The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World

by Gabriel García Márquez

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In "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World," what are the men's attitudes toward the drowned man?

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It is interesting to note that the men's attitudes to the corpse, called "Esteban," undergo a transformation as the story progresses. At first, when they return from visiting the neighbouring villages to see if the corpse belongs to them, they are keen to dispose of the corpse of this drowned man and consider the women's attachment to this strange giant-figure some kind of female silliness:

The men thought the fuss was only womanish frivolity. Fatigues because of the difficult nighttime inquiries, all they wanted was to get rid of the bother of the newcomer once and for all before the sun grew strong on that arid, windless day.

However, when, significantly, one of the women removes the handkerchief covering Esteban's face, a massive change occurs in the men's attitude towards Esteban:

There was so much truth in his manner that even the most mistrustful men, the ones who felt the bitterness of endless nights at sea faring that their women would tire of dreaming about them and begin to dream of drowned men, even they and others who were harder still shuddered in the marrow of their bones at Esteban's sincerity.

So it is that the village as a whole, both men and women, came to adopt Esteban for their own and were all equally united in their determination to transform their own position in life. Esteban, and the dream and hope that Esteban represented, cause the villagers to group together all of their energies and forces to determine to change forever their way of lives.

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