Chronicles of a Death Foretold

Essay by beckjainUniversity, Bachelor'sA, December 2007

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An Examination of Honor Codes and Tradition in Chronicle of a Death ForetoldAlthough a relatively short novel in length, Gabriel Garcia Marquez crafted his Chronicle of a Death Foretold to be a complex portrait of a small Latin American village. It is the purpose of this essay to describe and analyze the roles that honor code and tradition assume in the chain of events that culminate in Santiago Nasar's death. The book can be read as a narrative entailing the sins caused by outdated beliefs or as a tribute of penitence following such a sordid affair. However, the main concern is how an entire town allows a murder to transpire even though it is publicly announced and ample opportunity is given to prevent it. It will be revealed here that hypocritical honor codes are to blame for this gruesome act.

Throughout the novel, each person in the village is given a chance to prevent the murder; still little is done to stand in the way of the perpetrators of the crime.

It is tradition for women to remain virtuous until married. Failure to do so results in general scorn and dishonor. Hypocrisy in this practice is seen by the actions of the men of the town. They are allowed to be promiscuous and to visit prostitutes. As an example, the town whore is portrayed by the narrator as "she who did away with [his] generation's virginity" (Marquez 74). Ironically, even though she is a prostitute, she is the only woman who seems to escape the binds of tradition and conformity.

In reality, Santiago is a definite womanizer himself, "nipping the bud of any wayward virgin" (Marquez 104). This follows suit with the town's acceptance of the Angela Vicario naming him to be the one who deflowered her and subsequently...