The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World

by Gabriel García Márquez

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Why might the younger women in "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" hope the man's name is Lauraro?

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The drowned man who washes up on the shores of the village fills the villagers with hope. Some of the young woman fervently desire that when he is dressed, put in patent leather shoes, and surrounded by flowers, he might turn out to be Lautaro.

Lautaro was a hero in Chile who led the natives against the Spaniards. The women are so full of hope for finding a hero in this drowned man that they want him to be like Lautaro. Unfortunately, the clothes they dress him in will not quite allow the fantasy to climb to that level: the pants they make for him are too tight, and the buttons of his shirt pop.

The women also wish to think of him as Quetzalcoatl, a god of the Aztecs. However, they have to settle for Estaban, a legendary slave who was a great healer and knew multiple languages—still a very dramatic figure.

The villagers place all their hopes and dreams onto the handsome drowned man. They use his appearance on their shore as an inspiration. Because they are able to find hope in him, even if he is not Lautaro, they are able to change their own lives for the better. This is a story showing how imagination can foster growth and change.

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