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Honor in a family is a huge valuable trait. Especially in the old schooled, religious household. A person who losses their honor or has none will be dealt with consequences and be punished. Some people may see it as a vengeance for a loss in replacement and some may see it as a punishable act. In Gabriel Marque’s story Chronicle of a Death Foretold, there is a clear understanding of honor being played as an important role. In this paper, it will explain the honor in death and its relation to the family’s religion aspect, How the community lacks their honor in keeping the truth from what they know, and the consequences from the sins that were committed and acted upon specific characters in the novel.
Religion derives the honor by defending their families, and the sanctity of a women’s purity in marriage. The Vicario’s family take their honor and respect from others importantly. Angela loses her virginity before marriage, the honor and respect she once had is gone.
The town shames them, and Angela is brought home 5 hours after her wedding night after confessing to her husband Bayardo San Roman, that she was no longer a virgin. Bayardo San Roman had believed that he was going to be marrying a saint, a pure woman, who was beautiful, and most importantly, a virgin. But that wasn’t the case.
It had seemed that the religion act and tradition in Angela’s culture was to be set up in an arranged marriage where she had no say at all.
Marquez stated, “ Angela Vicario never forgot the horror of the night on which her parents and her older sisters with their husbands, gathered together in the parlour, imposed on her the obligation to marry a man whom she had barely seen…Angela Vicario only dared hint at the inconvenience of a lack of love, but her mother demolished it with a single phrase: 'Love can be learned too'.”(pg.20). Honor is seen here, the Vicario’s And Bayardo’s family coming together and accepting their children together in act of matrimony. By honoring their family and their name. Not long enough though, Angela’s twin brothers, Pablo and Pedro go out for vengeance.
After knowing that Santiago Nassar was the one who took her virginity as Angela says, Pedro and Pablo are on their way to kill him. Gabriel Garcia Marquez stated, “The blood of virginity, when lost outside the sanctity of marriage, can only be washed off with the blood of the perpetrator” (125). And that’s exactly how they felt that the only way they could replace something that important taken away from them was to kill for honor. Pablo Vicario stated, “Before god and before men, it was a matter of honor” (pg. 29). Yet Angela Vicario knew perfectly that she wasn’t a saint for lying her dressed appearance before her wedding. Marquez stated, “On the other hand, the fact that Angela Vicario dared put on the veil and the orange blossoms without being a virgin would be interpreted afterwards as a profanation of the symbols of purity” (pg. 24).
Which she no longer had. Angela was no longer a woman of purity but a woman of shame. When Bayardo San Roman dropped her off at her home to her mother, he had much not to say but, “Thank you for everything, Mother. He told her, “You’re a Saint” (pg.28). In reference to the religion honor a family should have, for Bayardo to speak about Pura Vicario like that, can be known as him honoring a true saint that he had well recognized with good intentions for him. But for Angela, she was nothing but a disappointment for a woman to have been married and not a virgin.
The lack of honor the community in the town disregards in telling the truth reveals if they had an intention of not saying anything to Santiago or his mother. Some of the people in the community has no honor at all. Why would they let the twins kill him when they knew all about it? Especially when the community was all holy receiving the Bishop that same day. Their religion is hypocritical to their actions of keeping their mouths shut and not tell the truth to Santiago. The actions that some of these character’s took could be also presented as them honoring the twins and the Vicario’s family to keeping their mouths shut and not saying nothing at all.
It could have been that some of those characters wanted Santiago Nassar dead as well. But it could also mean that after all those years after Santiago’s death, they still knew that the Vicario brothers did good to kill him, and that the community’s real thoughts about his death were kept in their minds for no one to know but them. Marquez states, “But most of those who could have done something to prevent the crime and did not console themselves with the pretext that affairs of honour are sacred monopolies, giving access only to those who are part of the drama” (pg. 57). Victoria Guzman the cook of Santiago, never thought of telling Santiago the day of his death about the Vicario brothers coming for him.
Victoria has a beautiful young daughter named Divina that Santiago would always stare at and desire to have. Victoria states, “You won’t have a drink of that water as long as I’m alive” (pg.5). On the day that Santiago was going to die, Victoria Guzman knew and did not say one word. Was it because that she had wanted revenge from his father on him? For being just like him trying to seduce the help as his father did to her? I believe so. When Victoria Guzman died, her daughter Divina stated, “That the latter hadn't said anything to Santiago Nasar because in the depths of her heart she wanted them to kill him” (pg. 8). This brings me to believe that Santiago Nassar himself has no honor and retain no honor at all after his death. His actions that he had done to other people, or in his life had was no honor to be respected for. Santiago seemed to love being a sexual man with the thought of having whoever he wanted just like his father.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez a Critical Companion it stated, “Santiago Nasar, like his father before him, is a “sparrow hawk” (pg. 53). Both father and son have made a sport of having their young female servants for their own sexual satisfaction” (pg.125). Divina Flor had stated, “he grabbed my whole pussy it was what he always he when he caught me alone in some corner of the house, but that day I didn’t feel the usual surprise but an awful urge to cry” (pg. 8). In this action, he shows no honor in himself as a man. But as a dog. No man who has honor would ever do that to a woman. Knowing that Santiago did this to Divina Flor, it makes me believe that he in fact could have been the man who took Angela’s Vicario’s virginity. What he did not know was that he would be a dead man walking for it.
The consequences of the sins committed shows no honor and show effects of those who committed pitiful sins. These consequences led to the Vicario brothers to have mental and emotional torture. The day they were brought into jail Pedro smelled Santiago’s blood on him constantly. Pedro Vicario stated, “No matter how much I scrubbed with soup and rags, I couldn’t get rid of the smell” (pg. 46). One couldn’t sleep for almost 11 months and one had diarrhea constantly thinking he was poisoned. No matter what though, the Vicario brothers always knew that they did what had to be done to get their honor back for their family. Marquez states, “At that moment they were comforted by the honour of having done their duty, and the only thing that worried them was the persistence of the smell” (pg.47). The death of Santiago Nasar could have been the punishable actions that these twin brothers deserved after.
This could also be the guilty conscience that the brothers felt. At least Pablo, he was having doubts about killing him, but Pedro shook him up and got him back in the plan. Pablo states, “Pedro Vicario, according to his own declaration, was the one who made the decision to kill Santiago Nasar, and at first his brother only followed along….He was in a cold sweat from the pain,' he said to me, 'and he tried to tell me to go on by myself because he was in no condition to kill anybody' (pg. 36). But the doing was already done, they needed to bring honor back to their family. Gabriel Garcia Marquez a Critical Companion it stated, “Although the brother suffers the psychological fallout of having killed a man, they do not view themselves as sinners and refuse to confess themselves to a priest when they the opportunity to do so” (pg. 121).
Angela Vicario also has a consequence after losing her virginity before marriage. She declares the love she has for Bayardo after she was dropped off home even though in the beginning, she had stated that she did not want to marry him. But she also breaks Bayardo’s heart, causing him to almost kill himself the night of the wedding. Marquez states, “He was in the last stages of ethylic intoxication,” (pg.50). In Gabriel Garcia Marquez a Critical Companion, it states, “Inexplicitly, she cries after Bayardo and nearly goes insane over him, so much so that starts to write frequent, desperate love letter” (pg. 120). And later, gets him to come back to her 17 years later. In Randolph Pope’s Article he states, “She could of easily have counterfeited the missing quality, but she is probably resentful at having been handed over as merchandise to the best bidder” (pg. 193).
With Angela’s character as being her mother handed own to Bayardo San Roman, it may have been possible that Angela’s behavior may have been acted out to resent her mother for handing her down like a piece of merchandise as Pope stated above. Angela Vicario also committed a sin that took someone’s else’s life. Olivares states, “By making public her dishonor, Angela is in effect signing her seducer's death sentence. Angela, a 'marked' woman, as it were, puts out a contract on Santiago, a 'marked' man” (pg.489). Which resulted in the death of Santiago Nassar because of her. To the characters that were as well part of the killing by knowing beforehand and not preventing it, it seemed that they had consequences of their own. But the mother of Santiago Nassar never forgave herself for not opening the door and not realizing that her son’s dream was not actually a sign of good health.
In conclusion, the honor presented in the short novella of, Chronicles of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Marquez shows that honor could be dishonored as well by the consequences of one’s actions. Although his death was not in chronicle order rather than it should be, it was given out in the first sentence. There was no mystery to be found but only the truth as to why Santiago was killed. The Vicario’s kill for their religious honor, the lack of honor that some in the community portrayed, and the consequences of the sins that were committed acted upon the Vicario’s. The author presented a good literature of suspense when it came to the killing of Santiago Nasar. From the beginning of the short novella, the author presents a death of a man known as Santiago. From their it goes back and forth from past to present, and later learn how he dies and why. It was an interesting way of sorting the chronological order of the tragic event that led to his death. Although the order of events where mixed back and forth from past to present. The character’s in the novella also had an interesting point of view, which made it even more of a mystery to why they would not help Santiago in his death to prevent it. This short novella was very good.
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