Left to Tell

by

Immaculée Ilibagiza

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Left to Tell: Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Immaculée is praying with the rosary when the killers return to search the house. She always struggles with the part of the Lord’s prayer about forgiveness, because she is not sure that she can forgive the killers. On the other side of the bathroom door, the killers are searching the wardrobe and laughing. Immaculée is horrified and momentarily wishes that they would burn in hell. She hears the voice of the devil again, pointing out that she is also guilty of hatred because she wanted the killers to suffer. The devil calls her a liar for asking God to save her when she does not have forgiveness in her heart, and Immaculée realizes that the devil is right. At the same time, she feels like being asked to forgive the killers is unfair and “impossible.” 
The voice of doubt in Immaculée’s mind thrives on her own desires for destruction and revenge. As soon as Immaculée begins to give in to negative thinking—however justified—the voice of the devil encourages a spiral of negativity, driving her father from God. Immaculée knows that practicing unconditional love and forgiveness is a mandate from God, but her situation is so extreme that she momentarily wavers in her commitment to carry out God’s will.
Themes
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
 The killers leave, and Immaculée prays in gratitude. However, she struggles with the feeling that her prayers are “hollow.” She asks God to open her heart to forgiveness and spends the next week so wrapped up in prayer that she barely eats or drinks and isn’t aware of having slept. One night she hears screaming, followed by the cries of a baby. She realizes that the killers must have murdered the child’s mother and left it to die. By morning, the baby’s cries have stopped. When Immaculée asks God how she can forgive people who would do that to a child, she hears God tell her: “You are all My children… and the baby is with Me now.”
This is a crucial turning point in the book. Up until this moment, Immaculée has focused on the victims of the genocide, responding to the great injustice of the loss of so many lives. However, here God reminds her that she must also think of the killers as former innocents who have been corrupted. God created every human as good, and thus Immaculée must love the killers just as she loves innocent babies. 
Themes
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
This is the moment Immaculée has been waiting for. She sees the killers as children who are hurting others and themselves, but not as fundamentally evil. She prays that God will help the killers see the error in their ways while they still have time left on Earth. She hears God telling her to forgive the killers, “for they know not what they do.” Guided by God, she feels love, forgiveness, and pity for the killers. That night she sleeps peacefully for the first time since entering the bathroom.
Immaculée’s desire to forgive is rooted in selflessness, but it also benefits her. Without forgiving the killers, Immaculée cannot find peace. Forgiveness reminds her of God’s love and purpose for her life. Forgiveness is thus a way of turning back to God in the midst of the horror and meaningless of the genocide.
Themes
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon