Ideas for Group Discussions
In "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World," Garcia Marquez examines the power of the human imagination and its ability to create explanations for the unknown.
1. Research La Violencia, Colombia's fifteen- year period of civil strife. In what ways might "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" be seen as a comment on the events occurring in Colombia at this time?
2. Look for information on the following religious and mythological allusions in the story: St. Stephen, Estevanico, Jonah, Zeus, Quetzalcoatl. How do these allusions function to enrich the story and its themes?
3. Read a chapter of Homer's Odyssey and look for points of similarity between Homer's account and the events of this story.
4. Explore the psychology of totemism and determine what Esteban has come to symbolize for the villagers.
5. Look into other forms of "fantastic" literature, such as fairy tales, science fiction, mythology, or folk legends. Choose specific works of at least two different types and compare and contrast their styles and techniques to those of "magic realism" as represented by "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World."