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Eva Luna - Chapter Two Summary & Analysis

This Study Guide consists of approximately 53 pages of chapter summaries, quotes, character analysis, themes, and more - everything you need to sharpen your knowledge of Eva Luna.
This section contains 1,022 words
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Chapter Two Summary

Rolf Carle is born, the youngest son of Lukas Carle. Lukas is a horrible man, who terrorizes his family. Rolf's mother is often mentally tortured, being forced to parade around in red high heeled boots and nothing else when her husband wishes. Rolf's older siblings are Jochen, a weak young man in his father's eyes, and Katherina, a girl, unworthy because of a heart defect and mental retardation.

Life improves for the Carle family when Lukas goes to war. Despite the war around them the family is happy, relieved of the domineering presence of Lukas. Things change on the day that the Russian soldiers that have been living in the town herd all of the townspeople to the prison camp. On this day , they became aware of what was within the walls and fences. The soldiers order all that are capable to dig, and Rolf and his brother do so, with an eye to the bodies piled near the building like stacks of wood. Once finished digging, the villagers are ordered to bury the dead. Frau Carle cries for her sons as they move body after body to the large mass graves. Once the task is complete, the townspeople march through the camp, witnesses to the mass destruction and murder that has taken place so close to their home.

One week later Lukas Carle returns from the war, a deserter, less than happy to see his family. Katherina scrambles under the table to hide and her mother quickly covers the table hoping her husband has forgotten his daughter. Jochen stutters and stumbles, immediately cowed by his father's presence. Rolf was an infant when his father went to war, but is Lukas' focus at once, the school master declaring Rolf weak for being raised at his mother's apron strings.

The family has one more brief period of peace when Lukas is tried as a deserter and is sentenced to six months of hard labor. Rolf stuns himself by wishing that his father will die in prison. Lukas does not die, however, and returns to his home, visiting even more cruelties on his wife and children. Jochen and Rolf protect their sister as best they can. Rolf spends many nights with Katherina hiding under the table, watching their father through the sheer table cloth.

One night, the children are ordered to their room with instructions not to come out for any reason. Jochen makes a stand, breaking down the door to the living room and they witness the humiliation of their mother as she is forced to parade around in the red boots. Enraged, Jochen hits his father, breaking his jaw, and says goodbye to his mother. Frau Carle is despondent yet relieved that at least one of her sons will be safe.

Lukas Carle recovers and Rolf returns to daily life, now the focus of his father's wrath. Hiding with Katherina under the table, Rolf lives through the veil of the cloth, a memory he will carry with him to adulthood that will one day bring him to tears while sleeping under mosquito netting with the woman he loves.

Chapter Two Analysis

Rolf Carle is introduced to the reader, and the early part of his life unfolds. Rolf grows up in a small village in Austria, the youngest son of the cruel school master Lukas Carle. Though Lukas has tormented Rolf's siblings for some time, his enlistment in the army saves the young Rolf from the same trouble in his early years. Though World War II rages around them, Rolf's younger years are filled with happiness as he grows and flourishes within the loving arms of his family. Rolf's joy in life is a bit over-shadowed by the fact that he believes himself to be unmanly because he can recognize the beauty of the world and enjoys poetry. Embarrassed, the young boy often hides his writings, afraid that others will see him as weak.

Though only ten years old, Rolf becomes a man on the night that he and the villagers are forced to dig mass graves for the victims of the prison camp on the outskirts of the town. Frau Carle is horrified, as she has tried to shield her children from the horrors of war, but Rolf does what must be done. While most of those present will try and erase that night from their memory, Rolf will become molded by it. His future will bring him fame and fortune as he documents history, making sure that no one will forget the things that take place around them.

Rolf's life changes after the war for the worse, when normally life would become better. The return of the hated Lukas changes the dynamic of the family once again. Terror reigns in the Carle home with Frau Carle giving up on life and religion. The poor woman cannot understand how a benevolent God would allow her children to live with such a monster. Becoming resigned to their fate, there is little Rolf's mother can do but try and keep the children out of sight.

The night that Jochen finally stands up to his father is important for many reasons. The oldest son, always a disappointment to his father, has proven himself a man, defending his mother and her honor from her husband's cruelties. Jochen's act also shows Rolf that the weak can overcome the strong if there is enough will and courage. Jochen's leaving, however, places Rolf directly in his father's sights, and he becomes the focus of Lukas' anger and disappointment. Young Rolf accepts his lot in life, unaware that there is anything different. He does his best to care for his sister and keep her safe. Hiding under the table with her, viewing the world through the veil of the table cloth, shows how Rolf's life is clouded, he does not see the real world, only the one in which he finds himself. The veil is lifted as he grows older, but the reference to his tears when he wakes under mosquito netting shows the reader how much he is affected by his youth.

This section contains 1,022 words
(approx. 3 pages at 400 words per page)
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