Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon

by Jorge Amado

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What events occur in each section of Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon?

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Gabriela, Clove and Cinnamon consists of four major sections: in the first, we see Colonel Mendonça kill his wife and her lover for cheating on him. While theoretically justified by the traditions of the area, many understandably find this act unacceptable, including political factions who would have the town of Ilhéus modernize. In this section, we also see Nacib Saad, the Syrian owner of the Vesuvius bar, worry about his restaurant after his cook leaves. This section also introduces us to the conflict between Mundinho Falcão, a young cacao exporter who hopes to run for congress, and Colonel Ramiro Bastos, who represents tradition and the established power structure.

In the second section, Gabriela—a poor migrant worker—and her lover, Clemente, reach town. Clemente hopes they will both find work on a cacao plantation, but Gabriela seeks work in town and eventually is taken on by Nacib as a cook for Vesuvius.

In the third section, Gabriela's beauty and excellent cooking cause Vesuvius to prosper, and she and Nacib fall for each other. Although Gabriela is happy with an informal arrangement, Nacib talks her into marriage. Falcão brings in an engineer to create a channel through a sandbar to open the harbor up for shipping, despite this engineer causing a scandal by sleeping with Malvina, the daughter of a colonel. Bastos attempts to damage Falcão's reputation, but Falcão only gains more political allies.

In the final section, Nacib discovers Gabriela cheating on him, annuls their marriage, and fires her, but he later brings her back on as his cook and mistress after realizing how important she is to him and to Vesuvius. Bastos dies suddenly, and Falcão is positioned to enter congress. Lastly, a jury finds Mendonça guilty of murder for killing his wife, a sign of the modernization of Ilhéus.

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