Death, Violence, Identity Crisis And Discrimination In Chronicle Of A Death Foretold
Latin America became existent in the 19th century. The region consists of Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina, Peru, Venezuela, Chile, Guatemala, etc.… (Sawe 2016). Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born on March 6th, 1927 in Aracatuba, Colombia and died on April 17th, 2014 in Mexico City. Marquez is considered one of the greatest Colombian novelists of the 20th century (Echevarria 2019). While Julia Alverez who was born March 27th, 1950 in New York city was raised in the Dominican Republic. However, she and her family had to relocate to Brooklyn, New York because of the threat against their lives by Rafael Trujillo (Biography 2019). In “Chronicle of a death foretold” Gabriel Marquez wrote his novella in reverse chronological order. He begins the novella with the death of the protagonist Santiago Nasar and then the cause of his is slowly revealed (Marquez 1981). Marquez also wrote a short story entitled “Death Constant beyond love” which is also written in reverse chronological order(Marquez 1970) In comparison to Gabriel Marquez’s novella “Chronicle of a death foretold” and “Death constant beyond love”, Julia Alvarez’s book (1991)“How the Garcia girls lost their Accents” share a similar writing style. In “How the Garcia girls lost their Accents” the book starts when Yo visits the Dominican Republic after being away for years. Things have certainly changed for the family and their appearance and personality change (pg 1). Though there are similarities between Gabriel Marques and Julia Alvarez’s writing styles such as Magical realism, the use of imagery, symbols, etc.… Julia Alvarez’s stories focus more on the crisis of identity and Discrimination, while Gabriel Marquez conveys themes such as death and violence.
In Gabriel Marquez’s novella “Chronicle of a death foretold” violence in the center. Santiago Nasar is at the cruel faith of the Vicario twins. Death and Violence are seen in the very first paragraph of the story. “on the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on.” (pg. 1). The reader knows that Santiago is going to die but doesn’t know how or why. Another part of the story that depicts violence is when Santiago sexually harasses Divina flor. She states in an interview done by the investigator: “It was what he always did when he caught me alone in some corner of the house, but that day I didn’t feel the usual surprise but an awful urge to cry.” (pg. 4). Although Santiago didn’t deserve such a violent death, he wasn’t a good person. When the Vicario family learned that Angela wasn’t a virgin her mother, Purisima del Carmen punished her mercilessly. (pg. 16). The Vicario family was very religious and superstitious, Angela causes embarrassment to fall upon the entire family. Seemingly there was no other way to redeem the honor of the family. The Vicario twins felt that the only way they would have to avenge their family was by killing the man who was responsible for the action. Unfortunately, Santiago Nasar was the one who Angela accused. (pg. 16).
“Death Constant beyond Love” is another story by Gabriel Marques that portrays death as a prominent subject. This short story begins like “Chronicle of a death foretold”. It starts by informing the reader that the senator Onésimo Sánchez will die in six months and eleven days. The only difference between Santiago and Senator Onesimo is that the senator knows that he is going to die in six months and eleven days. “He was married to a radiant German woman who had given him five children and they were all happy in their home, he the happiest of all until they told him, three months before, that he would be dead forever by next Christmas.”(pg. 200) Although the senator knew that he was going to die he couldn’t stop his fate. Death completely changed the perspective of the senator. He no longer felt sorry for the poor because in his mind he was the one that ran out of luck (pg. 201). When Laura was sent by her father Nelson Farina to lay with the senator in exchange for immunity. This time the senator approved by thinking to himself: “Remember, he remembered, whether it’s you or someone else, it won’t be long before you’ll be dead and it won’t be long before your name won’t even be left.” Because of death, the senator decided that dignity is for people that have everything to lose. Since he was six months and eleven days away from his inevitable fate, he got involved with an eighteen-year-old girl which was against the rules. In the end, it disgraced Laura and her family (pg. 206).
Julia Alvarez mainly focuses on identity and racism. In the novel “How the Garcia Girls lost their accents” Julia Alvarez writes her stories in reverse chronological order. She begins the story with Yolanda who has returned to the island after five years (pg. 1). Throughout the story, these four girls struggle to develop an identity. Because they were immigrants they wanted to fit into the American culture. According to Luis (2000) “Like Yolanda, many immigrant children become extremely confused in the process of finding their own identities. Yolanda implies that she wanted to be like the American teens who smoked, had sex and drank (Alvarez 1991). Yolanda wanted to fit into the American society which resulted in a mental break down. Sandi one of the daughters also had dreams to be a rich American like Mr. and Mrs. Fanning (Alvarez 1991) Alvarez uses these characters to exemplify the unhomeliness immigrants like herself may face when adapting to a dominant culture such as the American culture.
Discrimination is also a problem that the Garcia girls must cope with when they arrive in America. According to Alyson Cavaughn (2018) “Adolescents’ Latino cultural assets also protected against higher levels externalizing symptoms in the context of high peer discrimination and foreigner objectification.” In the novel Carla the eldest girl was discriminated in her public school that she attended. “Out of the sight of the nuns, the boys pelted Carla with stones, aiming them at her feet so there would be no bruises. “Go back to where you came from, you dirty spic!” (pg. 152). According to Herrera and Murry (2005), these are some of the challenges foreign cultures face when moving from one culture to the next. (pg. 3). Carla also mentions that her neighbor who they secretly called “La Bruja” would make disrespectful remarks to her and her family while passing in the lobby (Alvarez 1991). These girls had no peace and a sense of belonging in America. Every day was a struggle to fit into this new society.
Throughout each of these books, we see death, violence, identity crisis and discrimination and the basis of racism. Although each of these authors is for within the same region and share similar writing styles, their visions are different. Marquez reveals violence and death in his stories, while Alvarez is more focused on some of the issues that are faced when immigrating to another country, such as identity lost and racial discrimination. Each of these authors seems to have a specific aim/vision within their writing criteria.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez tells the story of a gruesome murder in a small town of Sucre, Colombia. The murder victim was an attractive, wealthy, half Arab man by the name of Santiago Nasar. Marquez modeled the character after his own godbrother Cayetano Gentile who was described as the “ tall, elegant, and good-looking” son of successful Italian immigrants. The murder of Cayetano served as the skeleton of the murder of Santiago as they echoed...
For one, I previously failed to understand what motivated the twins to be vigilantes and disregard the justice system. Deciding to kill Santiago Nasar seemed not only extreme but quite ridiculous if only to restore the idea of “honor” to their family. However, it was during class discussion, when a student revealed that such concepts and societal expectations had a long history within 1950’s Columbia and were very important to the culture. The community, who are rather conservative, idealize traditional...
Throughout Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Garcia Marquez symbolizes Santiago Nasar as a Christlike figure by utilizing numerous parallels with the physical and moral characteristics of Jesus Christ. While the shared themes of fate, sin, and honor are chronicled within both Marquez’s novel and The Bible, Marquez underlies his narrative with subliminal allusions between Santiago and Jesus Christ to provide commentary on cultural traditions and social order in Latin-American and Biblical societies. In his writing, Marquez draws upon these...
The novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Marquez is set in a Hispanic town in Columbia during the 20th century. Santiago Nasar’s murder is conducted by the Vicario twins after their sister Angela Vicario pinpointed Santiago as the man who took her virginity before her marriage. Imagery such as predator and prey and surreal imagery evokes a pejorative stab at the inhumanity that accepts the honour-seeking in a society where male privilege and obligations of machismo are normalised....
Again, Garcia Marquez employs realistic fiction as his journalistic style in order to produce a seemingly more authentic and credible work. In the Colombian culture, it is believed that of the virginity every woman is of utmost importance as such every woman should ensure that she keeps herself until marriage. Based upon a real life tragedy, the novel seeks to ‘chronicle’ a murder committed twenty-seven years ago. This is evident in the novel, after a dignified wedding party, Bayardo San...
Motives are the driving force of any human, and these motives persist to develop under circumstantial stress. Magical realism novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Marcia Marquez takes this notion into account throughout the plot development of the story. It is made obvious to the reader that certain motives are developed largely due to the circumstances the characters are faced with resulting in creation of a conflict but not a resolution. For example, with respect to the townspeople,...
Through the utilization of the repetition of honour, the situational irony of love, and the stereotypes of gender roles in society—that men are dominant while women are seen as weak and submissive—Marquéz unveils the global issue of gender inequality and it’s correlation with honour in a society (the machismo and marianismo roles of men and women respectively and its connection to one’s honour in a society). In the town, there is the concept of machismo, as men are expected to...
Culture is so powerful that it has the ability to push us around, influence our decisions, control our likes and dislikes, and so much more and many times we don’t even recognize it. It is embedded deep in the brains of the members of society, from upbringing, experiences, and other surrounding peers. But how susceptible are you to engage in physical violence, such as punches, kicking, hitting, and how does that connect back to our cultural mindset which often tends...
‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ is amusing to its name in light of the fact that the historical backdrop of the occasions that prompted the murder of Santiago Nasar and furthermore chronicles the social surroundings where the occasion occurred. In the novel, the author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, reports through the depravity of the events that prevailed in Colombia during that time. Marquez utilizes the social foundation and morals as a clarification for the murder of Santiago Nasar. Along these lines,...
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