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The Broken Ear: Explanation of plot

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snowybella
Member
#41 · Posted: 9 Sep 2018 02:47 · Edited by: snowybella
mct16

I think that's the best explanation of the plot that I've ever seen, so yes, I think that will clear things up for everybody.
Shivam302001
Member
#42 · Posted: 9 Sep 2018 20:51 · Edited by: Shivam302001
Here is my theory regarding the Balthazar episode:

Tortilla approaches Balthazar to make a replica of the stolen fetish. Balthazar, eager to gain some additional money, sits down to complete his task when his trained eyes notice that the fetish has a broken ear. Balthazar naturally comes to the the conclusion that he must have broken it while handling it. Using his talent to the full, he makes two replicas of the fetish albeit what he believes to be its original form (with 2 unbroken ears). He keeps the original one in his suitcase on whose future he would decide later. He hands the replicas to Tortilla who apparently had more things to worry about than notice the ears of the fetishes.

Personally I believe he would have taken a great risk if he had purposefully decided to keep the original one to himself and sculpted 2 incorrect replicas for the owner. And it hardly sounds like a sculptor. On the other hand, trying to keep a replica for himself sounds equally implausible. I mean if you give a sculptor a statue to make a replica of, it becomes quite hard to believe he would go through the pains of making and keeping a replica for himself especially in this case, since Balthazar hardly knew anything about the worth or demand of that not too attractive fetish. His brother ,on the other hand, believed the fetish to be his brother's creation and hence did not see any wrong in manufacturing it.
mct16
Member
#43 · Posted: 9 Sep 2018 22:49 · Edited by: mct16
Shivam302001:
Balthazar... trying to keep a replica for himself sounds equally implausible.

Not really. As a sculptor, he would have recognised the fetish as an old work of some South American native and asserted that it was genuine.

As I mention above, Balthazar makes two copies: one to fool the museum and the police, and the other to fool Tortilla.

He would have known wealthy collectors who would have paid a lot of money to have the original fetish. After all, that is what his brother does when he finds the fetish, apparently unaware of the fact that it was stolen property.
Shivam302001
Member
#44 · Posted: 10 Sep 2018 03:55 · Edited by: Shivam302001
Since nothing about this episode has been properly verified in the book, almost anything could have happened. I see your reasoning of thought and there is no doubt it is equally possible. However, I find it hard to believe that a recognised trained sculptor like Balthazar,who would have carefully inspected the fetish for the replica and in your case the counterfeits, would miss the broken ear. Logically, if I believe your chain of reasoning to be true then it must have given him added incentive to carefully and minutely observe and sculpt the replicas to avoid charges of theft (and in which case he would not have missed the broken ear). You can see that his brother had noticed the broken ear so why could'nt Mr Balthazar have spotted it too?
mct16
Member
#45 · Posted: 10 Sep 2018 15:20
There can be a number of reasons, but one I favour is this:

It is a common theme in fiction to feature rich collectors who buy valuable works of art on the black market if only for the pleasure of owning the items even if they cannot show them off to anyone else. This is probably what Balthazar intended to do.

The unbroken ears on the fake fetishes would have been a way of telling the genuine from the fake, and the way for Balthazar to convince the buyer that his is the genuine fetish.
Shivam302001
Member
#46 · Posted: 10 Sep 2018 16:39
mct16
Yes, I understand what you mean to say. But then, don't you think Balthazar would have taken a great risk in Tortilla finding out about what he had given him was a fake? After all, he did not know whether Tortilla would notice the ear of the fetish or not. It would have been pretty risky.
mct16
Member
#47 · Posted: 10 Sep 2018 23:40
Risky yes, but he may have thought it was a risk worth taking. The fact that Tortilla takes the fake with him to South America shows that he did not notice the forgery.

Balthazar's real risk was working for such a man in the first place, a man who had no qualms about killing him in order to cover his tracks.
snowybella
Member
#48 · Posted: 11 Sep 2018 00:50 · Edited by: snowybella
Shivam302001:
You can see that his brother had noticed the broken ear so why could'nt Mr Balthazar have spotted it too?

Thinking over it, Mr. Balthazar (the sculptor) might have thought that Tortilla wanted a copy in "perfect" (e.g. without the broken ear) condition and didn't break the ear, while his brother, being a factory owner, would naturally wanted to copy it exactly, and sell it off as genuine replicas.

Also, since I can't edit post 42 anymore, I'll correct the point about who Ramon and Alonzo support - since all of the soldiers, generals, etc. switch sides in the "execution" scene whenever they think Tapioca or Alcazar is ruling, it only depends on the ruler.
Shivam302001
Member
#49 · Posted: 11 Sep 2018 03:53 · Edited by: Shivam302001
Exactly! I also think it happened like what snowybella conjectures (see post 42). Anyway, since nothing has been set in stone, it would and should vary from person to person based on their different outlooks and in one way, is a good thing. Nobody's theory can be wrong because nobody can be perfectly right either.
; )

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