Choose and discuss one example of how Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Love in The Time of Cholera depicts the body and embodiment, including illness, aging, and death. How does the story use magical realism to investigate and redefine the body?

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel Love in the Time of Cholera explores the themes of illness, aging, and death in many ways, even using magical realism to look at the body and at life from alternate perspectives. Let's look at a couple examples.

First, the story uses disease (like cholera) as...

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez's novel Love in the Time of Cholera explores the themes of illness, aging, and death in many ways, even using magical realism to look at the body and at life from alternate perspectives. Let's look at a couple examples.

First, the story uses disease (like cholera) as a symbol for love. Florentino Ariza falls in love with Fermina Daza when they are young. When she rejects him, he develops a mysterious illness. The doctors think that it may be cholera, but it is not. Florentino is literally lovesick. There is more than a hint of mystery and strangeness here. Florentino's body is reacting in an odd way to his unrequited love, a way that is not totally realistic but is symbolic. The symbol extends throughout the novel.

Over fifty years pass, and when Fermina's husband dies under strange circumstances (he is chasing a parrot that speaks almost like a human being), Florentino once again declares his love for Fermina. At first she rejects him. She still senses the presence of her dead husband (more magical realism). But eventually, she gives in and the two go on a river trip.

Fermina, however, feels some guilt for engaging in a new romance so soon after her husband's death. When she sees people she knows, she asks the captain to hoist up a yellow flag (indicating cholera on board) so no one will board the boat. The novel ends with the boat traveling up and down the river forevermore with its two lovesick couples (Florentino and Fermina and the Captain and his lady). The symbol of love as disease reappears, and the novel fails to resolve except for a sense of strange impossibility.

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