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"Chronicle of a Death Foretold"
Transcript of "Chronicle of a Death Foretold"
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel García Márquez was born and raised in his home town of Aracataca, Colombia. His mother and father had an interesting beginning. Márquez’s mother, Luisa Santiaga Márquez was the daughter of a distinguished Colonel in Columbia. The Colonel did not approve of Márquez’s father marrying his daughter. However, he finally gave in because Márquez’s father would bombard Luisa Santiaga with love letters, poems, and even violin serenades.
And yet, Gabriel’s parents did not play a large role in his upbringing as they left him with his maternal grandparents (the Colonel and his wife) when he was still a baby. Both of his grandparents significantly contributed in different ways to his life. The Colonel taught García Márquez lessons from the dictionary and largely influenced his political views (Márquez was a socialist). His grandmother, on the other hand, seems to have the largest impact on his novels. She would tell him stories that Márquez describes as treating the “extraordinary as perfectly natural.” Márquez’s grandmother is perhaps the reason why he went on to become one of the first, if not the first, Latin American author to popularize the genre of magical realism.
The writing of Márquez was also guided by his time as an active member of the “Barranquilla Group.” An informal group of authors in which many prominent Latin Americans participated in.
Márquez has written many novels. Published in 1981, Chronicle of a Death Foretold was his fifth and is based off of a real murder that took place in Sucre, Colombia in 1951.
Supplementary Reading 1
More Deaths Than One: “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” by William H. Gass
“One man is dead and hundreds have murdered him. The consequences of the crime spread like a disease through the village.”
“Chronicle… is about the impotent revenges of the impotent; it is about misdirected rage; it is about the heart blowing to bits from the burden of its own beat; yet the author, Santiago Nasar’s first murderer, goes patiently about his business, too, putting the pieces back together, restoring, through his magnificent art, his own anger and compassion, this forlorn, unevil, little vegetation god, to a new and brilliant life."
Supplementary Reading 2
Fathers and Virgins: Garcia Marquez's Faulknerian "Chronicle of a Death Foretold"
By John S. Christie
"Garcia Marquez is equally concerned with denying narrative authority since the natural extension of multiple perception, multiple point of view in these works is the notion that no one truth exists, that all fact is relative.
"... the power of the spoken word carries such weight that each man is 'nailed to the wall',"
On page 114, Santiago Nasar says to Nahir Miguel, “I don’t understand a God-damned thing.” Despite Nahir Miguel and Santiago Nasar conversing in Arabic, Nasar says his final words in Spanish. What do you think the significance of this is?
On page 80, Pedro Vicario states, “I was awake for eleven months,” to the narrator. Despite this seemingly absurd claim, the narrator has no question in his mind of its validity, “I knew him well enough to know that it was true.” Why does the narrator say so? What other instances of magical realism are there in the novel? Do they add anything to the story?
“Whether those who knew of the twins’ plan believed that it was nonsense or not, each one still had the responsibility to at least warn Santiago Nasar. Since Nasar’s death was so easily preventable, the blame falls not only on the twins but on every person who had the opportunity to warn Santiago.”
“However, none of the several townspeople who had heard the twins' treacherous plot had ever made any strong efforts toward questioning the twins or acting on their suspicions seriously…Nasar's death was fulfilled not only by the hands of the twins, but also in part by his entire community”
“Many important figures in the town, such as Father Amador and Colonel Lazaro Aponte, do not take charge in preventing the murder. Others choose not to believe their murderous plot as the Vicario twins seemed drunk.”
“While the mother recalls the last image of Nasar being his ‘fleeting passage through the bedroom,’ it is later revealed that Placida Linero also goes to the balcony after barring the door and sees Nasar dead in front of the door…this also implicates the mother in a certain way”
Some might argue, however, that the novel in its entirety harshly critiques the religious adherence to social code that is ever so present throughout the Columbian village. This conformity to the norm ultimately results in the death of Santiago Nassar, through the Vicario brothers’ need to fulfill their patriarchal duty and “to be men” (31).
... there is absolutely no expectation that “Angela Vicario could come legitimately to the marriage bed having had another lover, just as there is no thought that the amorous exploits of Santiago Nasar with Maria Alejandrina Cervantes and the girls of her bordello should interfere with his right to marry — and expect virginity from — his fiancée, Flora Miguel” (Conlon).
... the culture of the society caused the tragedy of the death of Santiago Nasar. As John S. Christie writes in his analytical essay “Fathers and Virgins”, “the tendency for a town to collectively manipulate fact” and the community’s “obsession with public honor and social codes” forced each character into role in which they had no choice but to fulfill.
"The role of women in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “Chronicle of a Death Foretold” is one that is strongly oppressed, and subject to negative effects of the patriarchal society in which the story is set. Women are perceived as being only objects, used for exploitation from societal expectations and their own husbands."
Responsibility and Guilt
Social Code and Gender Roles
Fate, Honor & Narration
“The Garden of Forking Paths” focuses on how even “without warnings or omens” fate can intervene, while in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Marquez focuses on the abundance of omens leading up to Santiago’s death through emphasizing the extent to which the Vicario brothers pronounced their intentions...."
"The manner in which the Vicario brothers murdered Santiago Nasar illustrates an animalistic and monstrous slaughter, by no means characterized by honor. The Vicario brothers repeatedly stabbed Santiago and “seven of the many wounds were fatal” showing that the Vicario brothers went to unnecessary lengths to kill Santiago Nasar."
"Both 'The Great Gatsby' and 'Chronicle of a Death Foretold' makes us question the validity of the narrator, and also whether we could trust in what we read. As a whole, this idea could discredit almost every story, but it could also imply that the readers are being persuaded to think in one way or another by the intentions of the author. "
"When Angela Vicario is asked who took away her virginity, 'she [looks] for [the name] in the shadows, ...eventually she says, "Santiago Nasar"' (Márquez, 47). It seems like she chooses his name randomly ... Although this aspect of the plot lacks explanations and logic, it is significant because it shows the uncontrollable elements in reality."
Game: 2 Truths 1 Lie!
The game will be us vs. you
You will have 15 seconds to answer.
If you get it right on the first try, then you have 2 points.
If you get it wrong on the first try, we get 1 point.
If you get it wrong on your second try, we get another point.
1. I ripped out the steaming guts of a pig while Santiago Nasar ate breakfast the morning of his death.
2. I was attracted to Ibrahim Nasar in my adolescence.
3. I knew that the twins planned to kill Nasar.
Question 1: Victoria Guzman
1 is wrong. Rabbit, not pig.
1. I did not notice any omens in my son’s dreams.
2. I usually wake up at 8:00, have my coffee, and then come down to give instructions for lunch.
3. I didn’t show any sign of alarm when I was informed of the Twins plans.
Question 2: Placida Linero
2 is wrong. She wakes up at 7, not 8.
1. I was one of the few people to warn Santiago Nasar.
2. I sold the Vicario brothers a bottle of Vodka in the early afternoon.
3. My shop sells milk in the morning, provisions during the day and becomes a bar after 6 o’clock.
Question 3: Clotilde Armenta
2 is wrong. She sold the brothers Cane Liquor.
1. I arrived in Colombia at the end of the civil wars.
2. I bought a warehouse so I could set up an import store.
3. Yamil Shaium was my partner in cards and one of the first people I met in Colombia.
Question 5: Ibrahim Nasar
3 is wrong. Yamil was an Arab who came to Columbia with Ibrahim.
1. I was murdered on a Monday.
2. I keep my gun unloaded in my dresser drawer.
3. I always take the back door to go outside.
Question 4: Santiago Nasar
2 is wrong. He keeps his gun in his pillowcase.
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