Left to Tell

by

Immaculée Ilibagiza

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Left to Tell can help.

Immaculée Ilibagiza Character Analysis

Immaculée is the author and narrator of the book. Born in Mataba, a village in the province of Kibuye, Rwanda, Immaculée has a happy childhood surrounded by the love of her parents and brothers. She is extremely intelligent and excels in school, gaining a place at the prestigious Lycée de Notre Dame d’Afrique and a scholarship to attend the National University at Butare. She is deeply religious from early childhood, and as a child she inquires about becoming a nun. The happiness and success of Immaculée’s early life are blighted by the Rwandan civil war and genocide of 1994. During the genocide, she hides in a bathroom along with other Tutsi women and girls in the house of Pastor Murinzi. During this time, she turns to God as a source of resilience, strength, and optimism. Despite the appalling circumstances, her faith is enhanced by the experience. Furthermore, she teaches herself English in the bathroom, which allows her to gain a job at the UN after the genocide ends. Although almost all members of Immaculée’s family were killed in the genocide, she maintains a positive outlook on life and insists on the importance of forgiveness. She marries Bryan Black, an American, and moves to New York City to continue working for the UN. She is the mother of two children and regularly returns to Rwanda, as well as traveling the world, in order to advocate the importance of faith, hope, and forgiveness.

Immaculée Ilibagiza Quotes in Left to Tell

The Left to Tell quotes below are all either spoken by Immaculée Ilibagiza or refer to Immaculée Ilibagiza . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Hay House edition of Left to Tell published in 2006.
Chapter 1 Quotes

Both of my parents were teachers, and adamant believers that the only defense against poverty and hunger was a good education… Mom and Dad were the first high school graduates in their families, and they were determined that their children would go even further than they had in school. Dad led by example, working hard and studying throughout his life. He received many honors and promotions during his career, rising steadily through the ranks from primary teacher to junior high school principal. He was eventually appointed chief administrator for all of the Catholic schools in our district.

Page Number: 5
Explanation and Analysis:

My parents were devout Roman Catholics and passed on their beliefs to us. Mass was mandatory on Sundays, as were evening prayers with the family at home. I loved praying, going to church, and everything else to do with God. I especially loved the Virgin Mary, believing that she was my second mom, watching out for me from heaven.

Page Number: 6
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 2 Quotes

But our parents didn't teach us about our own history. We didn't know that Rwanda was made up of three tribes: a Hutu majority; a Tutsi minority; and a very small number of Twa, a pygmy-like tribe of forest dwellers. We weren't taught that the German colonialists, and the Belgian ones that followed, converted Rwanda's existing social structure—a monarchy that under a Tutsi king had provided Rwanda with centuries of peace and harmony—into a discriminatory, race-based class system. The Belgians favored the minority Tutsi aristocracy and promoted its status as the ruling class; therefore, Tutsis were ensured a better education to better manage the country and generate greater profits for the Belgian overlords. The Belgians introduced an ethnic identity card to more easily distinguish the two tribes, deepening the rift they'd created between Hutu and Tutsi. Those reckless blunders created a lingering resentment among Hutus that helped lay the groundwork for genocide.

Page Number: 14-15
Explanation and Analysis:

Mom and Dad ignored the social and political reality they lived in, and instead taught that everyone was born equal. They didn't want their children growing up feeling paranoid or inferior because they were born Tutsi.

Page Number: 16
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3 Quotes

Hundreds of thousands of Tutsis had fled Rwanda during the troubles of 1959 and 1973, as well as the many other times that Hutu extremists had gone on Tutsi killing sprees. They'd gone into exile to save their lives and those of their families. Mr. Gahigi called the rebels "foreigners" because most of them grew up in neighboring countries such as Uganda and Zaire—but that was only because President Habyarimana enforced a policy banning exiles from ever returning to Rwanda. He'd created a Tutsi diaspora, and entire generations of Rwandan Tutsis had grown up without once setting foot in their homeland.

Page Number: 24
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

My brother, my soul mate, put his hands in mine, and they felt soft and light as feathers. No matter how hard I squeezed them, I couldn't feel the weight of his palms against mine—it was like holding the hands of a disappearing soul. My heart felt like it was exploding.

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker)
Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

We sat in an uncomfortable heap, too afraid to adjust our positions or to even breathe too heavily. We waited for the gray light of dawn to fill the room, then carefully pried ourselves apart to take turns standing and stretching. A two- or three-minute break was all we allowed ourselves before resuming our awkward positions on the floor.

When morning broke, the birds in the pastor's shade tree began singing. I was jealous of them, thinking, How lucky you are to have been born birds and have freedom—after all, look at what we humans are doing to ourselves.

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker)
Page Number: 75
Explanation and Analysis:

The struggle between my prayers and the evil whispers that I was sure belonged to the devil raged in my mind. I never stopped praying… and the whispering never relented.

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker)
Page Number: 79
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 10 Quotes

I knew that he wasn't entirely to blame for his ignorance because he'd learned his contempt for Tutsis in school . . . the same school I went to! Young Hutus were taught from an early age that Tutsis were inferior and not to be trusted, and they didn't belong in Rwanda. Hutus witnessed the segregation of Tutsis every day, first in the schoolyard and then in the workplace, and they were taught to dehumanize us by calling us "snakes" and "cockroaches." No wonder it was so easy for them to kill us—snakes were to be killed and cockroaches exterminated!

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker), Sembeba
Page Number: 85-86
Explanation and Analysis:

It was past noon, and I'd been praying the rosary since dawn for God to give His love and forgiveness to all the sinners in the world. But try as I might, I couldn't bring myself to pray for the killers. That was a problem for me because I knew that God expected us to pray for everyone, and more than anything, I wanted God on my side.

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker)
Related Symbols: The Rosary
Page Number: 91
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

I took a deep breath and thanked God for answering my prayers and bringing me the tools I needed to learn English. Even though I’d be losing prayer time, I knew that God would be with me while I studied. He intended for me to learn this language, and I could feel the power of His intention coursing through me. I would not waste a minute of my time in self-pity or doubt. God had presented me with a gift and my gift in return would be to make the most of His kindness.

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker)
Page Number: 116
Explanation and Analysis:

I knew that whatever I envisioned would come to pass if I had faith and visualized it with a pure heart and good intentions, and if it were something God thought was right for me. It was then that I realized I could dream and

visualize my destiny. I vowed that I'd always dare to dream for what I wanted. And I would only dream for beautiful things like love, health, and peace, because that is the kind of beauty God wants for all His children.

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker)
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

Damascene managed to get to his feet one more time, and then he smiled at the killers. His fearlessness confused them—they'd murdered many Tutsis and always enjoyed listening to their victims plead for their lives. Damascene's composure robbed them of that pleasure. Instead of negotiating or begging for mercy, he challenged them to kill him. “Go ahead,” he said. “What are you waiting for? Today is my day to go to God. I can feel Him all around us. He is watching, waiting to take me home. Go ahead—finish your work and send me

to paradise. I pity you for killing people like it's some kind of child's game. Murder is no game: If you offend God, you will pay for your fun. The blood of the innocent people you cut down will follow you to your reckoning. But I am praying for you . . . I pray that you see the evil you're doing and ask for Cod's forgiveness before it's too late."

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker), Damascene (speaker)
Page Number: 154
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19 Quotes

I prayed that God would touch the captain's heart with His forgiveness, and I prayed again for the killers to put down their machetes and beg for God's mercy. The captain's anger made me think that the cycle of hatred and mistrust in Rwanda would not easily be broken. There would certainly be even more bitterness after the killing stopped, bitterness that could easily erupt into more violence. Only God's Divine forgiveness could stop that from happening now. I could see that whatever path God put me on, helping others to forgive would be a big part of my life's work.

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker), The Captain
Page Number: 159
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 22 Quotes

The beautiful campus where I'd formed so many wonderful memories and loving friendships was no more. There was garbage everywhere, and many of the buildings were charred and crumbling. Student records blew across the campus like tumbleweeds, and after all these weeks, there were still so many bodies on the ground. I couldn't bear to look, fearing that I'd see the corpse of Sarah or one of my other dear girlfriends. I tried to conjure the memory of the school dances I'd enjoyed, the plays I’d performed in, the romantic walks I'd

taken with John . . . but all were obliterated by the devastation I saw before me.

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker), Sarah, John
Page Number: 186
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24 Quotes

I wept at the sight of his suffering. Felicien had let the devil enter his heart, and the evil had ruined his life like a cancer in his soul. He was now the victim of his victims, destined to live in torment and regret. I was overwhelmed with pity for the man.

Related Characters: Immaculée Ilibagiza (speaker), Felicien
Page Number: 204
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Left to Tell LitChart as a printable PDF.
Left to Tell PDF

Immaculée Ilibagiza Character Timeline in Left to Tell

The timeline below shows where the character Immaculée Ilibagiza appears in Left to Tell. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Preface
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
In the preface, Immaculée Ilibagiza writes that the following book is not meant to be a comprehensive or objective... (full context)
Introduction: My Name is Immaculée
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée hears the killers shouting her name, saying they know she’s there somewhere. These killers are... (full context)
Chapter 1: The Eternal Spring
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée thinks of her birthplace as “paradise.” Rwanda’s natural landscape and climate are so beautiful that... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée’s family home is considered “luxurious” within her village, and the family has two cars, which... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée explains that her parents are “Christians in the broadest sense”: they treat everyone kindly and... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...they can sit and eat together. They then pray together before going back to sleep. Immaculée thinks of these evenings as “magical.” (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée has three brothers. The oldest, Aimable, was born in 1965 and is wise beyond his... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
The youngest member of the family is Vianney, whom Immaculée calls “lovable but pesky.” Even when Vianney grew up to be a tall and handsome... (full context)
Chapter 2: Standing Up
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée is 10 years old and in her elementary school classroom when her teacher, Buhoro, tells... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
When Immaculée tells Damascene what happened, Damascene says that Buhoro is “not nice” but that she shouldn’t... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Immaculée explains that there are three tribes in Rwanda: the majority of the population is Hutu,... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée’s parents made no distinction between people of different races, religions, or tribes. Yet they themselves... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
That night at dinner Immaculée tells Leonard about what happened at school. Leonard looks angry and says he will talk... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Over the course of Immaculée’s childhood, the ethnic roll call in class remains the only reminder of tribalism in her... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Unbeknown to Immaculée, however, the Hutu president Juvénal Habyarimana has instituted the ethnic roll call in class in... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Nonetheless, Immaculée locks herself away and cries. A woman without a high school education has no option... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
The facilities in Immaculée’s new school are rather shoddy, but she is determined to excel anyway. She takes the... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée adores Lycée. Unlike her previous school, the buildings are big and beautiful. There is a... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée receives a letter from Vianney that makes her miss him terribly. As promised, Damascene comes... (full context)
Chapter 3: Higher Learning
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
In October 1990, during Immaculée’s third and last year at Lycée, war begins. Immaculée’s Civil Education teacher, Mr. Gagihi, arrives... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Mr. Gagihi explains that the rebels are associated with the Rwandese Patriotic Front (RPF), who Immaculée knows want to fight to make the country more equal. Hundreds of thousands of Tutsis... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...Tutsis are cannibals with devil horns and call them “cockroaches.” One of the girls in Immaculée’s dorm, Danida, believes all the propaganda and one night while Immaculée is going to the... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
On another occasion, Immaculée is walking to a school picnic when a local Hutu man promises to kill her... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
During the Christmas break, Madame Sirake, a neighborhood gossip, informs Immaculée that Leonard was among those arrested. Immaculée races home, where Rose doesn’t mention Leonard’s arrest... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...prisoners, including Leonard. At this point Kabayi apologized and pretended it was all a misunderstanding. Immaculée’s brothers insist that it is time to flee the country; Rose is worried that they... (full context)
Chapter 4: Off to University
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
In the summer of 1991, Immaculée is stunned to learn that she has gained a scholarship to the National University in... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Arriving in Butare, Immaculée is thrilled to learn that six of her friends from Lycée, including Clementine, were also... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée receives a letter from her parents that makes her realize they are struggling now that... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
During Easter vacation in 1993, Immaculée sees the Interahamwe for the first time. She is with John, visiting Sarah and her... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
A few months later, Immaculée and Damascene are traveling to Kigali from Mataba to attend a wedding. Suddenly, the bus... (full context)
Chapter 5: Returning Home
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
During Immaculée’s third year at university, the radio waves are flooded with hateful propaganda about Tutsi “cockroaches.”... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée’s entire family is in Mataba except Aimable, who is in Senegal after having won a... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...refuge in Zaire. Leonard insists that Damascene is letting his imagination get carried away, but Immaculée knows it isn’t like her brother to blow things out of proportion. She suggests that... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
After saying goodnight to their parents, Immaculée, her brothers, and Augustine gather to discuss the rumors they’ve heard. Augustine is hesitant to... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Just as Immaculée begins to pray, Damascene enters the room and tells her that President Habyarimana is dead.... (full context)
Chapter 6: No Going Back
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée’s family, along with Augustine, spend the entire day of April 7th, 1994 listening to the... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...are trapped inside their house in Kigali. During the interview, the line goes dead, and Immaculée later learns that soldiers broke into her house and assassinated her while she was on... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...Interahamwe throw grenades into houses in Mataba, killing those who try to escape with machetes. Immaculée’s family watches in horror as one of their neighbors is hacked to death in front... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
That night, Leonard tells Immaculée that she needs to sleep and promises that he will protect her. Immaculée goes to... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
In the early morning, Immaculée gently wakes Rose and assures her that everything is ok. She is shocked to see... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Only a few hours later, Interahamwe attack the crowd outside Immaculée’s home. Leonard and a hundred other Tutsi men chase away the killers, but it is... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...leave, perhaps because they saw the vast number of Tutsis gathered around the house. However, Immaculée knows that they will be back soon. (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Damascene instructs Immaculée to stay with Pastor Murinzi, warning her that if the killers catch her, not only... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Pastor Murinzi lives five miles away from Immaculée’s family. While Augustine and Immaculée are walking, they pass a crowd of Hutus carrying weapons,... (full context)
Chapter 7: The Pastor’s House
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Pastor Murinzi lives in a large, lavish, European-style house. He greets Immaculée with a smile; he is a close friend of her family, and also John’s uncle.... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Pastor Murinzi’s youngest son, Lechim, is another of Immaculée’s close friends from primary school, and was the first boy she ever kissed. Now, he... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée lies down in Dusenge’s room and thinks about the events of the past few days.... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée decides that she cannot give up hope and promises Damascene that they will survive. Damascene... (full context)
Chapter 8: Farewell to the Boys
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Hours later, Immaculée is sitting alone in a bedroom when Pastor Murinzi opens the door and leads five... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...decides to hide them in a small room, starting early tomorrow morning. He then tells Immaculée that Augustine and Vianney must leave, because it is too dangerous for him to hide... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
That night, Immaculée lies in agony thinking about Augustine and Vianney’s fate. One of the other Tutsi women,... (full context)
Chapter 9: Into the Bathroom
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
After saying goodbye to Vianney and Augustine, Immaculée joins the other Tutsi women as they are led by Pastor Murinzi into a bathroom... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
After Pastor Murinzi leaves, Immaculée silently prays for God to protect her family. She feels resentment toward the pastor for... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Sitting in the bathroom is painfully uncomfortable, and Immaculée finds it impossible to sleep. The morning after they begin hiding there, they overhear Pastor... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...the women have invented a sign language with which to silently communicate with one another. Immaculée is desperately worried about her family, and thanks God that at least Aimable is safe... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée closes her eyes and prays to God to save them. For the first time, she... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
When Pastor Murinzi returns that evening, Immaculée is in a “trance,” holding her rosary and barely cognizant of her surroundings. Therese and... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...that a different group of killers will be returning to search the house more thoroughly. Immaculée wishes that God would let them be killed straight away rather than putting them through... (full context)
Chapter 10: Confronting My Anger
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Despite the incredibly cramped conditions, Immaculée does not recall feeling embarrassed of using the toilet in front of the other women... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
A week into Immaculée’s time in the bathroom, she and the other women overhear Pastor Murinzi talking to his... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...might be the only Tutsis still alive in the country. The other women cry, but Immaculée is filled with anger. She feels a desperate urge to destroy the whole country and... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée asks Pastor Murinzi to turn on the radio in his room so the women can... (full context)
Chapter 11: Struggling to Forgive
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée is praying with the rosary when the killers return to search the house. She always... (full context)
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... (full context)
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... (full context)
Chapter 12: No Friends to Turn To
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée retreats into prayer, and this becomes her sanctuary in the bathroom. She spends hours at... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée is in disbelief that Pastor Murinzi has been duped by the government’s propaganda campaigns. In... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Before Pastor Murinzi leaves, Immaculée asks if she can borrow a Bible, and he agrees. Immaculée worries that the pastor’s... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée begins to pray, but is interrupted by the sound of another woman’s voice. It is... (full context)
Chapter 13: A Gathering of Orphans
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Over a month has passed since Immaculée arrived in the bathroom. The killers keep coming back to Pastor Murinzi’s house, but they... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...Pastor Murinzi clearly considers the women to be “orphans” with no family left on Earth, Immaculée does not feel that way because of her connection with God. She spends 15-20 hours... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
That night, Immaculée sees Jesus in her sleep. He tells her that when she leaves the bathroom almost... (full context)
Chapter 14: The Gift of Tongues
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...clothes since their arrival and have thus developed an awful infestation of body lice. Nonetheless, Immaculée feels “beautiful” through her connection with God. She gets sick twice while in the bathroom,... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...even those who know French refuse to speak it. Suddenly, God puts an idea in Immaculée’s mind. She realizes that the RPF are going to win the war, that she will... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Flattered, Pastor Murinzi brings Immaculée the dictionary and the only two English books he has, and she immediately gets to... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
In June, Immaculée is reunited with the man she dated for two years in university, John. They’d fallen... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Late that night, John comes to see Immaculée in the bathroom and the two of them embrace tightly. John is shocked by how... (full context)
Chapter 15: Unlikely Saviors
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
In mid-June, Immaculée overhears Sembeba and his friends discussing a horrifying incident in which a mother was gang... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Later, Immaculée hears a radio report saying that the French plan to establish a camp at Lake... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée tells Pastor Murinzi that she thinks the women should try to reach a French camp,... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée explains that Pastor Murinzi worried the women had gone crazy, so in the middle of... (full context)
Chapter 16: Keeping the Faith
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée can hear the killers shouting her name, and realizes with horror that they know where... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée finds herself back in the bathroom, feeling newly calm and powerful. She shouts to the... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...they catch sight of themselves in the mirror in Pastor Murinzi’s bedroom, they are horrified. Immaculée’s weight has gone from 115 to 65 pounds. Pastor Murinzi brings his ten children to... (full context)
Chapter 17: The Pain of Freedom
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée is astonished by the feeling of being outside in the fresh air. Most of Pastor... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée and the other women shout for help, and a soldier approaches them suspiciously. Immaculée can... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
A man approaches Immaculée, and she soon recognizes him as her friend Jean Paul. He is accompanied by his... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée realizes that Jean Paul must know what happened to her family, and she braces herself... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Jean Paul then tells Immaculée that Rose was killed a few days before Leonard. He suspects that Laurent was one... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
A couple of hours before dawn, the French soldiers tell Immaculée and the others to climb into the back of a truck. When they reach a... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée realizes that they are at the schoolhouse where Rose used to teach, and is briefly... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
...killed in the genocide. Both Jeanne and Esperance lost almost all of their immediate family. Immaculée’s grandparents were killed, along with at least seven uncles. The women cry together. Esperance tells... (full context)
Chapter 18: A Letter from Damascene
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée opens Damascene’s letter and immediately recalls the many letters he sent while they were in... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...his family found out, they wanted Damascene dead. One of Bonn’s uncles was Buhoro, who Immaculée later learns was one of the most vicious Hutu extremists in Rwanda. Bonn helped Damascene... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...the street and asked about his “pretty sister.” Damascene replied that they would never find Immaculée because she is smarter than all of them. As the killers kept taunting Damascene, he... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée later learns that one of the killers who’d been present at Damascene’s murder, a former... (full context)
Chapter 19: Camp Comfort
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...the conditions, but compared to life in the bathroom, the camp is positively luxurious. Furthermore, Immaculée enjoys sleeping outside in nature. Sometimes Hutus assemble at the edges of the camp and... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
The captain disagrees with Immaculée, so she asks God to show him the importance of forgiveness. She is sure that... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
One of the survivors, Florence, tells Immaculée that she hid in a chapel with hundreds of other Tutsis, who were then attacked... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
One of the French soldiers, Pierre, becomes particularly fond of Immaculée. Pierre is kind, and asks if Immaculée has a boyfriend. She tells him the sad... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée is desperate to talk to Aimable, who is still in Senegal. By the end of... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...the camp is too full, so a new, indoor camp is established in Kibuye town. Immaculée ensures that the young orphans, as well as her family members, are taken to the... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Aloise recognizes Immaculée immediately because of her resemblance to her parents, and begins to cry as she recalls... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée thanks Aloise, but does not completely trust her. She says that she has grown close... (full context)
Chapter 20: The Road to the Rebels
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
In late August, the captain tells Immaculée that they have two hours to evacuate the camp and that the refugees will be... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
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... (full context)
Chapter 21: On to Kigali
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée stares at the Tutsi soldier pointing his gun at her and tells God that it... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée and Bazil immediately begin catching up, and when Bazil asks after Rose, he still calls... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée tries to cook food for the group but has to stop because she is sickened... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée and the others want to leave the camp for Aloise’s house in Kigali, but at... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
...baby Aloise tells him that she died from a fever. The two parents sob together; Immaculée is shocked, as she didn’t even know that Aloise had lost a child. Like his... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
...group works together to repair it and soon it is in a good state again. Immaculée is thrilled to sleep in a real bed for the first time since she fled... (full context)
Chapter 22: The Lord’s Work
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Kigali is so devastated that Immaculée finds it hard to believe she will find work. She asks Fari, who tells her... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
At the end of the day, Immaculée is told that there aren’t any jobs. Yet she remains determined, and returns to the... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée realizes that she will need her high school diploma and documentation demonstrating her university attendance,... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
...that the campus is “off limits indefinitely” and that she should go back to Kigali. Immaculée stands at the roadside and prays, holding Leonard’s rosary. Soon after, a colonel approaches her... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
The colonel grabs some of Immaculée’s letters and suspiciously demands: “Who’s Aimable?”. Immaculée explains that he is her brother, studying in... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
The next day Immaculée returns to the UN, where the guard does not even recognize her. She introduces herself... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
The next day, Mr. Mehu reveals that he mistook Immaculée for a young woman he was close to who had been killed in the genocide.... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée loves her job, meeting new people, and improving her English. She is also happy to... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Soon after, Immaculée’s university roommate, Sarah, arrives at Aloise’s house, weeping with joy to find Immaculée alive. Immaculée... (full context)
Chapter 23: Burying the Dead
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
At the UN, Immaculée is continually reminded of her trauma and sorrow. One day, a Senegalese officer named Colonel... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Aimable does not have enough money to visit Rwanda, but Immaculée assures him that he will honor their parents by completing his studies despite everything that... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Immaculée’s family home has been completely destroyed. Her few surviving Tutsi neighbors show her where Rose... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Eventually, Immaculée manages to pray to God to forgive the killers. She asks to help and forgive... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
The next day Immaculée visits Jeanne and Esperance, who are doing far better than when she last saw them.... (full context)
Chapter 24: Forgiving the Living
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Back in Kigali, Immaculée is still tormented by nightmares and sadness. One night, she has a dream that she... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Following this night, Immaculée’s pain eases, even as she continues to desperately miss her family. She feels assured that... (full context)
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
A friend of Leonard’s named Semana, who is “like an uncle” to Immaculée, is now the regional mayor in charge of Kibuye. He is responsible for arresting the... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
In the prison cell, Semana demands that Felicien explain to Immaculée why he killed her mother and brother. Felicien is bent over, wearing tattered clothing and... (full context)
Epilogue: New Love, New Life
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Over the next two years, Immaculée leads a “quiet, reflective life.” She works at the UN and lives with Sarah’s family,... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Immaculée spends many hours at her local Jesuit center in Kigali, and during her prayers she... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Immaculée and Bryan’s first date is wonderful, and she feels that they are a “perfect match.”... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée insists that the message of forgiveness is relevant to people the world over. Many people,... (full context)
God, Faith, and Miracles Theme Icon
Love vs. Prejudice Theme Icon
Forgiveness and Redemption Theme Icon
Good vs. Evil Theme Icon
Education, Discipline, and Growth Theme Icon
Immaculée explains that in Rwanda, killers are being released from prison and reintegrated into their communities.... (full context)