Gabriel García Márquez

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Student Question

How does Gabriel García Márquez present class-political conflict in "One of these Days"?

Quick answer:

Gabriel García Márquez brings out the conflict between the middle class and the politicians in the story "One of These Days" by showing the intense animosity between two representatives of each class, a dentist and a mayor, over a tooth extraction.

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In this story, the conflict between the middle class and the corrupt politicians is brought out in a dentist's office. The middle class dentist at first refuses to treat the mayor who comes into his waiting room. When his son comes in, reporting that the mayor has a gun and will shoot the dentist if he doesn't help him, the dentist pulls his own gun out of a drawer and tells his son to send the politician to his office. This shows the very high level of animosity between these two classes of people, as they are each willing to resort to violence to get their way.

When the mayor enters and the dentist sees his face is swollen and in genuine pain, he agrees to remove his wisdom tooth—but without anesthetics. The mayor agrees. That that is pay back for what the politician has done becomes clear when the dentist says:

Now you'll pay for our twenty dead men.
The mayor does suffer through the extraction. However, when the dentist asks where to send the bill, to him or the town, the mayor has the last word, showing he still owns the town:
It's the same damn thing.
Without knowing any of the politics driving the animosity between the two men, we know the tension is at a heightened level because of the way they interact with each other. In this case, the personal is the political, and a personal interaction reflects a bitter political divide.

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