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The Role and Significance of the Cult of Virginity as a Reflection of the Hypocrisy in Society, in Gabriel Garcia Marquezs "Chronicle of a Death Foretold"

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Introduction

Essay Topic: The Role and Significance of the Cult of Virginity as a reflection of the hypocrisy in society, in Gabriel Garcia Marquez?s Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Word Count: 1598 Gabriel Garcia Marquez?s evocative novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, is remarkable in that it not only portrays the impact of one man?s death in a small town in Columbia but also makes the reader ponder over the prevailing cults in Latin America such as the cult of virginity and the cult of machismo. Marquez uses the prominence of the Cult of Virginity to reflect the hypocrisy found in a society, and does so by heightening the expectations of an ideal woman, questioning what defines a victim in society and evoking the weaknesses within this Cult of Virginity. Hypocrisy, in this context means the contrast in the treatment of women versus the treatment of men. Marquez reflects on the double standards prevailing in the Columbian society through various literary devices such as style, language and imagery. Marquez highlights the importance of the Cult of Virginity in the 1980?s Columbian society where most of the people were Catholic Christians. The Cult is an amalgamation of the beliefs of the people in the Columbian town, where they deem that honor is gained from chastity before marriage. ...read more.

Middle

It appears that the Columbian society is a culture founded on the pillars of religious hypocrisy and machismo, and that the cult of virginity is nothing but a sham that allows men to have ?first hand women? in order to satiate their lust. The Cult of Virginity far from endowing the women with a right to equality plays a role in classifying the ideal woman- the woman represented by Angela. Marquez portrays the Vicario daughters as a perfect example of what is the role of women in a society. ?The girls had been reared to get married?, and ?they knew how to do screen embroidery?announcements.? the word ?reared? as translated by Rabassa gives an animal connotation- a foreboding that the girls have to follow a code of conduct and a type cast role in order to survive in this unjust and hypocritical society. In the case of Angela, the fact that she was born with ?the umbilical cord wrapped around her neck?[5] foreshadows her woebegone future. It is not much later in the story that she plays the role of ?the rejected wife? for the rest of her life. Her mother Purisima Vicario makes sure that her daughters ?were raised to suffer? and devoted their lives in the ?spirit of sacrifice.?[6] The word ?sacrifice? reflects the fact that a woman has to sacrifice all her desires and happiness at the altar of the male hypocrisy. ...read more.

Conclusion

By creating the image of Christ at the event of Santiago?s death, Marquez further probes into the misconception and hypocrisy prevailing in this society when the word of a woman is considered decisive, and Santiago is butchered without being offered a fair trial. Marquez is successful in making the reader ponder over the status of women today in rural towns of Columbia. His purpose seems to be enlightening the readers with what is happening around even at the threshold of the 21st century. Through this Nobel Prize winning novel Marquez describes a hypocritical society where man made laws, such as honour and reputation, are held superior to the divine laws. Did the Vicario brothers not wish that someone had informed Santiago about their plans to murder him? Marquez describes the deplorable conditions that exist in a society based on hypocrisy and injustice. The novel is a blatant attack on the superimposed cult of virginity in which men so pride themselves. And no doubt a culture that forbids the right to freedom and sexuality to its inhabitants will always swallow, literally or figuratively, the lives of Santiago, Angela and Bayardo. Had there been no such cultural expectations imposed on the women, the town would not have had to be guilty of collective responsibilty toward the violation of a woman. ...read more.

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