An incredibly important theme that arises in this chapter is the interaction of representation and real life. In his hometown, the priest realizes that he, like Padre Jose, bears the burden of representing the priesthood itself to people who will have no other encounter with clergymen in their lives. Maria says to him, " suppose you die. You'll be a martyr, won't you? What kind of martyr do you think you'll make? It's enough to make people mock.'" Our protagonist is no longer just "a" priest, he is "the" priest in this area and his actions and example have far more significance as a result. He himself becomes acutely aware of his own significance in this chapter, both because he learns that the lieutenant has begun to take hostages based on his movements and because Maria introduces the term "martyr."
The theme of representation in reality thickens with the priest's encounter with the lieutenant. The priest's hands, which should give him away, have become as weather-beaten and calloused as any other person's. This is a very obvious indication that the stereotypical notion of what a priest should be does not always hold true. The priest has been transformed through the persecution he has undergone. Fittingly, another one of the novel's most important themes is the idea that adversity and suffering are necessary to a person's moral and spiritual development.
The contrast between the priest and the lieutenant deepens in this chapter. The priest is unsure of what he is to do next. Unlike the lieutenant, who moves with uncompromising vigor across the landscape, the priest has trouble deciding