Gabriel García Márquez Questions and Answers

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

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The short story "One of These Days" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez has a seemingly simple plot. A dentist wakes early and goes about his work. Although he does not possess a degree, he performs his work skillfully and with dedication. When the mayor arrives to have a tooth pulled, the dentist does not want to help him, knowing that the mayor has been responsible for the deaths of many people. He sees that the mayor's condition is serious, though, and he changes his mind. However, he informs the mayor that the procedure has to be performed without anesthetic, and as he begins to pull, he states: "Now you'll pay for our twenty dead men." He pulls the tooth, and the mayor leaves.

It would be simple to say that the theme of the story is revenge. However, the revenge element is secondary to the more important themes of the use or abuse of power, and the adherence to professionalism by the dentist. If revenge were the main theme, it would have been more fitting if the dentist had shot the mayor...

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