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How does Marquez ridicule the male Colombian culture in Chronicles of a Death Foretold?

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studentinib | Student, Undergraduate | (Level 1) Honors

Posted February 29, 2012 at 8:32 PM via web

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How does Marquez ridicule the male Colombian culture in Chronicles of a Death Foretold?

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susan3smith | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator

Posted March 2, 2012 at 1:18 PM (Answer #1)

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Marquez satirizes the Latin American idea of machismo through his portrayal of the "honor killing" of Santiago.  Pablo and Pedro Vicario are the reluctant defenders of their sister's Angela's honor.  Even though they initially seem full of bravado in broadcasting their intention to kill Santiago, they do their best to get others to stop them.

Their mission is to kill the man who took their sister's virginity, even though it is not clear that Santiago had any dealings with Angela whatsoever.  So, from the beginning their mission seems flawed and misdirected.  Despite their boasting, though, the twins seem like bumbling, cowardly assasins who in telling others what they are about to do, are actually alerting those who might stop them.   They get drunk, feel sick, try to back out of this deed, but ultimately stab Santiago in an horrifically inept way, resulting in a cruel death. This deed, however, is considered an heroic act by many of the townspeople, who view it as a "defense of honor."

Bayardo fares little better in the readers' eyes.  Bayardo comes into town, sets his sights on Angela, and proceeds to buy her as his wife. Her family accepts his proposal and convinces the reluctant Angela that "love can be learned."  After an elaborate wedding, he finds out that she is not a virgin, and he returns her, as one would return damaged goods.  Their relationship is so flimsy that Bayardo would rather end the marriage than have a wife who is not a virgin, even as the narrator points out, most of the women in the town were not virgins before marriage and no one would have ever known about Angela's lack of virginity if Bayardo had not returned her to her family in shame.  His behavior seems pompous, cold, and cruel.

Santiago himself is seen in the opening pages molesting the cook's daughter even as he is going out the door to see the bishop.

These "honorable" men are all but honorable: they murder in cold blood and treat women like possessions.

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