In Chronicle of a Death Foretold , the women characters highlight the framework of life and the story's setting; thus, they highlight Santiago's experiences prior to his death. The novella takes place in a small town on the Colombian coast midway through the twentieth century, and the overall cultural norms...
In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, the women characters highlight the framework of life and the story's setting; thus, they highlight Santiago's experiences prior to his death. The novella takes place in a small town on the Colombian coast midway through the twentieth century, and the overall cultural norms of Colombia and Latin America dictate life. Roman Catholicism is imbued in every aspect of the culture, a fact underscored by the imminent arrival of the bishop on the day of Santiago's murder.
The female characters personify certain aspects of the cultural expectations and practicalities that frame the plot of the book. Take, for instance, Santiago’s mother, Plácida Linero: a strong and loving woman whose moral conviction remains unwavering despite the moral looseness of her husband and son. She married Ibrahim Nasar out of duty and practicality, rather than love, and upheld the morality of their household in spite of her husband’s love for guns, infidelity, and hedonism. She turns a blind eye to these same characteristics that have now manifested in her son. She lets this deviance pass while fretting endlessly about the potential trouble it entails. She is a dutiful wife (now a widow) and mother, as was expected of household matriarchs during this time and place.
Similarly, Purisima Del Carmen, the mother of Angela Vicario and the Vicario brothers, is rigid and strict, and follows her moral code without hesitation. She beats her daughter senselessly upon discovering that Angela has lost her virginity.
Both Purisima and Plácida represent a society that expects upright behavior from its women in particular. While the men of the village live with shameless indulgence, in sin and sexual deviance, the women are the pillars of moral code the society is built upon. These same pillars indicate why Angela’s deflowering is considered worthy of murder.
While Angela’s sexual encounter is eventually uncovered, and she is greatly punished, Pablo Vicario’s fiancée, Prudencia Cotes, insists that her fiancé avenge his sister and uphold the honor of their family. Angela’s transgression occurs when she is young and unwed, while Prudencia’s determination comes at a time that she is close to entering marriage herself. This suggests that women enter a stage of moral standing in conjunction with marriage or coming of age.
Ultimately, the men in Chronicle of a Death Foretold live largely unburdened by the values of Roman Catholic expectations, while the women stand as representations of how these values shape life and community in this town. It is the friction between these two lifestyles—one of indulgence, excess, and sin, and one of prudence, responsibility, and morality—that create the setting in which this tale can unfold.