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Chronicle of a Death foretold Commentary

This passage from the novel in Chronicle of a Death foretold takes place at the end of chapter 2, where Bayardo San Roman, who had just gotten married to Angela Vicario, returns her to her family’s house because he found out that she wasn’t a virgin. The characters in this passage that are mainly involved are Angela Vicario, Pura Vicario; Angela’s Mother; Pedro and Pablo Vicario; the two twins; her brothers; and of course Bayardo San Roman; her husband/ ex-husband.

I will be looking at the characters and their relationships between one another, the structure of the passage – how suspense is built up, and the last 2 paragraphs of the passage.

This chapter describes the events leading up to Santiago Nasar’s murder, beginning with one of the main reasons why he was killed – Bayardo San Roman. He arrived to the small unknown Latin town 6 months before he married Angela Vicario. At first no one really liked him, but with the time people started to get more and more impressed with his personality.

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He was running around town looking for someone to marry, but he never really found the right one for him.

One day he was sitting in his chair and in the corner of his eye out of the window, he saw Angela Vicario walking down the road with her mother dressed in mourning clothes, carrying baskets of artificial flowers. That’s when he said to his friend: “Remind me tomorrow I am going to marry her!” This was a very clear statement that he did not care what her opinion was on this, because he has already decided to marry her before they even officially knew each other.

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The relationship between these two characters isn’t very developed due to the lack of time they’ve spent together, which is practically 0. Yet they get married. Under such circumstances you wouldn’t think this sort of marriage would last, but at that time, the women had no say in who they wanted to get married to, it was all arranged.

Although it seems like this particular character has no strong relationships of any kind with men, there is 2 that she is close with. Her two brothers, Pedro and Pablo seem to be very caring and protective towards their younger sister. This shows that their relationship seems to be very trusting and strong, considering the time they were in, but even today you see wherever you look older brothers protecting their little sisters, especially, from being hurt by other men.

We aren’t told a lot about her father or her mother throughout this chapter, but it seems to be very obvious, that although her mother is very strict, they seem to have a very good relationship towards one another. Her mother is often heard saying that: “They are perfect… Any man would be happy to have them, because they have been raised to suffer!” This may seem quite harsh and demanding, but the way she raised her daughters, is in such a way that they can do anything to make their husband or future husband happy.

All of these relationships between Angela Vicario and the other characters, especially her mother, and quickly forgotten when reading this passage. The descriptions of how she is being treated and how obviously ashamed she is, are very direct.

Bayardo returns his wife to her family after finding out that she is no longer a virgin. Yet he doesn’t show anger, but instead only disappointment. Although we would expect him to be very aggressive, “…he softly pushed his wife into the house without speaking…” After he leaves, her mother beats her for approximately two hours: “she was holding me by my hair with one hand and beating me with the other with such rage that I thought she was going to kill me!”

The structure of this passage can be very confusing at times. The author usually uses quite short sentences to build up suspense, in such a way that we are eager to continue reading. Garcia Marquez’ choice in wording is unusual and metaphorical: “He had that green color of dreams.” This quote from the passage is when Bayardo San Roman returns Angela Vicario to her family and is one of the first descriptions we are given about him in this scene. It implies that it seemed obvious that he was embarrassed and uncomfortable having to return his wife back to her family shortly after the wedding was over. This wording again is very metaphorical, because he isn’t literally green, but his facial expression must have seemed like he was ‘sick’ about having to return Angela.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez uses more descriptions rather than dialogue in this passage. However, the way in which he uses these descriptors, is so effective that even in that way suspense is built up very quickly. An example of this is when, in an interview with the narrator, Angela says: “On the contrary, I felt as if the drowsiness of death had finally been lifted from me, and the only thing I wanted was for it all to be over quickly, so I could flop down and go to sleep.” With such little information on why she had this “drowsiness of death” and how it had been taken off her shoulders, the author brings a lot of tension into the passage and leaves the reader in suspense and full of excitement to continue reading.

The last two paragraphs of this passage are the most breathtaking and intense of them all. The way the author describes the situation when one of Angela’s brothers asks her who had done this to her, makes it seem a lot longer than it actually is. It seems to the reader as if she is taking a lot longer than it would usually take to name a person, when actually, it is only a pause consuming seconds until she says the name.

“She only took the time necessary to say the name. She looked for it in the shadows, she found it at first sight among the many, many easily confused names from this world and the other, and she nailed it to the wall with her well-aimed dart, like a butterfly with no will whose sentence has always been written. ‘Santiago Nasar,’ she said.”

‘She only took the time necessary to say the name.’ This is probably the most important line of this paragraph, because the author uses a short sentence and very little vocabulary to create such a line that tells the reader everything they need to know but then again build up more suspension so that we are willing to read the last couple if lines although we subconsciously already know what name she is going to say.

Overall, the relations between characters, the structure of the passage and the last 2 paragraphs as a whole are 3 points that make up a passage that seems mainly descriptive but at core is very intense. Gabriel Garcia Marquez mostly short sentence structure and little vocabulary to build up suspense in a passage that makes up a major part of his book ‘Chronicle of a Death Foretold’. This passage is a vital part to the entire story and without it the novel wouldn’t be as good as it is now.

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Chronicle of a Death foretold Commentary. (2020, Jun 01). Retrieved from

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