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The Black Heralds

The Black Heralds


by César Vallejo

Religious Symbols

Symbol Analysis

Starting with the title, the poem sets us off with a bunch of symbols from the Christian religion. However, they seem to be a desperate, disappointed reaction to an unyielding world that just doesn't give a guy a break. Usually, you might expect religion to be a source of comfort, but in this case it's another switcheroo. Tricky, César. Very tricky. All of the symbols come from the New Testament, which gives them a firmly Christian foundation.

  • Lines 8: One interpretation of the "black heralds" is that they are the four horsemen of the apocalypse, figures that comes from the last book of the Bible (Revelations) and that represent the unleashing of the final judgment on the earth. Be warned! 
  • Line 9: In this line, the "fallen Christs" could be figurative, representing anything we worship or have faith in but that then falls or lets us down. It could also be a reference to the story that Jesus fell three times while carrying his cross, which comes from the Catholic tradition.
  • Lines 11-12: The bloodstained blows (again, ew) remind us of Christ's passion, or his walk to his death. The bread, too, reminds us of his last supper, where he shared bread with his disciples and told them that it represented his broken body.

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