The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World

by Gabriel García Márquez

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How does Esteban's presence change the village and the villagers' lives?

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The appearance of the body of Esteban, tall and beautiful, inspires the villagers with joy and new hope. They that feel his body washing on their shores has blessed them.

The changes in the village mirror the new sense of worth the villages have experienced from Esteban: they will make the doorways of their homes wider, with stronger floors and higher ceilings. They will paint their houses with bright colors to keep alive Esteban's memory. They will dig hard to find new sources of water for the village, and they will plants flowers so that passing ships can look at the roses and sunflowers in bloom and realize that they are passing Esteban's village.

Esteban's body unites the villagers. Whether true or not, he seems beautiful and glorious to them, larger than life. He reflects back to them a positive image of themselves and all they could be. The women weep because he reminds them so much of their own men in his vulnerability, and then the women feel jubilant, proud to show his body off to the men. At first the men are jealous of the attention the woman are paying to Esteban, but once they see his face, they too are "left breathless." Esteban breathes new hope and an invigorating spirit into everyone.

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