how does it help keep unity in the story
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The Old Man is washing one of the soldiers when a "blustery and stupid soldier"throws a carton of milk at him. It cuts the old milk and sprays it everywhere. The old man licks the milk, smiles, and continues washing the soldier. On one level he represents the disrespect some soldiers had for the indigenous population. On a deeper level, the old man seems a Christ-like figure who wishes to help these soldiers despite their ignorance and hate; note the whole Christ washing of feet motif. Various Biblical motifs can be seen throughout the story adding unity to the meanings of another motif, the struggle between life and life death.