No One Writes to the Colonel

by Gabriel García Márquez

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What gives the colonel hope after deciding to sell the rooster in No One Writes to the Colonel?

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Soon after the colonel receives news from his son, who is missing and had been presumed dead, he hears the townspeople cheering for his rooster. These events give him new hope, and he decides not to sell the rooster after all, even though he does not know where his next meal is coming from.

Hope and disappointment are among the major themes of No One Writes to the Colonel. The colonel's hopes have generally been disappointed for many years. Every week, he goes to collect his pension, but it never arrives, and this regular disappointment reduces him and his wife to poverty, as well as symbolizing all his other hopes that have been dashed, both for himself and for his country.

The rooster is the one possession the colonel has that is worth any money, and he considers selling it, a course of action favored by his wife. However, he realizes that the rooster represents not only his own hopes, but those of the whole town. It is by relinquishing his exclusive claim to the rooster and acknowledging that it belongs to the community that the colonel rekindles his own hope for the future.

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