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Tension and suspense in "Chronicle of a Death Foretold" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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Tension and suspense in the novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Marquez subtly transforms a historical murder into a crime thriller in his novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold[1]. The very first line of the novel informs the reader about the murder, which prompts the reader to discover how and why the protagonist, Santiago Nasar will be murdered. Marquez appraises the foretold death but leaves it to the reader to explore a number of factors responsible for the death such as honour codes, the orthodox society or the laxity of the people that culminated into the death of the protagonist. Marquez weaves the story of Santiago?s murder with the gossamer of tension and suspense. His web successfully traps the reader as no one is ready to take the responsibility of the murder which had even been foretold. The greatest tension Marquez builds in this novel is by removing the element of suspense itself from the novel and thrusting the plot in a vein similar to a Greek tragedy. Marquez?s line, ?On the day they were going to kill him?(Marquez 1) is able to draw a parallel between his work and the Greek tragedies where the audience was lured by the theatre despite knowing the sum and substance of the tragic plot. ...read more.


Jeffry Lilburn says “what begins as an attempt to fill the gaps, to find out once and for all what really happened that dark and drizzly morning becomes instead a parody of any attempt to recapture and reconstruct the past”[4]. Furthermore no doubt the mind of the reader oscillates between the past and the present. The writer shows the superficial nature of the townsfolk, a closely-­â knit group of people who suffer from inertia and laxity when it comes to honour code. The reader does not understand the double standards of the society where women must have their hymen intact while men are allowed to relish the delinquent lives fornicating, “in the apostolic lap of Maria Alejandrina Cervantes”(Marquez 3). There seems to be too much hue and cry on virginity with reference to Angela in the novel. The reader does not reconcile himself as to what is responsible behind such canons: is it the influence of the Spanish culture on the Latin American one or the primal instincts of ancient people. However, it appears that the society is firm on the issues of honour and virginity. The reader is further confused when Angela is convinced that she has slept with Bayardo and lost her virginity for the first time. ...read more.


For instance through the alliteration in the line ?hallucination, holding his hanging intestines in his hands?(Marquez 121) the reader is confused to decipher the implication of this poetic technique incorporated into prose. Further his words, constituting a hyperbole, ?all his intestines exploded out?(Marquez 121) petrify the reader. The metaphor of ?mirror of memory?(Marquez 5) suggests that the truth will never be uncovered and the importance of the event has faded. The phrase ?scattered shards?(Marquez 5) infers there is danger in the search. Overall, it looks that the narrator?s quest for the truth will be hindered by the lapse in time. And this is the dexterity of the Marquez that even now the reader cannot decide who to blame for the murder of Santiago: the honour code, the collective society, the Spanish culture or man?s protective and possessive attitude toward women. According to the critique Williams ?Contrary to what has been announced in the title, the novel is not a Chronicle: the narrative situation in effect subverts any historical pretension underlying the literariness of the verbal construction?[5]. Thus what begins as a quest for the reader ends up being chaos for him. The story does not seem to be a chronicle as the title seems to claim. Marquez fills the path of the reader with tension and suspense at every turn through his style, genre and structure. ...read more.

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