Broken April

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3. Comment on the way in which Gjorg carried out the shooting of Zef. What do you find interesting about the process?

In this extract, we witness Gjorg, as obligated by his duty to family and the Kanun, avenge his brother’s death by killing his murderer, Zef Kryeqyqe. The Kanun, an old code of laws, dictates every man involved in a blood feud to continue the brutal cycle between the families. As Kadare depicts, the manner in which Gjorg carries out the shooting of Zef is underlined heavily by a strong sense of unease and disbelief. It is clear that Gjorg does the deed out of obligation and fails to commit and see merit in this old tradition.

Firstly, Gjorg anticipates the shooting in ambush. Here, he is described to be “fearful or simply troubled”. There is a lot of waiting involved and this anticipation sets up a suspenseful, perhaps even stressful, and rather stretched sense of time. “Never before had (Gjorg) stayed motionless for so long, lying in wait behind a ridge that overlooked the highway; daylight was fading”. The waiting time prior to the kill brings Gjorg’s mind to an anxious and unnerving state, up to the point where he contemplates his surroundings with the “patches of snow” and “wild pomegranates” becoming witnesses to the deed he is about to engage in. It is revealed that this is Gjorg’s second attempt at killing Zef and that he wanted to “run away from this accursed ambush”, which virtually was just “an extension” of the previous one. We get a sense of the heavy weight that is placed upon Gjorg. The mention of “extension” highlights that this is not only a prolonged process, but also one that is inevitable and in due time, will have to be faced by Gjorg either way. It is a painful wait. What is interesting is the parallel between this wait and the painfully limited time Gjorg has before meeting his death as specified by the bessa.

Kadare also draws our attention to Gjorg’s heightened sense of self-awareness. Gjorg becomes “aware again of...
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