Death Foretold Gender

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Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a satirical novel written by esteemed Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, published in 1981. Originally written in Spanish, the novel was translated into English by Gregory Rabassa in 1982. The novel, set in 1950s Colombia, outlines the events surrounding the Vicario brothers’ murder of Santiago Nasar, a man accused of taking the virginity of their sister, Angela Vicario. The novel is written in a pseudo-journalistic, non-sequential reconstruction of events by the narrator. The narrator is a journalist and old friend of Santiago Nasar returning to the small town in which the events of the novel take place, intending to unravel the mystery surrounding the murder. Márquez utilises the themes of gender, honor…show more content…
Márquez ridicules traditional gender norms and the sociocultural pressures against men and women through repeatedly criticizing gender expectations held by both men and women in the novel. Márquez juxtaposes the role of men with that of women in Colombian society, writing that “brothers were brought up to be men” and “the girls had been reared to get married” (p.30). Contemporary readers may expect the sentence to read ‘the girls had been brought up to be women’ but Márquez wryly mocks Colombian values by challenging the perceptions of gender held by readers. Juxtaposition is utilised by the author to highlight the power imbalance between men and women in Colombian society, effectively satirizing gender roles. Additionally, Márquez shapes meaning in the sentence with diction through the utilisation of the word ‘brought up’ for men, and ‘reared’ for women, a word which is typically reserved for raising animals. Thus, through the utilisation of juxtaposition and diction, Márquez constructs men as holding more power than women. Márquez initially portrays Angela Vicario to have little power, being a young girl who is to be married off against her will to a rich man, merely a victim of the patriarchal society of the novel. After becoming a “rejected wife” (p.94), Márquez writes that she became a “mistress of her own free will” and “recognized no other…show more content…
Characters in the novel are frequently shown to be contradicting traditional Catholic values and the Ten Commandments, such as the prohibition of sex before marriage. Pedro Vicario, one of the Vicario brothers behind the killing of Santiago Nasar, was “trembling with rage” (p.47) after finding out Angela Vicario was not a virgin before marriage, despite having returned from the local brothel with his brother moments before. This use of irony demonstrates the satirical nature of Márquez’s work, all the while making a commentary on the contradictory communal religious ideologies entrenched in the town. In the novel, the revered religious figures in the community are portrayed as symbols of the hollow religious beliefs in the community, solely making appearances which portray them in a negative light. Father Amador and the Bishop are portrayed to be apathetic and demonstrate un-Christian values. Father Amador was called to do Santiago Nasar’s autopsy when the local doctor was absent; the autopsy was described as “a massacre” (p.75) and in the process, Father Amador “threw [Santiago Nasar’s intestines] into the garbage pail” (p.76). Disrespecting and desecrating a body in such a manner is extremely distasteful in Catholicism, demonstrating the lack of true religiosity in the community. Father Amador calls the Vicario
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