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Chronicle of a Death Foretold

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Olivia Taub

on 17 December 2013

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Transcript of Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Chronicle of a Death Foretold

How the book describes...
Class Consciousness
: Class distinction is prevalent throughout the novella. On one hand you have Santiago Nasar. He is from a wealthy family and lives in a two story house built specifically for his family. He has inherited a ranch from his father and has help working for him. On the other side of the spectrum you have the Vicario family. The father works as a goldsmith and has multiple children. They are an example for a typical lower class family in the town. The book demonstrates the emotions the lower class has towards the higher class. When Angela is put on the spot to reveal the name of the person who deflowered her, she says Santiago Nasar. It is later revealed in the story that she chose his name because she never imagined that her brothers would do anything to him since he was from a higher class.
Magical Realism
Magical Realism is a literary mode in which mystical or unrealistic elements are incorporated into story as if there is nothing wrong with them
The fact that everyone knows that Santiago is going to die, but fails to warn him is a prime example of Magical Realism.
Another example is the way dreams are interpreted in the novella. Placida Linero interprets the dream Santiago has the morning before his death as a bad omen. This is accepted to be the norm. How is it though that a dream can predict the future?
The role of Magical Realism is to throw the reader into a loop. The novella already has many questionable aspects to it. These elements of magical realism only confuse the reader even more.
Father Carmen Amador
Priest of the village
Performs the Autopsy on Santiago Nasar since the doctor is not in town.
Father Amador is a reliable character. Although the autopsy he performed was not the best and way too excessive, he did what he was told to do. There is nothing else in reference to his character that says his testimony would be untrue and biased.
Favorite Sentence
"They came on a cargo boat, locked in mourning up to their necks because of Bayardo San Roman's misfortunes, and with their hair hanging loose in grief" (85).
Presentation by Olivia Taub
Violence and Peace:
First let’s define the term Structural Violence- Occurs when social institutions unevenly distribute income, education, medical services, or access to the power to distribute these resources, in a way that arbitrarily and adversely affects the quality of life for numbers of people. (Taken from the Violence & Peace handout in class)
It is the class distinction throughout the novella that causes there to be structural violence. The lower class, the Vicario family, is the group that is most affected by structural violence. One example of this in the novella is on page 31, “The girls has been reared to get married.” Since the family is of the lower class, the women of the family are not allowed to do necessarily what they want. They cannot have their own lives, but must marry someone who is wealthy or successful based upon their parents wishes. The only way for the daughters to leave their life in the lower class is to marry someone of prestigious ranking.

There is also a strong theme of direct violence throughout the entire novel. This sense of brutality is present within the first few pages of the novella. The narrator describes what will happen to Santiago Nasar later in the day and how is killed, “...he was carved up like a pig an hour later…” (4). This shows the brutality of the crime committed against Santiago. The Vicario twins don’t just murder Santiago, but mutilate him using carving knifes for pigs. According the the autopsy done after the murder, “seven of the many wounds were fatal” (75).

Despite the various types of violence occurring within the village, it seems like a peaceful place to live. This is called “Negative Peace.” While reading the novella, it is obvious that there are major types of violence, but this does not seem to affect the people of the town too much.

Legal Authority:
This is demonstrated in the book by the Vicario Twins’ time spent in jail after they murdered Santiago. Justice seemed to be served by the legal system. The Twins committed the crime and had to live with the guilt and punishment as their aftermath. For a few days following the murder, they were locked in a room that was “ten feet square and had a very high skylight with iron bars…” (79). The two are then transported to larger prison, Riohacha. Although this proves that the Legal Authority in the village has some sort of power, there is a part earlier in the novella that proves that it is not that prominent source of power. After hearing from multiple people that the Vicario twins were planning on killing Santiago, the Colonel Lázaro Aponte says “No one is arrested just on suspicion” (57). Despite the twins flat out telling of their plan and carrying knifes, the Colonel still does not arrest them. This demonstrates that the legal power in the village is not that strong and that other aspects have more authority over the people, like religion.

Religious Authority:
Unlike legal authority, religious authority plays a huge role within the novella. Every person in the village seems to have a connection to their religion. When the Bishop arrives, a majority of the town's population is waiting for him with roosters and other gifts. Although the Bishop is not the highest figure on the religious totem pole, the people still act as if he is the most important person in the world.
Later on in the story, it is said that the Bishop’s arrival causes the Twins to put off the murder. Clotilde Armenta was the one to tell the brothers “Leave him for later, if only out of respect for his grace the bishop” (16). This proves that religion is a major aspect in their lives. The twins were so determined to kill the man who deflowered their baby sister, yet they still waited until after the Bishop left out of respect for him.

Is the Narrator Reliable?
The narrator is a close friend of Santiago. Of course he is biased against the twins! His mother is Santiago's godmother and his sister was in love with him. The narrator describes the murder with so much description that it almost seems unreal.
When I first heard of the murder, I could not believe my own ears. The Vicario family had been active in my church for many years and I have known the boys for a very long time. I hoped that they would confess to their sins. They failed to do so after I gave them the chance. I performed the autopsy on Santiago Nasar. Before I joined the church, I studied medicine in Salamanca. The mayor had me do it because the doctor was out of town. It terrible seeing the poor boy's mutilated body. I can only hope that God will forgive the twins. -First Person Narrative
This sentence is my favorite because it shows how even though Bayardo is not dead, his sisters and mother still feel his pain. They mourn for him and the unfortunate situation he has been put in. The sentence also shows a fake side to the characters. Despite their mourning, it is evident that their hair is hanging low. This shows that even in a dark time, they still care about their appearance.
This sentence illustrates the grieving done by Bayardo's family after finding out that his wife is not a virgin. The song "Dear Avery" by The Decemberists talks about a boy in grief and pain. The song talks about the affect the boys pain has on the person singing the song. Similarly, Bayardo's pain has a major affect on the entire family. They want to help him so they go to his house and take him away from the village.
"Then he kissed Pura Vicario on the cheek and spoke to her in a very deep, dejected voice, but with great tenderness. 'Thank you for everything, Mother,' he told her. 'You're a saint.'" (46).
Bayardo San Román turned around and exited the house of his sinful wife. He walked down the road to a side street with no lights guiding his way. The door of a young couple had mistakenly been left open after the wedding. Bayardo San Román made his way through the open door and found himself in the kitchen of the small house. He rummaged through the cabinets until he found what he had been looking for, an unopened bottle of rum. He stole the rum and left the kitchen, heading back to the widower Xius’ house. Nobody saw the poor man wandering the streets drinking straight from the bottle with his shirt unbuttoned. From all that I had known of the man, Bayardo San Román did not seem like the type to drink himself into oblivion. He stumbled through the village until he arrived at the house. He made his way inside, but passed out before he could reach the bed.
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