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Chronicle of a Death Foretold. How does Marquezs use of labels reflect the cultural beliefs about women in society?

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Introduction

How does Marquez?s use of labels reflect the cultural beliefs about women in society? The Colombian society in Marquez?s ?Chronicle of a Death Foretold? is a predominant character throughout the story; it is the alpha in the novel as it calls all the shots for the people who live in the town. The most distinctive role of society is that of creating labels. Labels are created through memories and actions that the society thinks ?defines? an individual. The tags are used interchangeably with names, which is how an individual is remembered. The smallness of the town ensures that no memory of a person is ever forgotten but only tainted further. Labels are dissected according to the society?s cultural beliefs. Labels reflect the gender expectations imposed by society as demonstrated by Angela Vicario and Bayardo San Roman. Labels mirror the status and role of women in society like that of the cook, the prostitute and the nuns. They also make us question who the ?victim? is. Society is constructed out of a narrow-minded group of ?traditional? thinkers who take upon themselves the right to set the parameters of social behaviour, beliefs and norms. ...read more.

Middle

Purisima del Carmen ?Love can be learnt.?[3]9 The fortune and the social status of a man is what counts in this society. Under these circumstances, no doubt, Angela bears the tag ?married forever?[4]1. The word ?forever? has a sense of foreboding; it gives a sense that the woman is trapped in the shackles of the society until her end. The honor code and the cult of virginity engulf the woman in such a vicious circle that even after Angela is deserted by Bayardo, she will have no suitor for her as she bears another label: deserted and forsaken. M Marquez draws the attention of the reader to the prevailing misconception in the society that the character of a woman is the true reflection of her inner self. The status of a woman is no different from ?a butterfly with no will?[5]10. The simile reflects her beauty as well as her fragility and defenselessness in society. Marquez gives us an insight into this evil society through his art of characterization also. Each character bears a label in the society, and no wonder the label a woman bears is a reflection of her social standing. ...read more.

Conclusion

Women are further categorized according to age. Elderly women have differentiated adjectives as compared to the girls in their youth. Santiago?s mother, Placida Linero is described as ?solitary?[9]2, suggesting that even though she?s married she?s alone. Purisima del Carmen, Angela?s mother is described as ?sacrificial?[10]8 which can be linked to being married forever. Angela on the other hand is described as ?the beautiful girl?[11]3 while Divina Flor is described to be ?coming into bloom?[12]4 and ?untamed?[13]4. It is noteworthy that Angela being of a higher socio-class than Divina is described as graceful and attractive whereas the ?servant girl? is depicted as a sex object. The diction associated with each label and age reflects socio- cultural beliefs about women- younger women are coveted and sexually appealing but older and married women are portrayed as undesirable. Marquez through the use of labels reflects society?s prejudiced cultural beliefs about women. They are objects that must bear labels such as old or young, desirable or undesirable and pure or corrupted. A woman leads her life trapped in a vicious circle imposed on her by men, and if she dares to give a voice to her identity and sexuality, she is indubitably going to be called ?damaged goods. ...read more.

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