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The Role Of Religion In Chronicles Of Death Foretold

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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 Roman returns Angela Vicario (the bride) to her parents because she is not a virgin. This arouse a furious fight between the Vicario brothers and Santiago who is allegedly the victim of deflowering Angela.

The use of the five W’s (What, Who, where, when, why), are interrogative words that journalists use to gather information which helps in informing the readers of what is to happen in the future, for instance when Santiago is going to die? where it is going to happen? who is going to kill him? Marquez use of these five “W’s” is the backbone of the novel as he effectively answers the questions the narrator asks in the novel without directly asking that these were the answers he seeks. The opening sentence, ‘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’ (Marquez, 169) answers many of the ‘five W’s.’ From the very beginning, we are made to know the “who” which is the identity of the victim, Nasar (and shortly thereafter the identity of his murderers), the where, the when, and what transpired. The opening sentence and subsequently the whole novel cannot answer why, or under what circumstances a murder could have happened in broad daylight. This invoked the reader’s curiosity and suspense to read further to find out why Santiago went through that pain and disgrace.

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Moreover, Marquez uses conflict between religion and culture in the development of the novel. The Religion practiced in the novel is Christianity and 70% of Colombian population are Catholics. Marquez is born and raised Catholic. According to the Catholic, culture in Colonial Latin America, morals and values were impacted by religion. It offers women lots of rights while the society do not follow this practice. Catholicism also stresses upon how a woman’s virginity is sacred and must be persevered for marriage. Marquez later in his life became an atheist due to the conflict between religious beliefs and cultural beliefs in the country. His refusal to accept the way of life is employed in the development of the novel as it brings up the theme Virginity as a god, in the Colombian culture a woman’s virginity is not something to be joked with, it is of high value to both the women and their respective families and as reflected in the novel, Angela Vicario losing her virginity before marriage and had to fake it on her day of marriage, “douche of alum water to fake virginity” (Marquez, 90), when this was discovered she was said to have brought dishonor to the Vicario family.

Again, in the novel, Angela is a prominent example; when her husband San Roman discovered that she was not a virgin, he returned her to her family and this caused his brothers in venturing to murder Santiago. Again, religion negatively shapes the novel’s culture as some characters depended upon ancient communal values of justifying one’s honor and raising saint-like daughters rather than adapting to the changing societal values. (Marquez, 31). Gracias religious life stresses on honor and this affected the development of the novel as it is used to justify some characters’ irrational actions. The Vicario brothers killed Santiago all in the name of honor.

Furthermore, the Catholicism has deep roots within Colombian society. Prior to 1991 reform, there was little discernment between church and state Catholic beliefs such as the emphasis on chastity plays a major role in the development of the novel. The church believes that every individual should be treated equally and fairly regardless of the sex of the person. Unfortunately, the Colombian society believe the opposite of this as they place more respect on machismo which is linked to pride and honour. Machismo is central theme of in the society within the novel reflects Marquez’s own society; Hispanic culture has been for the most part male dominated. Machismo emphasizes the dominance of males in both social and familial roles. Since the society is male dominated, more opportunities are given to the males than the women as to the role their play in the society. Pre-marital sex was taboo for women, but was a widely encouraged act for men. This is evident in the novel when Santiago was referred to as a “pig” (Marquez, 69) because he was sleeping around with women. He flirts around with Divina Flor but with respect to herself, she rejected his advances. (Marquez, 13). For the sake of the pride of Angela who could not have the power and strength to fight for herself because she is woman, her brothers adventured and killed Santiago.

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