Tradition in Chronicle of A Death foretold

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HONOR CODES AND TRADITION

Condemnation

(Journal Entry 3)

Although a relatively short novel in length, Gabriel Garcia Marquez crafted his Chronicle of a Death Foretold to be a complex portrait of a small Latin American village. Honor codes and tradition assume a major role in the chain of events in Santiago Nasar’s death. The novel can be read as a narrative involving the sins caused by outdated beliefs or as a sorrowful regret following such a brutal murder. However, the main concern is how an entire town allows a murder to transpire even though it is publicly announced and opportunity is given to prevent it. The blame of the gruesome murder can be put on the hypocritical honor codes.

Throughout the novel, each person in the village is given a chance to prevent the murder; still little is done to stand in the way of the “perpetrator” of the crime. It is tradition for women to remain virtuous until married. Failure to do so results in contempt of society and dishonor. Hypocrisy in this practice is seen by the actions of the men of the town. They are allowed to be immoral and to visit prostitutes. As an example, the town whore is portrayed by the narrator as “she who did away with [his] generation’s virginity” (Marquez 74). Ironically, even though she is a prostitute, she is the only woman who seems to escape the binds of tradition and conformity.

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In reality, Santiago Nasar is definitely immoral himself, “nipping the bud of any wayward virgin” (Marquez 104). This leads to the town’s acceptance of the Angela Vicario naming him to be the one who deflowered her and subsequently dishonored her family’s name. Outdated beliefs are so embedded in the town’s traditions that the murderers, Pablo and Pedro Vicario, are eventually released after spending only three years in prison. The author comments on the irony of the situation by saying “There never was a death more foretold” (Marquez 57). This event is revealed to just about everyone in the village except ...

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