Gabriel García Márquez Questions and Answers

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What is the theme of Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "One of These Days"?

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"One Of These Days" is a short story about power and revenge. The two principal characters are the dentist Aurelio Escovar and the Mayor. The Mayor insists on seeing the dentist because he needs a tooth pulled. He says that he will shoot the dentist if the dentist refuses to see him. Later in the story, the dentist pulls the Mayor's tooth, without anesthesia, and tells him, "now you will pay for our twenty dead men."

The Mayor seems to be the one who has the most power in this story. He has the power, it seems, to kill twenty men. He has the power also to shoot the dentist, should the dentist refuse to see him. However, for a brief moment, the dentist has power over the Mayor, and he uses that power to get revenge for the twenty dead men. His revenge is momentarily satisfying but, ultimately, fleeting. The title of the story, "One Of These Days," implies a threat or a desire on behalf of the dentist that one day he shall have enduring revenge.

The story of the dentist and the Mayor can also of course be read as a microcosm representing the conflict, on a broader scale, between ordinary people and the political class. The former is represented by the dentist, and the latter by the Mayor. The former, like the dentist, never really have more than a momentary power, whereas the latter, like the Mayor, are invested with a power that endures and which can take or save lives.

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