In the novel “A Chronicle of a Death Foretold” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, many different aspects are explored such as culture, magic realism, irony and how these connect along with the narration. Marques develops a story about Santiago Nasar’s tragical death using these aspects to tell the story. This essay seeks to demonstrate how the effects of magic realism, the culture of townspeople and how the use of irony marks the fate of Santiago Nasar. Magic realism holds the definition of “A literary or artistic genre in which realistic narrative or technique is combined with surreal elements of dream or fantasy” .Order now
In the novel structure, narration along with multiple perspectives defines the magic realism that is evident in the novel. The format of the novel is a chronicle as the title has revealed. Chronicles are made in the way that the information is based on witness accounts, information gathered from many different places and perspectives. In the novel, the narrator speaks in 1st person narration, but because of the different accounts, the narration suddenly becomes omniscient, all-knowing, all though this would be more common to see in a 3rd person point of view.
This would then be able to signify the narrator as not just one person, but several people (since that is the way chronicles work) telling the story of Santiago Nasar, giving the feeling of magic realism through multiple-perspectives in one narrator. Along with the constant repetition of stating that Nasar was going to die it confirms the theme of fate and how predestined it was all along. It is already recognized in the first sentence of the novel “On the day that they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on. (p. 1), the author uses the chronicle structure to inflict the flickering of different witness accounts which leads to play of timeline.
The novel is based on different stories, again built on witness accounts that all lead to the same conclusion – Santiago Nasar dying – the inevitable fate. This concludes that the structure gives the inevitable fate of Santiago’s life be left in the hands of the Vicario brothers and that all the people around him had no power to stop it, “It’s as if it had already happened” (p. 62)
Another evidence of this is also on the first page “He’d dreamed he was going through a grove of timber trees where a gentle drizzle was falling, and for an instant he was happy in his dream, but when he awoke he felt completely spattered with bird shit” (p. 1) the obscure difference between dream and reality of the novel, again a use of magic realism, confirms the foreshadowed fate of Santiago Nasar. Secondly, the fate of Santiago Nasar is also based on the culture and society at which the tragedy occurs at. South American culture in this society is deeply rooted, as this town was very enclosed. There was not much communication.
It is to the extent when the bishop plans to come for a visit, it becomes the event of the year and everyone in town prepares for it. To emphasize, this means that it is very isolated, which means that the culture is deeply rooted and has not developed – it is still quite conservative. Among these deeply rooted cultural beliefs machismo/honor and beliefs of superstition are present in the novel. Machismo is well-presented in the characters of the Vicario brothers. They have to be the men in the family as the father cannot work, so they have to take care of the work that the father otherwise would have done.
So, when taking up the role they had been given as the men of the family, the “issue” of their sister Angela not being a virgin anymore inevitably had to be dealt with by them. It had to be done, “There’s no way out of this. It’s as if it had already happened” (p. 62), it was fated. This situation is directly connected to honor, as Angela marrying someone directly represents the family. When she reveals that Santiago Nasar took her virginity, the only thing that needed to be done to restore this damage of honor was to kill him. Superstition is also an important part of their cultural beliefs.
Many of the dreams and thoughts were interpreted as a meaning of life. Santiago Nasar’s mother had a “well-earned reputation as an accurate interpreter of other people’s dreams” (p. 2), emphasizing the importance of superstition and magical belief. Tragically, in the end his mother misinterpreted his dreams and could not help him, along with the rest of the town, again implying his inevitable fate. The ones who could have helped “and still didn’t do it consoled themselves with the pretext that affairs of honor are sacred monopolies with access only for those who are part of the drama.
Honor is love. ” (p. 98), conveys the importance of honor and how people should not intervene with other people’s business. This all leads to Santiago Nasar’s inevitable fate. Lastly, irony plays a major role in rendering the predetermined fate of the people of town. There did not seem to be a single force that could stop the Vicario brother from pursuing what they had to do, not even themselves. The reason for killing Santiago Nasar being “… legitimate defense of honor” (p. 48), made it difficult for them, even though they themselves did not want to go through with it.
Clotilde Armenta is used to observe the brothers and the people around them that could have stopped it. The officer Leandro Pornoy did not believe what he was told (that the brothers were going to kill Santiago Nasar) and continued his day in peace. “He’d settled so many fights between friends the night before that he was in no hurry for another one. ” (p. 56) the irony is very clear here. He could have easily stopped the brothers, who wanted him to, but he did not. Right after the mayor sees them and pursues to take away their knives, thinking “Now they haven’t got anything to kill anybody with” (p. 7) had he arrested them, the hunt would have been disrupted, hence clearing yet again another evidence of the inevitable fate of Santiago Nasar.
The people that could have stopped the murder did not, simply because of disbelief or just did not feel like it at that time. Even when the brothers spread it around the people, the source of gossip, did not quite believe it as well, “We thought it was drunkards baloney” (p. 52) a butcher had stated. A lot of people agreed with this. This, again, strengthens the theory of inevitable fate.
Through these witness accounts we get to know the different perspectives, and each time there is this slight hope building up in the chances of Santiago Nasar getting warned, but gets crushed as we once again get told that Santiago Nasar dies – his predetermined fate. In conclusion, the different perspectives leading up to the inevitable fate of Santiago Nasar, explain how and why it was so difficult to stop it. How it all coincidentally worked out, how the culture of the town restricted it from helping Santiago Nasar and how the irony of it was not predicted in time.