In lines thirty-five through forty-five of Ian McEwan’s Black Dogs, June and Bernard stand upon the precipice of a cliff in the French countryside. The particular description in this section, when teamed with June’s observations as they near the cliff, provide a startling comparison to June’s inner turmoil and the changes inherent to the baby she carries within her womb. Like her own future prospects, the path’s trajectory is a “steep descent” that fills her with anxiety and place June and Bernard’s relationship and imminent future into the context of a fall.
Like the “bright, empty space” of “baking rock dropping three hundred feet” , their future stretches out before them and represents the unknowable nature of human relationships. However, perhaps more important in relating to June’s anxiety is her own awareness that such a physical descent of the earth could as easily be seen in as the physical and mental transformation she will go through in becoming a parent. The danger she senses is not merely the physical danger of their present but the psychological and emotional danger inherent to their own relationship with one another and their future child.
The couple’s relationship in particular is vulnerable to the chasm that opens up before them with the knowledge of this new life and responsibility. Like the earth at the bottom of this open space, they can guess what the future will bring when they return to England but they cannot truly understand the context of what such a journey entails. There is the sense that they will look back upon this moment for a significance that they can only partially understand.
On July 16, 2009, James Bone’s article for the London Times reported a series of murders that had just taken place in Mexico. Michoacan, where the killings have taken occurred, is an area of Mexico along the Pacific coast. As the country’s primary source of opium and marijuana, Michoacan hosts a great deal of drug cartel activity and violence– the most recent being when a dozen federal agent bodies were found on a highway in the mountains.
These anti-drug agents are among several who have been killed this year in a series of attacks. This killing spree is reported to have been sparked by the arrest of Arnoldo Rueda Medina, a commander of La Familia cartel, which took place in Morelia– Michoacan’s capital. Seven cities came under attack from La Familia shortly after Medina’s arrest, including the tourist sites of Patzcuaro and Zitacuaro. The twelve bodies that were found on the highway– one woman and eleven men– marks the most severe attack thus far.
Found with the bodies were death threats from La Familia, saying “…Join its ranks or leave” and “Let’s see if you try to arrest another one”, alluding to Medina being arrested. La Familia’s killing spree is reported to be a turning point in the long-standing Mexican drug war, as they are now killing federal agents directly. Some believe this proves that the arrest of Medina was a serious setback for the cartel.
According to Jorge Chabat, a drug expert, the cartel’s operations have been negatively affected and they are showing signs of weakness rather than strength. Putting an end to this cartel, however, is seemingly an endless task– and due to La Familia having penetrated the legal system and obtaining protection, it is difficult to speculate when this violence is going to end. Link: http://www. timesonline. co. uk/tol/news/world/us_and_americas/article6715478. ece
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