A very short read but curiously took me as much time to read as 100 Years of Solitude.
Poverty is Corrosive
The effect of the colonel’s daily walk is ritualistic. The walk down the road is always a bridge between crises. A small window of solace in an otherwise dreary world. To the Colonel the wildly fluctuating mixture of hope and futility results in conflicting emotions of expectancy and shame. A never ending wait that is made even more torpid by the death of his son and the fortitude of his wife.
Poverty makes a person doubt. It makes a person lie. It remains a constant companion to one’s values throughout their life. It gives an opportunity to grapple with all the questions of wants and needs. To justify and reject and desire again everything one needs and those that one thinks they need.
That is why there is something noble about pride and patience with the poor. This could well be a romantic’s view of the poor.
The colonel is hedging his bets on a bigger play. He is betting on his rooster outside the pen. He is the rooster and his wife is a worthy opponent.
Or it could be that the story can always be taken at face value.
Everyone reads about the Colonel. Nobody writes to him.