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    Death Foretold and The House of the Spirits Essay

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    The Significance of Names in the Plots of Chronicle of a Death Foretold and The House of the Spirits In Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Marquez uses actual names that appear to be non-symbolic with a minor exception. The way that Marquez uses names adds more to the uniqueness of the truth and falsehood of the plot. Conversely, in The House of the Spirits by Isabella Allende, names are very significant and symbolic. The House of the Spirits contains names that clearly symbolize that person’s role and possible fate in the novel.

    In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, the plot involves much confusion and lacks chronological order; the novel shows subliminal confusion both in the structure and the climax of the novel. Names in the novel add to the confusion by bringing reality amidst magical realism, fictions and fantasy. The word “chronicle” means to record in a timely order, however, the book is actually told through the eyes of many viewers of the Santiago Nasaar murder in a non-sequential order, for it contradicts the title and presents situational irony.

    In essence, this shows the reader that there will be irony in the novel and one of the ways this irony is portrayed is through the use of names. Chronicle of a Death Foretold does indeed encompass an actual event (Nasaar’s murder) that has occurred, so the plot can be seen as more of a realistic one based on that asset. However, this reality, which is in part projected by real names (Angela Vicario, Pedro Vicario, Bayardo San Roman, etc. ), adds confusion to the plot because it conflicts Hopper 2 with the magical realism that is promoted in the book.

    Magical realism is represented by multiple references to clairvoyance and even towards God in the novel. It is also represented by the timeline through which the story is told; the story dwells in and out of the past, future and told through many viewpoints, and through these, fantasy and fictions are presented. Names in Chronicle of a Death Foretold affect the plot by adding confusion to it. Though it seems that names have hardly any significance in the plot of Chronicle of a Death Foretold, there is an exception.

    To even further confuse the plot, a highly symbolic name is present in the book through the main character, Santiago Nasaar. The name “Santiago” is the Spanish translation for “Saint”, which in turn correlates to Jesus Christ in the novel respectively. Through Santiago’s name, the reader is meant to perceive Santiago Nasaar as somewhat of a Jesus Christ figure. This comparison is plausible and very intriguing in that Santiago’s death is foretold, just as Jesus Christ’s death is foretold in the Bible.

    Most importantly, Santiago is an innocent victim killed not because he had sex with a young girl, but because he was a foreigner and because of this, an easy target of hatred. In relation to Santiago Nasaar, Jesus Christ is also seen as an innocent figure in the Bible, for he is condemned to crucifixion for blasphemy but was really only teaching the Word of God, he is also seen as a sinless human in Christianity which further promotes his innocence. Furthermore, the townspeople prompt and carry on Santiago Nasaar’s death, mainly because someone has to be the scapegoat and take the blame due to Angela Vicario’s loss of virginity.

    Even this action in the book correlates to the last hours of Jesus Christ’s life, for in the last of hours of Jesus Christ, his death was greatly supported by the townspeople. Hopper 3 So as Nasaar is presented as a “Christ-Figure”, it opposes the fact that all other names presented in the book are surprisingly non-representational. It also concludes that the book is made to confuse the reader by making a rather confusing plot via extreme variance and lack of chronological order.

    In House of the Spirits, names are very representational of characters and character’s traits throughout the novel, and also have a profound effect on the book. One of the main characters in the novel, Clara, whose diaries make the novel fifty years after her death, has a very symbolic name. In one instance, “Claire” is a nickname for Clara, this nickname and the very name itself resembles the word “clairvoyant”, meaning one who can see into the future and one who perceives things beyond the natural range of the senses.

    This foreshadows the fact that she will have psychic capabilities and affects the plot in that she communicates with spirits and even builds rooms for them, hence the title The House of the Spirits. If the similarity between Clara’s name and her capabilities isn’t coincidental enough, the name “Clara” is late Latin in origin and derives from the feminine adjective “clarus”, meaning “famous” in Latin. Thus the title of her name is synonymous with her role in The House of the Spirits in that she is perhaps the most “famous” character in the novel.

    Nearly every event in the story revolves around her writings, which are then read by Alba to form the major portion of the novel. She is also “famous” in the novel because her gift to communicate with the dead. By this ability, she often attracts multitudes of people. Clara’s name in House of The Spirits is one that is highly symbolic and affects the plot by portraying her role in the novel. More examples include the names of characters such as Alba, and Rosa, which are also highly symbolic of their roles in the story. The name Alba is derived from the Latin word meaning “dawn” and can also mean “sunrise”. This name suits her role in the

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    Death Foretold and The House of the Spirits Essay. (2017, Nov 26). Retrieved from

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