Academic journal article Asia - Pacific Science and Culture Journal

Mochismo in Marquez's Chronicle of A Death Foretold

Academic journal article Asia - Pacific Science and Culture Journal

Mochismo in Marquez's Chronicle of A Death Foretold

Article excerpt

Keywords: machismo, macho, manhood

Abstract: This paper aims to explore the issue of machismo as a Latin American definition__ entered to literature__ in the novel of chronicle of a death Foretold written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Basically, having strength defines being machismo (macho). To be a macho man, one must first be physically healthy and have a pretty mannish figure. The exterior appearance of a macho man is major. Machismo-an important part of Chronicle of a Death Foretold-can be seen in the emphasis on male pride in the novel and on the sexual behavior of the male characters. This investigation will go through the novel according to the definition mentioned from different angles.

1. Introduction

Chronicle of a Death Foretold consists of many different themes that can be recognized by the reader. One of these themes is the topic machismo. Machismo is a strong or exaggerated sense of manliness, sense of power, or the right to dominate. This theme in turn can be related to the theme of moral responsibility. In this novel the power to dominate is aimed towards women. Machismo used in this novel can also be observed as a form of emphasis on male pride and on the characters sexual behaviour. This story takes place during a time when women were looked at and considered to be inferior to men. Women at that time were looked at as a possession. They were the possession of their fathers, husbands, and even brothers. That is considered to be machismo.

The ongoing novel written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is one of his best known pieces of work. The storyline of Chronicle of a Death Foretold revolves around the death of a man marked as a young bride perpetrator. In the novel the murder is recounted in a journalistic style. The narrator investigates the murder 27 years after the fact. The story is about Bayardo San Roman, a rich, mysterious stranger to the town who arranges a marriage with Angela Vicario. On their wedding night Bayardo returns his new wife to her family because she was not a virgin. Her parents beat a name of the offender out of her and she names Santiago Nasar, a rich, handsome man about town. Her two brothers then kill him early then morning after the wedding.

The central action which shapes and informs every page of Chronicle of a Death Foretold is the murder of the twenty-one-year-old aristocrat, Santiago Nasar, by the Vicario brothers in a "legitimate defense" of their sister's honor. The novel consists of a detailed history of the circumstances of the murder taken by the narrator, a journalist and former friend of the victim, twenty-seven years after the incident in question. The long range effects of this murder on the citizens of the small unnamed Latin American town in which it occurs, and their tacit complicity in the crime itself, are revealed in the course of the narrator's history. In the end, the question of whether Santiago Nasar actually deserved his fate remains unanswered. Why he was killed, how his death could have been prevented, and the moment-by-moment events leading up to the crime and the final brutal act are meticulously set down but, finally, the narrator is unable to come to any conclusions despite the evidence he has amassed.

In a society of rigid hierarchies and strict codes of behavior such as the one Garcia Marquez examines in this novel, deeper motivations can be seen to have been at work in influencing the actions of the townspeople. Economic and social inequities make Santiago Nasar a target of hatred even as he is an object of admiration. "Handsome, a man of his word, and with a fortune at twenty-one,. Nasar moves freely through the town in a privileged existence, afforded by money and maleness.

The inevitability of Nasar's murder becomes the most overwhelming aspect of the narrator's investigation. Too many forces, some explicable, some inexplicable, seem to be at work in the same direction. The cult of machismo, seen in the riotous drinking, the prevalence of weapons, the casual boasting which, in this instance proves to be more than mere words, even the repressed anger of women who are victimized by the culture in which they live, all combine to ensure the murder of the young Nasar. …

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