Thousands are people are killed in war every year. People outside of the war really don’t know what the war is like. In The Weight of All Things by Sandra Benítez, the vantage point of war is shown to us through the 9 year old main character Nicolás de la Virgen Veras. This helps us better comprehend the war happening around the country because of this vantage point. The book was very interesting due to the adventure, warfare, and hope that pulled the book together.
The adventure factor in The Weight of All Things really makes this piece of writing very interesting to read. Every two to three chapters another issue or problem arises in the book so you really have to stay on your toes while reading this book. If you do not pay full attention while reading this book it is likely that you will miss some really important details and then the book won't be as fun to read. Straight from the beginning of the book there are scenes that really grab your attention and get you involved in the book. Nicolás losses his mother and spends most of the novel looking for her and going on a city to city adventure trying to find her. Nicolás starts off in the book in a city called San Salvador then travels to Chalatenango and then makes his way to El Retorno searching for his lost mother. Nicolás meets many important figures along the way that guide him to freedom including the reunion with his grandpa and the Boss of the local guerrillas. Since he doesn't have his mother throughout the book he needs to turn to some of these people for a parental figure when on the story long adventure he also learns many things that give him a positive mindset. A positive mind set is needed for war because with all the warfare and fighting you need to be courageous and brave to keep a positive mind set. “Life is heavier than the weight of all things”(Benítez 171).
Even though there is a lot of adventure of adventure in the book, the adventure starts from the warfare. The books warfare is based on the warfare that resulted from the assassination of the Archbishop Oscar Romero. The Federal army was trying to attack the local guerillas which were the people that killed the archbishop. That warfare between the Federal army and the guerillas is what the warfare in this book is about. The warfare is around Nicolás the whole book from the beginning. But it all directly relates to similar events that happened in real history. Nicolás experienced a lot of death in the book from his mother dying to some of his closest allies and friends dying around him. Although there is a lot of death and warfare around Nicolás, it is good for the book because it shows of how the war affected some of the children. It also showed us the lifestyle of which the people and soldiers had to live. Even with all the warfare and death, Nicolás still continues to have hope that everything will get better. He keeps his head up and tells himself that he a lion, which represents his hope and bravery. “I am like lion. Soy valíente. Soy fuérte. Soy como el léon” (132).
For Nicolás only being 9 years old, it is extremely impressive to read about how much hope he has. He hopes that things will get better and he hopes that his mother is still alive through the majority of book and he hopes that things will go back to the way they were but deep down you can feel that he knows that it won't happen. The hope is partially “fake” due to the fact that you feel like he knows that his mother is dead. This false hope feeling that Nicolás has shows us a vantage on how the youth could be feeling about the war. He comes up with all these different scenarios that could lead him to his mother but all of the scenarios are so farfetched that there is no way that they could be true. Even through all the false hope he keeps searching. It’s almost like Nicolás is in denial. When asked about his mother he never really gives a full answer whether it was to Tata, Alvarado, or the Army Commander he always avoided the heart shattering truth. “All my life I've lived with him, my mother died when I was born, and ever since it has just been Tata and me” (142).
Throughout the entire book Nicolás goes through many things good and bad but he copes with it and finds a way to get through it. All the events come together to make a clear picture. After reading the book, all the events that occur in The Weight of All Things show us a vantage point of a child’s point of view of the warfare that was occurring at that time.