Raphael DupaMrs. ZeroskiEnglish 9 H, Period 317 October 2017WOAT Final AXES Paper Nine-year-old Nicholas Veras journeys through parts of El Salvador in search of his mother while caught in between a civil war in Sandra Benitez’s novel The Weight of All Things. In the novel, many characters, including Nicholas himself, give back to the innocent civilians of the war through the giving of gifts and the amicable attitude given to others. The acts of kindness the people of El Salvador show helps Benitez to inform readers that being kind towards others has a powerful impact on them. To demonstrate, as Nicholas goes to a small neighborhood in Tejutla to assist the doctor in taking care of the patients, he spots an infant with a high fever. The doctor goes to the mother of the infant and prescribes some medicine for the baby to drink, but the baby does not want to drink it. Once Nicholas sees this dilemma, he thinks of something, “Nicholas thought of the tangerine that was in his backpack .

. . He brought it out .

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. . pulled off one little section . . . and placed the fruit between the baby’s lips” (Benitez 87). Benitez shows the effects that acts of kindness leave on people when Nicholas gives the infant a tangerine to suck on. While the infant is near the edge of death, Nicholas generously gives the infant a way to take the medicine that would save her life.

Without a second thought, Nicholas gave the baby a gift, a gift that meant much the young Nicholas himself. If Nicholas were not kind to the infant at that exact moment, the infant would most undoubtedly have died. Only, adding more to the amount of innocents that have been taken by the war.

In another example, Nicholas goes to help an old store owner, Rocio, near an army garrison retrieve her fallen key that she could not get on her own. After the deed was done, Nicholas leaves the store, until suddenly the owner stops him and says, “‘Wait a minute. Before you go, pick out a piece of candy for your trouble. Pick whatever kind you want'” (Benitez 183).   This interaction between Nicholas and the store owner reveals that being kind towards can impact others in powerful ways. Rocio’s kindness towards Nicholas affects him in ways he could not explain. Amidst all of this violence, death and destruction, there are still some who believe in a better world, some who know that one must be kind to others in order to triumph over this war.

This gives Nicholas confidence. Confidence that helps him to make it out of the destructive war zone that the garrison would soon become, and to reunite with his beloved grandfather. The acts of kindness within the novel, depicts that kindness, no matter where one is, will powerfully affect those it is given to. The message that Benitez leaves, informs the young people of this generation the true importance of kindness.

Do not simply ignore the pleas of others in need. Rather, go out of your way to help those who require that assistance, as that help may given back to you in times where you need it.