Vicarious Living Essay
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In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s book Chronicle of a Death Foretold our heroine is a young woman, one of many children in a poor family. Her name is Angela Vicario. Angela’s last name is Vicario – as in vicarious living – it is clearly connotated in this passage to show its meaning of a representative, or not the real one. In this passage of the Chronicle of a Death Foretold Marquez very efficiently utilizes his writing skills and literary devices to present us Angela’s thoughts.
Angela’s role in this stereotypical romance is that of an underprivileged woman who has found herself a husband, who is flashy and a wealthy outsider. Angela herself, however, resists this role until after she had been returned to the family. This resistance involves rejecting the refined marital relationship that everyone else seems to accept. Her mother is urging her to marry Bayardo San Roman for his wealth because love can be learned. This indicates a belief that one husband is as good as another and that money is what separates them. Angela finally accepts her role in this stereotypical romance along with its refined relationships. Her mother is right. Love can be learned. It is learned by Angela under the influence of rejection and the lash. She begins loving the man she rightfully hated. She starts writing hundreds of letters to try and convince him to return to her. The letters that Angela sends to Bayardo explore the notion of love letter.
Whereas the function of love letters is traditionally to express emotion or convey longing, Bayardo does not value Angela’s love letters for their content. By not opening any of the love letters, Bayardo shows that the repeated act of sending a love letter, rather than the love letter’s actual content, demonstrates the love that Angela feels for him. Love letters are often similar and interchangeable; their content is less persuasive to Bayardo than the fact that they continue to arrive. His attitude makes the love letters part of the ritual of love, and underscores his relationship with Angela as another ritual within the story. The reader’s realization that the marriage of the hero and the heroine will be founded on the quantities of stereotypes not the conversations. This removes the whole aspect of a happy ending.
The sentence structure in this passage is very important and used very skilfully by Marquez. The narrator describes Angela writing her letters as though he is able to feel her raw emotions. He employs longer sentences when describing scenes of her writing her letters, and switches back to short sentences when describing her dismay. Marquez also uses many words twice in a row to emphasize the anxiousness of Angela in wait “On Friday she gave it (letter) to the postmistress who came Friday…” However, when describing the day Bayardo had returned he only described it as “halfway through one August day”. This lack of information shows how little affection Angela feels for Bayardo. Also Angela weighs her love as more passionate than Bayardo’s. She was trying to put a value on her love. Her name is a very good metaphor which described this. Her name meaning not the real one represents how her love is not real.
Also the use of literary devises gave the reader a more realistic view of the story. Marquez uses magic realism and depicts a world where Angela is convinced that she has slept with Bayardo and lost her virginity for the first time. She is unashamed to reveal this in her letter and talks about it with full feeling and passion. Marquez describes her feelings as very real and has exaggerated a few details. This gives this passage a sense of magic realism making the reader believe Angela. Marquez’s use of imagery in the description of Bayardo’s return is very significant. He returns just as he had first met Angela. Nothing about him has changed, except for the obvious exterior. This implies to the reader that Bayardo that had not changed his way of thinking nor has his character or personality.
The contrast Marquez provides between the past and present represents to the reader his love and passion for Angela. Moreover, Marquez also uses embroidery several times in this passage. Embroidery is connotated positively in this passage to symbolize an invisible thread that ties together both Angela and Bayardo. The letters are the invisible thread between the two. Angela reaches consciousness through a protracted process of letter writing. This is clearly the function of the letters, which are never opened by her Bayardo. As the letters progress they mature and grow with Angela. Each letter has a beautiful crescendo quality and each letter shows Angela’s growth spiritually and mentally.
This passage is not one of the major important passages in the story, since it does not give more information on the murder of Santiago; however, what this passage does provide is a key understanding of how Angela’s mind works. She has been like a prisoner, just writing letters and just hoping to be free one day. Writing all those letters Angela comes out at the end as a liberated woman, individuated and separate. She achieves the emancipation through the magic of the letter.