Jacki outsider in a Latin American community

JackiPatnoiDecember2017IBEnglishMarquezEssay            In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold, theunnamed narrator sets out to piece together the murder of Santiago Nasar, 27years after the incident occurred. In the novel, the unidentified narrator actsas an investigator. The narrator came back to his town to investigate themurder that took place by interviewing different people in the town. He getsinto the journalist mood by gathering facts, trying to sort out the truth, butthe more he learns the stranger the story becomes. Marquez uses his narrator tocriticize the social norms in Latin America that lead to the killing of aninnocent man in his hometown.

            In Chronicleof a Death Foretold, the theme of honor is seen throughout the story. InColombian culture, honor is one of the most important things in society as itcondemns murder. The murder of Santiago Nasar is the primary example of howhonor is taken seriously. Throughout the novel, no one prevents the murder ofSantiago as the people in the town believe he should be punished for hisimmoral action.

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Honor is a moral trait that thrives in a Latin American societybecause it is a core value that has remained for decades. A person or familywithout honor can be considered as an outsider in a Latin American communitylike the one in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Not only ishonor a common theme throughout the story, the important of remaining purebefore marriage is seen throughout the story. Virginity plays a vital part inpreserving a woman’s dignity and honor at the time of her wedding. Thissacredness of a woman is based on the understanding that protecting a woman’svirginity or keeping her pure is enough reason to kill for, as it is necessaryin order to keep that person’s honor. We see that the idea of virginity isviewed as a high level of nobility to one’s self and their family and theVicario Brothers must take Santiago’s life in order to regain their family’shonor, which they had lost when Angela had not remained pure.

By using AngelaVicario’s character to show the double standard for women, Marquez presents thedifferent dynamics of the patriarchal society and how it exploits women. Men areheld to a different standard than women as they don’t have to remain a virginbefore marriage if they choose not to, “Angela Vicario, the beautiful girl who’dgotten married the day before, had been returned to the house of her parents,because her husband had discovered that she wasn’t a virgin.” In thissociety men have the power as they can restore their family’s honor if theyneed to. Thisis not only seen in the family but also in the town because they did notinterfere with the dispute since they thought that the honor needed to berestored.

The Vicario Brothers were never condemned for the murder because itwas considered as an honor killing in their society.In the novel, Marquez uses thenarrator to voice his opinions about the cultural aspects of his Colombiansociety that is guided by the chauvinistic ideals.  In society men wereexpected to exemplify the role of machismo in their lives.  Machismo in Latin American society condemnsacts that would normally be illegal in the United States because it was done indefense of either one’s self or one’s family’s honor.  The idea of machismo is important in thissociety and can be seen through the Vicario Brothers’ actions.

In society menwere expected to exemplify the idea of machismo, the idea that they were manlyand defended their honor. In the text, it was obvious that they didn’t want tokill Santiago as they blatantly told everyone they were doing so and were beingobvious about their actions, “Vicario brothers were not as eager to carry outthe sentence as to find someone who would do them the favor of stopping them.”  The Vicario brothers did not want to killSantiago Nasar, but they felt pressure by the society they live in.

This goesto show that to be a man in their society you had to uphold your family’shonor, even if that meant killing a possibly innocent man. The hours leading upto Santiago’s death, the brothers announced of their intention to kill Santiagoand it was no secret to the reader as from the novel starts out with “ON THEDAY THEY WERE GOING TO KILL him, Santiago Nasar”. The death wasn’t a surpriseto anyone in the town except for Santiago because the town believed it was theVicario brother’s duty to defend their honor. The brothers deliberately publicizetheir plans in hopes someone would prevent the murder by either tellingSantiago so he can avoid the brothers or by maybe telling the police. Unfortunately,the brothers had to go through with the absurd murder that was justified bysociety’s expectations of men. It wasn’t only an honor killing but also howsociety holds the men in the family to a standard of righting their family’swrongs, which in the novel was Angela’s impurity. Their homicidal intent camefrom the societal obligations rather than them trying to get revenge.

Marquezuses the characters to criticize the social norms in this Colombian societythat are so ridiculous that it lead to the killing of an innocent man.            Marquez useshis narrator to recall the event in a journalistic fashion. The narrator actsas a reporter who is uncovering an event in detail based on his encounters withthe people of the town by interviewing those who have a story to share. This journalisticstyle of narration can be seen as effective because it represents a story anon-biased way as there are multiple perspectives.

It represents a situationthat is based on true and fictitious events that motivates the audience’sinterest. Typically, the journalistic style allows the reader to know the who,what, when, where, and why of the event that happened. That can be seen in thebeginning where that murder was announced, and this allows the audience to knowwhat is going to happen. With most of these questions being answered, there isn’ta whole lot of mystery except for why. The question of why these eventshappened and who robbed Angela of her virginity are left unanswered by Marquez.

Using this technique keeps the audience hooked throughout the novel.             GabrielGarcia Marquez uses the narrator to criticize the expectations of men and womenthat are forced upon them by the Latin American society. The social norms inthe Latin American community allow death to be justified because of the honorsystem that they follow.  Marquez writeshis story in a critical fashion, as his narrator tells the story from ajournalistic point of view. The narrator uses times, places and facts todevelop the story while combining with storytelling making it personal but alsotrue. The narrator investigates the murder of Santiago done by the Vicariobrothers and the town’s involvement as a whole, looking at the entire cultureof the even and how Latin American society has shaped the outcome.                           


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