the irrevocable decision: better death” (Valenzuela, 6), it clearly shows that the government is up to no good. Ismael is not very happy about it, considering he is in a bar drinking it off. When someone, such as Ismael, is forced to be silent, they may take drastic measures in order to reveal the truth. In Ismael’s case, his drastic measure is taken by killing the minister. Also, when the narrator says “better...


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...eme of All About Suicide was that the truth is often misconstrued or is hidden from the public. In order to reveal the truth, action must be taken to bring the truth to the people. Ismael killed the minister in order to get the truth to the people. In some cases, this would be the wrong choice, but in Ismael’s situation, murder was the only option. Valenzuela reveals this theme through flashbacks, pronoun use, and imagery. Through this theme, the reader can learn to be more assertive and aggressive when trying to expose the truth. For example, they could start a protest, a website, even a political campaign in order to get the truth to the public. The public has the right to know what happens in their governments, and even though certain countries try to contain the truth, there will always be “freedom fighters” like Ismael to ensure that the truth is heard."

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