The social environment as presented by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Chronicle of a Death Foretold

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World Literature Assignment 2

Word Count : 1475 words

The social environment as presented by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’

 ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’ does not merely chronicle the history of the events that led to the untimely death of the protagonist Santiago Nasar ,but also chronicles the social environment in which this event occurred. In the narrative the author Gabriel Garcia Marquez, narrates through this travesty of events the social environment that prevailed in Colombia during those times. Marquez uses the cultural setting and the values adhered in Colombia as a justification for the murder of Santiago Nasar. However it is required to understand the social environment prevailing in Colombia at that time in order to understand the reasons and the manner of the killing of Santiago Nasar.

The title of the novel itself suggests that Nasar’s death was inevitable and pre-planned-his murder was considered to be a matter of the Latino cultural code of honor-to be an ‘honor killing’. It is commonly believed that the reason why honor is considered a driving force in a person’s life is because it determines how the rest of the society judges that person’s honesty, sincerity and integrity. Angela Vicario’s claim of losing her virginity to Santiago Nasar resulted in an endless pursuit by her brothers, as was expected by their society to regain their family honor. This act of pre-marital sex was seen as a disgrace to the Vicario family and her brothers-Pedro and Pablo Vicario felt that the only way to regain their family’s honor and pride was Nasar’s death. Therefore, in a way Marquez paints a picture of Colombian society where societal values were considered more integral than the inherent goodness of man…”Before God and before men, it was a matter of honor”. Marquez has depicted that the entire town was aware of the clandestine plan being plotted behind the scenes which portrays a society where everyone is fervent to talk about the murder to each other, but no one proposes to discuss it with the murderer. ‘Most of the townspeople consoled themselves with the pretext that affairs of honor are sacred monopolies.’ They felt the quarrel was better left to those involved directly. The narrator found countless moments in which the right word or the right action could have stopped the murder from taking place. Therefore in a way Marquez puts the responsibility of Nasar’s death on each and every individual in the town who was reluctant to take any action but at the same time he never holds an inquiry over the basis of the murder. This shows how honor killings were acceptable in the society and taking someone’s life unlawfully due to premeditated malice was not objected to. Marquez also shows a lack of individualization and personal perspectives within the people, rather the communal morals dominated the chain of events in town.

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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. As a part of her duty towards her family she was obliged to marry Bayardo because he was affluent and moneyed, even though she did not love him. In the same vein, Pedro also sets off for war to earn money for his family while Pablo remains at home to take care of his parents. This shows ...

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