• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

THERE HAD NEVER BEEN A DEATH MORE FORETOLD: The Value of Honour in Latin American Culture

Extracts from this document...


Atupele Ndisale IB English A1 February 2, 2009 "THERE HAD NEVER BEEN A DEATH MORE FORETOLD": The Value of Honour in Latin American Culture "The brothers were brought up to be men. The girls were brought up to be married" (p. 30). Honour is an aspect of life that has always been greatly valued in Latin American society or culture. For men, honour is simply acquired or shown through three main things; courage, assertiveness (strength), and authority, particularly over women. On the other hand, for women, honour simply lies in the question of whether or not they had been involved in a sexual relationship outside or before a marriage. The males of the society are expected to protect and defend this honour and any failure to do so doesn't only result in the diminishment of the women's honour, subjecting her to ridicule, but that of their own. This importance or value of honour in Latin American society or culture is one of the main issues that Gabriel Garc�a M�rquez manages to cover in his short novel, entitled Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Through his use of several narrative techniques, characters, and motifs in the novel, the degree to which honour is valued in a small Columbian town is made clearly apparent, allowing the reader to become that much more acquainted with Latin American culture. ...read more.


As stated by the unknown narrator early in the novel, "the brothers were brought up to be men. The girls were brought up to be married. They knew how to do screen embroidery, sew by machine, weave bone lace, wash and iron, make artificial flowers and fancy candy, and write engagement announcements...[my mother] thought there were no better-reared daughters (Poncio Vicario's daughters). 'They're perfect,' she was frequently heard to say. 'Any man will be happy with them because they've been raised to suffer" (p. 30). Therefore, women are essentially powerless in this town, while men are born with/hold the key to all the control and authority. For instance, while men are expected and allowed to pursue a career, similar to Angela's father, or decide on whom they want to marry, similar to Bayardo San Roman, women are simply expected and allowed to do one general thing - get married and have children. They usually don't even have any say in who they marry, similar to Angela's mother, which explains why "they've been raised to suffer", and their only job or chores are those of the household. Drinking alcohol and visiting the local house of prostitution, both considered as mundane acts among men, would be considered highly dishonorable among/for women. ...read more.


For instance, we're told early in the novel that "[he] put on shirt and pants of white linen, both items unstarched, just like the ones he's put on the day before for the wedding" (p. 3). The key word from the passage is 'white', giving us (others) the impression that Santiago is clean and pure. This, however, serves as a contradiction to the impression that we're given towards the end of the second chapter of the novel -Santiago's condemnation. In addition, the use of clothing as a device and it's relevance to the importance of honour also relates greatly to the Vicario twins. Towards the end of the novel, we're informed that "the knife [the twins were using to kill Santiago] kept coming out clean", implying that their clothes were left pure and clean from the attack (p. 119). This notion of still being clean regardless of the commitment of a bloody and gruesome crime reflects on the community's attitude towards the incident - "it was a matter of honor", justifying the murder; therefore, deeming the Vicario twins innocent (p. 49). For that reason, through the use of such narrative techniques as jumbled chronology, as well as such devices as clothing, Marquez manages to further and more interestingly portray/put together the motifs (revenge and the position of women and men), which depict the degree to which honour is valued the small Columbian town - in Latin American culture. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our International Baccalaureate World Literature section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related International Baccalaureate World Literature essays

  1. Cult of Machismo in Chronicle of a Death Foretold

    honour are better left to those involved; even the jury in the Vicario twins' case find them innocent, because they killed Santiago to win back Angela's honour. The fact that death was considered a reasonable retribution for the crime of taking a girl's virginity indicates how awful it was to

  2. The Significance of Names in the Plots of Chronicle of a Death Foretold and ...

    Nearly every event in the story revolves around her writings, which are then read by Alba to form the major portion of the novel. She is also "famous" in the novel because her gift to communicate with the dead. By this ability, she often attracts multitudes of people.

  1. The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Drowned ...

    things they never thought before like the drowned giant will be such as "thinking that for all their lives theirs were incapable of doing what he could do in one night", as they compared their husbands with the drowned giant.

  2. How does Showboat raise issues of race in American culture and bring serious issues ...

    However, the major difference was for the first time black characters where given individuality, emotions and meaning. Using songs such as 'Ol'Man River' sung by Joe one of the stevedores. This song sympathized with the character and his situation. It symbolizes how the black characters were often of less importance than the leading white characters.

  1. The significance of virginity in Chronicle of a Death Foretold as a ...

    Marquez uses short sentences to show the pauses in the flow of Placida?s ideas. She knows the routine affair of the Bishop but she too does not understand why he behaves so. The honor codes have a predominant role in the Columbian culture.

  2. The role of honour and religion in the novella, The Chronicles of Death Foretold ...

    Marquez lashes upon the absurdity of the societal and cultural aspects of the town when he says that most of the men would sleep in glory in ?the apostolic lap of Alejendrina Maria Cervantes.? Interestingly the people of the town do not know the meaning of honor even.

  1. The social environment as presented by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Chronicle of a ...

    The carnage of Santiago Nasar initiated by the Vicario brothers and the severe fury directed at Angela by her mother on finding out the truth about her daughters depravity indicates how Angela had a duty towards her family to remain unsullied until marriage.

  2. To what extent was President Richard Nixon responsible in the Watergate scandal in 1972-1974?

    Ted Kennedy.[19] Nixon being the president of the United States Of America could have controlled the media and its reporting but he didn?t, this can be inferred from the fact that both the new York times and also the Washington Post were reporting whatever they found out through their own

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work