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Arab Influence in Chronicle of a Death Foretold

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Maia Wellborn

on 23 August 2012

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Transcript of Arab Influence in Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Arab Influence In
Chronicle of
a Death Foretold By Maia Wellborn Background: Most Arab Diaspora in Colombia was an effect of Arab immigration from Syria, Lebanon, and Palestine. A large wave of immigration took place in the early 1900s because Arabs were largely being oppressed by the Ottoman Empire. Another large wave of Arabs came to Colombia in the 1940s for economic purposes. These Arabs were mostly of Muslim faith. They were attracted by the overabundance of goods and oils circulating through the market on the Guajira Peninsula. Language? Arabs speak Arabic... This is relevant because:

"They spoke Arabic between themselves, but not in front of Placida Linero, so that she wouldn't feel excluded." --page 7

"The older ones(Arabs) continued speaking the rustic Arabic they had brought from their homeland, and they maintained it intact in the family down to the second generation, but those of the third, with the exception of Santiago Nasar, listened to their parents in Arabic and answered them in Spanish." page 81 "'I don't understand a God-damned thing,' Santiago Nasar said. It was the only thing he managed to say, and he said it in Spanish." --page 114 The reason for the decrease of Arabic speaking Arabs in Colombia goes hand in hand with the reason for religious change. The strict Spanish-Catholic church held a narrow mindset, one in which immigrants, especially those of different faiths, had to conform to Spanish society, which included language change. Also, it would be in the best interests of Arabs to conform because they would avoid discrimination and judging by native Colombians. Religion? What is an Arab? a member of a Semitic people originally from the Arabian peninsula and surrounding territories who speaks Arabic and who inhabits much of the Middle East and northern Africa Traditionally, Arabs have no specific religion. Because an Arab is simply someone from the middle east who speaks Arabic, religions are as diverse as those of the middle east today. These religions held the utmost importance for Arabs in 1951, as they do today. Conflict because of religion is arguably the most violent and serious conflict. So why were the Arabs described by Marquez not Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh? From the book:

"The Arabs compromised a community of peaceful immigrants who had settled at the beginning of the century in Caribbean towns, even in the poorest and most remote, and there they remained, selling colored cloth and bazaar trinkets." --page 81 From Chronicle:

"They were clannish, hard-working, and Catholic." --page 81 Most people in Colombia are Catholic. Supposedly 90% of Colombia's population is Roman-Catholic Why is religion significant in the novel, or rather, why was important for Marquez to let us know the Arabs were Catholic?

Probably because...

"...It was inconceivable that they would suddenly abandon their pastoral spirit to avenge a death for which we all could have been to blame." --page 81 Honor From the book:

"He(Santiago) was the only child of a marriage of convenience without a single moment of happiness..." --page 7

"She'd(Victoria Guzman) been seduced by Ibrahim Nasar in the fullness of her adolescence. She'd made love to him in secret...knew that she(Divina Flor) was destined for Santiago Nasar's furtive bed, and that idea brought out a premature anxiety in her...'He was just like his father...A shit.'" --page 9-10

In traditional Arab society, before a marriage can even take place, a contract must be signed by both the bride and bridegroom. The contract describs what each party will contribute during the marriage, and what will happen in the event of divorce. Once married, a wife is the "guardian of her husband's honor," and it is his duty to guard the guardian. Men will do this in various ways. But however devoted a man might be to his wife, his is the last word in the case of a real disagreement. Women are expected to be absolutely dependent and loyal to their husbands. Men are "expected" to behave the same, but second wives are legal, so loyalty to one wife is not mandatory. From the book:

"..., but from him(Ibrahim Nasar) he also learned the good arts of valor and prudence." --page 7

"The death of his father had forced him to abandon his studies at the end of secondary school in order to take charge of the family ranch." --page 9

Like native Colombians, Arabs value family spirit and honor much more than individual honor. A success for an Arab individual is directly reflected upon that Arab's family. Likewise, failures are reflected upon the family. It would be shameful for an Arab to disregard his family for the benefit of himself. This is probably why Santiago returned from school to be the "head of the household." Men are expected to take control of the house and keep any type of family business running. From the book:

"From his father he learned at a very early age the manipulation of firearms..." --page 7

-In traditional and modern Arab society young boys, beginning at the age of seven, are taught to use guns and other firearms for hunting and self protection. If a child cannot master the skill of using firearms, the child is inferior, and is forced to remain doing household chores with women. It is not honorable or masculine to be insufficient with firearms. Want to hear a classic middle eastern joke? Arab Culture In your book, fourth page. Did you see the quote on the right side?

"the pursuit of love is like falconry"
--Gil Vicente Though Falconry in practiced around the world, it remains an important part of of Arab heritage and culture. Falconry is the hunting of wild quarry(small animal or fish) in its natural state and habitat by means of a trained bird of prey. From the book:

"From his father he learned at a very early age ... and the mastery of high-flying birds of prey..." --page 7

"... and the only time they brought in their trained birds was for demonstartion of falconry at a charity bazaar." --page 8

Falconry is symbolic of Angela and Bayardo's relationship. In the beginning, Bayardo "hunts" her, but after he returns her to her mother, it is she that "hunts" him. Falconry can mean the actual hunting of prey, or the training of birds to hunt. Bayardo essentially trains Angela to hunt him by showering her with gifts, and acting like a model suitor. Horseback riding is a traditional pastime of the Arabian world. Though soccer is the most popular sport of of most Arab cultures, polo is also a widely played sport. Arabs tend to be involved in equestrian activities that highlight the cooperative relationship between horses and people. Arabs hold horses in high respect, so many prominent Arab families raise horses. From the book:

"From his father he learned at a very early age...his love for horses..." --page 7

"He(Ibrahim Nasar) also kept the rear door, except a bit taller so that a horse could enter through it..." --page 11 Arab physical features: Arabs tend to have almond coloured skin, oily skin, dark-coarse hair, brown eyes, and long noses. These are typical features of Arabs from the middle east, and of most immigrants in Colombia during the beginning of the 20th century. Arab features are dominant traits. yes, this is probable From the book:

"I saw him in her memory. He had turned twenty-one the last week in January, and he was slim and pale and had his father's Arab eyelids and curly hair." --page 7 Why did I choose this topic? From the book:

"By the time Ibrahim Nasar arrived with the last Arabs at the end of the civil wars, seagoing ships no longer came there because of shifts in the river..." --page 11 Credits:

For supplying information and stories: my grandmother

For making me stand up here and feel terrified: Mrs Herring

For starting the PREZI movement: Joseph Blair Booth
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