Left to Tell

by

Immaculée Ilibagiza

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Left to Tell: Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
In late August, the captain tells Immaculée that they have two hours to evacuate the camp and that the refugees will be brought to stay with Tutsi soldiers at their camp nearby. Immaculée gathers her few meagre belongings, but on second thought decides she wants to have a completely fresh start and leaves them behind, hoping another survivor will find them. She says goodbye to Pierre, who gives her his address in France and says he will pray that God keeps her safe. In the truck on the way to the RPF camp, they pass a group of Interahamwe, and Immaculée once again has to pray that they pass by safely.
Immaculée’s decision to leave her few belongings behind again highlights the disconnection from the physical world she has achieved through her intense relationship with God. While on a practical level it might not be the most prudent thing to rid herself of belongings (meagre as they may be), Immaculée prioritizes the symbolic cleansing that will come with this gesture, rather than making practical considerations.
Themes
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Shortly after, the captain says that there have been reports of gunfire in the area and that the survivors will have to get out and walk the rest of the way. Immaculée begs him not to, but he says he must follow his orders. Feeling dizzy with fear, Immaculée tells the others that they must get out. As she leaves the truck, she comes face-to-face with a killer and looks straight into his eyes. She can see that he doesn’t really want to kill; she clutches her rosary and tries her hardest to send a message of God’s love to the man. He eventually drops his machete, but other killers remain standing nearby.
Although it is extremely frightening to do so, here Immaculée manages to do the unthinkable and directly confront one of the killers. Indeed, this confrontation is so powerful that, against all odds, it makes the killer drop his machete. Of course, Immaculée does not believe that she is alone in her confrontation—instead, she makes herself a conductor of God’s love, allowing herself to be a tool of a much greater power.
Themes
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
The others get out of the truck and the Interahamwe begin taunting them, saying that while they might have had the protection of the French soldiers before, they are alone now. Immaculée tells the others that they will walk to the RPF camp, and on hearing “RPF” the killers become nervous. The group walk, but the road is too strewn with bodies for Aloise’s wheelchair to get far. Along with Jean Paul and another friend, she decides to walk to the RPF and come back for Aloise and the others. She tells the group being left behind to pray and promises they will be back with help soon. 
Once again, Immaculée shows enormous bravery that sets her apart from others, especially considering her disproportionate vulnerability as a woman. She has already survived so much, yet her life continues to hang in a precarious balance. Despite this, her faith in God is so strong that it allows her to act with enormous calmness and courage. 
Themes
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
As Immaculée walks, she realizes that she truly is walking in the “valley of death,” and prays fiercely. One Interahamwe recognizes her, saying “I know this cockroach” and identifying her as Leonard’s daughter. Immaculée puts herself in God’s hands, knowing that only He can save her. Moments later, the Interahamwe are gone. Soon after, Immaculée is thrilled to see the RPF base camp in front of her. However, just she is beginning to feel relief, one of the soldiers cocks his gun and points it directly at her.
Immaculée’s desire to live has not exactly diminished, but at the same time she has had so many brushes with death that she no longer fears dying and refuses the psychic struggle of hoping to live. Instead, she completely surrenders herself to God and accepts whatever fate He has planned for her.
Themes
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
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