The Secret Miracle
by Jorge Luis Borges
The sergeant is the guy in charge of Jaromir's execution. What do we know about him? Well, not much. Just that he likes to be punctual. Just like Captain Rothe, the sergeant insists on sticking to a strict schedule when it comes to the execution of prisoners. While this may seem pretty impersonal, we do get some personality from him. He's the one who offers Jaromir a small gesture of kindness: he gives the prisoner a cigarette to help pass the time. Not a grand gesture, but it definitely humanizes him and makes it harder for us to think of the Nazi soldiers as Jaromir's flat-out enemies.