- Life Will Be The Death Of Me Pdf Free Download Free
- Life Will Be The Death Of Me Pdf Free Download Windows 10
1) Death is the doorway to rest from our labors. The word 'labor' describes a wearing out from work, a wearisome toil. It suggests to us that life is often hard. It can be full of difficulties, disappointments, and disease. God promises us rest from all of that. 2) Death is the doorway into that rest for God's people. We need to thank God for. Details of the accident when you complete the Life Claim form. We will also need a completed Attending Physician's Statement (included as part of your Life Claim form). If newspaper clippings are available to provide further clarification of the circumstances of death, these are helpful and should be submitted as well. Ignis Scientia Will Be The Death Of Me. Apparently INFP Feel free to talk to me in either English, French, German or Japanese. DO NOT REPOST OR. Free download or read online The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud pdf (ePUB) book. The first edition of the novel was published in 2004, and was written by Ben Sherwood. The book was published in multiple languages including English, consists of 273 pages and is available in Paperback format. The main characters of this fiction, romance story are Sam Turner, Charlie St. Life and Death in Proverbs Richard W. Medina download Z-Library. Download books for free.
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- Poems for funerals
Poems and readings for a funeral service
By: Susan Dugdale Last modified: 04-30-2021
Many of these free funeral poems and readings you will recognize as old friends because you will have heard or read them before. Some will be new to you.
All of them deal with the thoughts and emotions arising from the fundamental questions we all ask ourselves about death, dying, grief, loss and life.
The collection is deliberately eclectic: reflecting the enormous variation of interpretation we bring to the profound events in our lives.
The poems are not in any particular order and come from widely diverse time periods and cultures. You'll find some are philosophical, some are comforting, while others are painfully personal.
I hope there is something here to meet your need.
How to best get what you need from these poems
Give yourself time and read them through slowly, allowing yourself to fully take in what they're saying.
When you find a poem you like, try reading it aloud. (The link will take you to a page covering how to read a poem for people at a special event like a funeral, birthday party or a wedding service.)
I've also recorded some of these poems myself. You'll find links to the audio below the text.
Please take what you want. Just copy and paste.
Where a poem is attributed to a specific person, I've included their name. Please do the same if you use any of them.
Remember me when I am gone away,
Gone far away into the silent land;
When you can no more hold me by the hand,
Nor I half turn to go, yet turning stay.
Remember me when no more day by day
You tell me of our future that you planned:
Only remember me; you understand
It will be late to counsel then or pray.
Yet if you should forget me for a while
And afterwards remember, do not grieve:
For if the darkness and corruption leave
A vestige of the thoughts that once I had,
Better by far you should forget and smile
Than that you should remember and be sad.
From: Goblin Market, The Prince's Progress and Other Poems by Christina Rosetti, 1862.
Listen to Remember Me
Why are these FREE funeral poems?
To the best of my knowledge all of the material here is freely available in the public domain and not subject to copy-right laws or is available for 'fair use'.
However if I have unintentionally infringed anyone's copyright please contact me. I will remove the poem/reading immediately.
To Those Whom I love & Those Who Love Me
When I am gone, release me, let me go.
I have so many things to see and do,
You mustn't tie yourself to me with too many tears,
But be thankful we had so many good years.
I gave you my love, and you can only guess
How much you've given me in happiness.
I thank you for the love that you have shown,
But now it is time I traveled on alone.
So grieve for me a while, if grieve you must,
Then let your grief be comforted by trust.
It is only for a while that we must part,
So treasure the memories within your heart.
I won't be far away for life goes on.
And if you need me, call and I will come.
Though you can't see or touch me, I will be near.
And if you listen with your heart, you'll hear,
All my love around you soft and clear.
And then, when you come this way alone,
I'll greet you with a smile and a 'Welcome Home'.
You'll find comfort and support in this free series of inspirational messages. They're my gift to you.
I Am Standing Upon The Seashore
I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white
sails to the morning breeze and starts
for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength.
I stand and watch her until at length
she hangs like a speck of white cloud
just where the sea and sky come
to mingle with each other.
Then, someone at my side says;
'There, she is gone!'
Gone from my sight. That is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull
and spar as she was when she left my side
and she is just as able to bear her
load of living freight to her destined port.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone
at my side says, 'There, she is gone!'
There are other eyes watching her coming,
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout;
'Here she comes!'
And that is dying.
Henry Van Dyke (American short-story Writer, Poet and Essayist, 1852-1933)
Death Be Not Proud (Holy Sonnet 10)
Death be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadfull, for, thou art not soe,
For, those, whom thou think'st, thou dost overthrow,
Die not, poore death, nor yet canst thou kill mee.
From rest and sleepe, which but thy pictures bee,
Much pleasure, then from thee, much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee doe goe,
Rest of their bones, and soules deliverie.
Thou art slave to Fate, Chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poyson, warre, and sicknesse dwell,
And poppie, or charmes can make us sleepe as well,
And better than thy stroake; why swell'st thou then?
One short sleepe past, wee wake eternally,
And death shall be no more; death, thou shalt die.
Listen to a reading of Death Be Not Proud
Click the image below to hear the reading of the poem I've uploaded to my fledgling YouTube channel.
Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi
Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where this is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith;
Where there is despair, hope;
Where there is darkness, light
And where there is sadness, joy.
O Divine Master,
grant that I may not so much seek to be consoled as to console;
to be understood as to understand;
to be loved as to love.
For it is in giving that we receive;
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned,
and it is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Love means to learn to look at yourself
The way one looks at distant things,
For you are only one thing among many.
And whoever sees that way heals his heart,
Without knowing it, from various ills
A bird and a tree say to him: Friend.
Then he wants to use himself and things
So that they stand in the glow of ripeness.
It doesn't matter whether he knows what he serves:
Who serves best doesn't always understand.
To the living, I am gone,
To the sorrowful, I will never return,
To the angry, I was cheated,
But to the happy, I am at peace,
And to the faithful, I have never left.
I cannot speak, but I can listen.
I cannot be seen, but I can be heard.
So as you stand upon a shore gazing at a beautiful sea,
As you look upon a flower and admire its simplicity,
Remember me in your heart:
Your thoughts, and your memories,
Of the times we loved,
The times we cried,
The times we fought,
The times we laughed.
For if you always think of me,
I will never have gone.
(Although I've tried, I can't find the name of the person who wrote this poem. If you know please tell me.)
Afternoon in February
The day is ending,
The night is descending,
The marsh is frozen,
The river dead.
Through clouds like ashes
The red sun flashes
On village windows
That glimmer red.
The snow recommences;
The buried fences
Mark no longer
The road o'er the plain;
While through the meadows,
Like fearful shadows,
A funeral train.
The bell is pealing,
And every feeling
Within me responds
To the dismal knell;
Shadows are trailing,
My heart is bewailing
And tolling within
Like a funeral bell.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
Remember Me - I Will Live Forever
The day will come when my body will lie upon a white sheet neatly tucked under four corners of a mattress located in a hospital; busily occupied with the living and the dying. At a certain moment a doctor will determine that my brain has ceased to function and that, for all intents and purposes, my life has stopped.
When that happens, do not attempt to instill artificial life into my body by the use of a machine. And don't call this my deathbed. Let it be called the bed of life, and let my body be taken from it to help others lead fuller lives.
Give my sight to the man who has never seen a sunrise, a baby's face or love in the eyes of a woman.
Give my heart to a person whose own heart has caused nothing but endless days of pain.
Give my blood to the teenager who was pulled from the wreckage of his car, so that he might live to see his grandchildren play.
Give my kidneys to the one who depends on a machine to exist from week to week.
Take my bones, every muscle, every fiber and nerve in my body and find a way to make a crippled child walk.
Explore every corner of my brain.
Take my cells, if necessary, and let them grow so that, someday a speechless boy will shout at the crack of a bat and a deaf girl will hear the sound of rain against her window.
Burn what is left of me and scatter the ashes to the winds to help the flowers grow.
If you must bury something, let it be my faults, my weakness and all prejudice against my fellow man.
Give my sins to the devil.
Give my soul to God.
If, by chance, you wish to remember me, do it with a kind deed or word to someone who needs you. If you do all I have asked, I will live forever.
Robert N. Test (1926-1994)
Psalm 23 - The Lord's my Shepherd
The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.
He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters.
He restoreth my soul: he leadeth me in the paths of righteousness for his name's sake.
Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.
Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of mine enemies: thou anointest my head with oil; my cup runneth over.
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.
All Is Well
Death is nothing at all,
I have only slipped into the next room.
I am I and you are you,
Whatever we were to each other, that we are still.
Call me by my old familiar name,
Speak to me in the easy way which you always used,
Put no difference in your tone,
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow,
Laugh as we always laughed at the little jokes we enjoyed together.
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me.
Let my name be ever the household world that it always was,
Let it be spoken without effect, without the trace of shadow on it.
Life means all that it ever meant.
It is the same as it ever was, there is unbroken continuity.
Why should I be out of mind because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you, for an interval, somewhere very near,
Just around the corner.
All is well.
By Henry Scott Holland (1847-1918) Canon of St Paul's Cathedral, London, UK
Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.
I am a thousand winds that blow.
I am the diamond glint on snow.
I am the sunlight on ripened grain.
I am the gentle autumn rain.
When you wake in the morning hush,
I am the swift, uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circling flight.
I am the soft starlight at night.
Do not stand at my grave and weep.
I am not there, I do not sleep.
(Do not stand at my grave and cry.
I am not there, I did not die!)
Life Will Be The Death Of Me Pdf Free Download Free
Listen to a reading of Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep
Then Almitra spoke, saying, 'We would ask now of Death.'
And he said: 'You would know the secret of death. But how shall you find it unless you seek it in the heart of life?
The owl whose night-bound eyes are blind unto the day cannot unveil the mystery of light. If you would indeed behold the spirit of death, open your heart wide unto the body of life. For life and death are one, even as the river and the sea are one.
In the depth of your hopes and desires lies your silent knowledge of the beyond. And like seeds dreaming beneath the snow your heart dreams of spring. Trust the dreams, for in them is hidden the gate to eternity.
Your fear of death is but the trembling of the shepherd when he stands before the king whose hand is to be laid upon him in honor. Is the shepherd not joyful beneath his trembling, that he shall wear the mark of the king? Yet is he not more mindful of his trembling?
For what is it to die but to stand naked in the wind and to melt into the sun? And what is to cease breathing, but to free the breath from its restless tides, that it may rise and expand and seek God unencumbered?
Only when you drink from the river of silence shall you indeed sing.
And when you have reached the mountain top, then you shall begin to climb.
And when the earth shall claim your limbs, then shall you truly dance.
Kahlil Gibran - from The Prophet, 1923
And a woman spoke, saying, tell us of pain.
And he said;
Your pain is the breaking of the shell that encloses your understanding.
Even as the stone of the fruit must break, that its heart may stand in the sun, so must you know pain.
And could you keep your heart in wonder at the daily miracles of your life, your pain would not seem less wondrous than your joy;
And you would accept the seasons of your heart, even as you have always accepted the seasons that pass over your fields.
And you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.
Much of your pain is self-chosen. It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self. Therefore trust the physician, and drink his remedy in silence and tranquility.
For his hand, though heavy and hard, is guided by the tender hand of the Unseen. And the cup he brings, though it burn your lips, has been fashioned of the clay which the Potter has moistened with His own sacred tears.
Kahlil Gibran - from The Prophet, 1923
Bury my body but don't bury my beliefs
A time will come when my life will cease. But when that time comes, I ask that you remember these things:
BURY MY BODY but don't bury my beliefs
BURY MY HEART but don't bury my love
BURY MY EYES but not my vision
BURY MY FEET but not the path of my life
BURY MY HANDS but don't bury my diligent efforts
BURY MY SHOULDERS but not the concerns I carried
BURY MY VOICE but not my message
BURY MY MIND but don't bury my dreams
BURY ME but don't bury my life.
IF YOU MUST BURY SOMETHING, LET IT BE MY FAULTS AND MY WEAKNESSES. BUT LET MY LIFE CONTINUE ON IN YOU.
Randall Rohr/Captain Ronnie Melancon*
*I was made aware of this poem through a site visitor and have seen it attributed to both Randall Rohr and Captain Ronnie Melancon. If you know who definitely wrote it please tell me. I would like to make sure I have the correct attribution and that I'm not infringing copyright. Thanks.
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Grieving is a zig, zag, slip, sliding journey.
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Life Will Be The Death Of Me Pdf Free Download Windows 10
If you're still looking for something suitable be sure to browse through my other page of funeral poems and readings which includes, W.H. Auden's 'Funeral Blues', used in the film 'Four Weddings and a Funeral.'
There is also this large selection of 'Calm, Comfort, & Heal' themed inspirational quotations drawn from widely varied sources many of which would make very good funeral readings.
Or perhaps you'd like to read a Sample Eulogy?
The link will take you to two written by me. We also are privileged to have a growing collection submitted by site visitors. You'll find those by clicking eulogy samples.
Would you welcome creative funeral ideas?
If you're struggling to find what you need, help is just a click away.
Creative Funeral Ideas is an invaluable resource offering guidance and support.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold occupies a unique place among Márquez's works because the narrative is both journalistic and fictitious. García frequently uses journalistic techniques in his fiction. For example, in most of his novels he creates a high level of interest in the very first line of the text, and employs many journalistic details based on close observation throughout the entire novel. Márquez himself said that he became a good journalist by reading literature, and that journalism in turn helped him maintain contact with reality, which he considers essential to writing good literature. In the 1920s and 1930s, the Latin-American novel did little besides realistically portray of regional or national life and customs. In terms of narrative technique, this fiction functioned within the realist tradition of the nineteenth century. In the late 1940s, Latin-American novels changed, as they had been influenced by the modernist novels of Woolf, Joyce, and Faulkner. Such modernist novelists were well-known among Latin American intellectuals by the 1930s. Along with contemporaries such as the Cuban Alejo Carpentier, the Guatemalan Miguel Angel Asturias, the Mexican Agustin Yanez, and the Argentine Leopoldo Marechal, Gabriel García Márquez contributed novels that insisted on the right of invention. The books were concerned with the construction of new realities, not the reflection of existing themes. One technique that came into being in this fiction is magic realism, which is the incorporation of fantastic or mythical elements matter-of-factly into otherwise realistic fiction. Alejo Carpentier was the first to use the term when he recognized the tendency of his region's authors to illustrate the mundane by means of the extraordinary. Colombia prides itself on being a stronghold of Spanish tradition. Gabriel García Márquez became part of a coastal group that wanted to leave Bogota and the conservative attitudes prevalent in much of Colombia. Coastal towns like Barranquilla were more supportive of innovative and imaginative literature. Márquez and his contemporaries involved in this coastal movement were called the 'Group of Barranquilla.' Márquez's first novel, Leafstorm, strongly reflects Faulkner's influence in its structure and narrative point of view. In the 1940s, Márquez read and learned from Faulkner's novels. Márquez, who was originally planning to study law after graduating from university, said that when he first read Faulkner, he knew he had to become a writer.
Chronicle of a Death Foretold showcases Márquez's skills as a journalist rather than as a novelist. After the publication of the novel, journalists poured into Sucre, the town where the real murder that inspired the book took place, in order to interview the surviving characters. In a strange twist, real life replicated the novel—the novel tells the story of a the narrator's return to the Colombian town to resolve the details of a murder twenty years after it had taken place.
The narrative outlines the events surrounding the murder of Santiago Nasar, a young man who is thought to have taken the virginity of Angela Vicario. On her wedding night, after discovering that she was not a virgin, Angela's husband, Bayardo San Roman, returns her to her house. Angela's twin brothers, Pedro Vicario and Pablo Vicario, ask her who took her virginity, and she tells them that Santiago Nasar did. The brothers find Santiago and kill him. The narrative is non-linear. The narrator begins the story by telling us about Santiago Nasar's household the morning he was murdered. In the course of the chapter, we learn that Santiago lived with his mother, Placida Linero; their cook, Victoria Guzman; and her daughter, Divina Flor. Santiago's father, Ibrahim Nasar, has died three years previously. After his father died, Santiago took over the family ranch, which has been very successful; the Nasars are wealthy in their community. The day that Santiago is murdered was a significant day in town because the Bishop was coming by boat to bless the marriage of Angela Vicario and Bayardo San Roman. Many people were heading over to the dock to see the boats. Pedro and Pablo Vicario were sitting in the local milk-shop, which was en route to the dock, so that they could see Santiago Nasar either going or returning in order to track him down and kill him. The narrator's sister learns that Angela Vicario was returned home on the night of her wedding. Bayardo San Roman had come to town to find a bride. After deciding on Angela, the courtship was short. Because Bayardo came from a prestigious, wealthy family, and the Vicarios were relatively poor, Angela did not really have a choice, even though she did not love Bayardo at the time they were wed. The night before the murder, there had been lots of wedding revelry that had continued into the early morning at a local whorehouse run by Maria Alejandrina Cervantes, where Santiago Nasar had been carousing with the twins and the narrator until early in the morning. After returning home and finding their sister in disgrace, the Vicario brothers set out to avenge her honor by murdering Santiago Nasar. Even though they repeatedly announced their intent to murder him, the butcher, the police officer, and the Colonel all thought that the Vicarios are largely bluffing. Clothilde Armenta, the proprietor of the milk shop, even told the local priest about what the Vicario twins were threatening to do. However, in the excitement surrounding the arrival of the bishop, he forgot about her warning. After the murder, the entire Vicario family left town because of the disgrace the combination of events had brought upon their family. A week after the murder, Bayardo San Roman left with his family; they came and retrieved him by boat. The Vicario brothers were imprisoned for three years. After their release from prison, Pablo proceeded to marry his betrothed, Prudencia Cotes, and Pedro went back into the armed forces. After Bayardo returned Angela to her home on their wedding night, she fell in love with him. After she moved away from the town where she was disgraced, she wrote him letters every week for seventeen years, and eventually he returned to her. For years after the crime, it was all anyone in the town spoke of. The narrator tells how his friend Cristo Bedoya searched frantically for Santiago the morning of the murder in order to warn him of the Vicario brothers' plan, but failed to find Santiago because he did not realize that Santiago had gone to the house of his fiance, Flora Miguel. Her father was the first to warn Santiago of the murder. At this point, there were crowds of people outside who had
come to see the Bishop but had lingered because they had heard the rumor that Santiago was to be killed. When he left Flora Miguel's house, Santiago was very confused. Clothilde Armenta yelled at him to run, and he ran the fifty yards to his front door. The Vicario brothers easily caught up with him, and stabbed him to death right outside of Santiago's front door.
Santiago Nasar Although much of the narrative is focused on him, Santiago Nasar remains a mystery throughout much of the novel. We are told that he was a child of a marriage of convenience and that he is open hearted. His appreciation of valor, prudence, firearms, and falconry, comes from his father, who is no longer alive. We also know that Santiago, had he lived longer, probably would have seduced Divina Flor, just as his father seduced her mother, Victoria Guzman. The narrator gives us somewhat random, fragmentary information with which to piece Santiago together. The narrative never explains any ambitions Santiago may have had, what motivated him to do things, or whether or not he actually loved his fiancée. The narrator's sister, Margot, tells us that he is handsome and rich, but we are never shown more that these facile, superficial traits. The reader learns that Santiago Nasar frequently dreams about trees, or birds in trees, and that he wakes up with a headache, but we don't know what he dreamed about when he was awake. The narrator seems so focused on collecting others' views of the day of the murder that the narrative neglects to give the reader a comprehensive picture of the victim of the crime. The narrator strongly implies that Santiago was innocent of the crime, and it does seem clear by Santiago's confused words right before his death that he had no idea what he was being killed for. That he was never seen with Angela Vicario also points to his innocence. But on the other hand, the reader knows that he would have had sex with Divina Flor if given the opportunity, so it is not entirely clear that he would not have been inclined to do so with Angela Vicario if given an opportunity.
Angela Vicario Angela Vicario is in many ways the main character of the story. She is the most quoted character in the novel, and has the strongest narrative voice. In addition, she is center of the mystery that the narrator is trying to unravel, since she is the only one who knows whether or not Santiago was truly the one who took her virginity, and she remains enigmatic at the end of the story because she never reveals whether or not he was guilty. Angela Vicario is a distant cousin of the narrator. As a young girl, she was the most beautiful of her four sisters. However, the narrator says she had a 'helpless air and a poverty of spirit that augured an uncertain future for her.' She used to sit in the window of her house, making cloth flowers, and the narrator thought she looked more and more destitute every year. He says that her 'penury of spirit had been aggravated by the years,' so much so that when
people discovered that Bayardo San Roman wanted to marry her, they thought it was an outsider's plan. Angela says she did not wish to marry him because he seemed like too much of a man for her. She thought he was stuck up, and that he was a Polack. She also felt that he did not court her, but merely ingratiated himself with her family, and that also irritated her. However, her parents would hear none of her objections; her mother told her that love could be learned. Her mother appears to have been right, though not in the sense that either she or Angela expected—Angela fell in love with Bayardo San Roman after he returned her to her house. When the narrator went to visit her years later, she answered all his questions 'with very good judgment and a sense of humor.' He says that 'she was so mature and witty that it was difficult to believe that she was the same person.' When he asks he once again if Santiago Nasar was the guilty party who had taken her virginity, she replied, 'Don't beat it to death, cousin. He was the one.' Her inexplicable obsession with Bayardo San Roman takes the form of a ritual: she begins writing letters to him, and it becomes a weekly habit of hers for seventeen years. The fact that he ultimately returns to her is no stranger than the act of writing a letter a week to someone who does not respond. Because he does come back to her, Angela Vicario triumphs in a sense-she has found the resolution she desired in her life. However, the conclusion of her love affair with Bayardo does not shed any light on the murder of Santiago Nasar-in terms of him, she would never say anything save to name him as the one who took her virginity. Though she seems like an honest person, it is difficult to tell whether she would have been willing to reveal the name of the man who truly took her virginity, especially if she still had feelings for him.
Pedro Vicario - The more serious of the two twins. It is his idea to kill Santiago Nasar. He spent time in the army, and after being released from prison he joins the army once again. Pablo Vicario - He is the twin who insists that the twins go through with the crime. He is betrothed to Prudencia Cotes, who he marries when he is released from jail. Bayardo San Roman - The man who marries Angela Vicario. He comes from a wealthy and prestigious family. When he arrives in town, he is described as having a slim waist and golden eyes. Purisima del Carmen - The mother of Angela Vicario. When her daughter is brought home by Bayardo San Roman, after he discovers she is not a virgin, Purisima beats her daughter; she is a strict mother. Poncio Vicario - He is Angela's father. He used to work as a goldsmith until the strain of the profession made him go blind. He dies shortly after his twin sons are sent to prison. Placida Linero - Santiago's mother. She has a well-earned reputation as an interpreter of dreams. She never forgives herself for misinterpreting the dream about trees and birds that her son had the night before his death. Maria Alejandrina Cervantes - An elegant whore with eyes like an 'insomniac leopard.' She eats excessively to mourn Santiago Nasar's death. Prudencia Cotes - Pablo Vicario's finance. She says she would not have married Pablo if he had not upheld the honor of his sister by killing the man who took her virginity. Ibrahim Nasar - Santiago's father, an Arab. He seduced Victoria Guzman when she was a teenager. He taught his son the art of falconry and his love of firearms.
Victoria Guzman - The Nasars' cook. She violently guts rabbits on the morning of the murder. She had an affair with Ibrahim Nasar when she was a teenager. Clothilde Armenta - The proprietress of the milk shop where the Vicarios wait to kill Santiago. She is an insightful woman, and can tell that the Vicario twins are tired and are killing Santiago only out of obligation. Don Rogelio de la Flor - Clothilde Armenta's husband. He doesn't listen to her when she warns him about the Vicario twins' plan. He dies of shock at age eighty-six when he sees the brutal way that the Vicarios murder Santiago. Divina Flor - Victoria Guzman's daughter. Santiago desires her sexually, but Victoria watches carefully to make sure he does not do anything to her. Margot - The narrator's sister. She feels that Santiago Nasar would be a good catch for any girl, since he is young, handsome, and wealthy. Cristo Bedoya - A friend of the narrator's and of Santiago Nasar. He runs all over town at the end of the book trying to warn Santiago of the Vicario's plan. Luis Enrique - The narrator's younger brother. He plays the guitar very well, and goes around with Santiago, Cristo, and the narrator when they go to serenade Bayardo and Angela on the night of their wedding. Father Amador - The local priest, who forgets to warn Santiago Nasar about the plot against him. Colonel Lazaro Aponte - The lazy Colonel who fails to prevent Santiago's murder because he is checking on his game of dominoes. Faustino Santos - The local butcher who alerts a local police officer that the Vicario brothers are talking about murdering Santiago. General Petronio San Roman and Alberta Simonds - Bayardo San Roman's parents. Alberta Simonds used to be the extremely beautiful; General Petronio San Roman and she drive up in a model T Ford. The General is impressively bedecked with war medals. Yamil Shaium - An Arab man who warns Cristo Bedoya about the Viacrio twins' plan to murder Santiago. He and Santiago have an Arabic play on words that they exchange whenever they meet. Flora Miguel - The pretty, but uninteresting woman that Santiago Nasar was betrothed to marry. Nahir Miguel - The father of Flora Miguel. He is the one who warns Santiago that the Vicario brothers are waiting to kill him. Xius - A widower who owned the most beautiful house; he died of sadness because he sold it; the house held all of his dead wife's possessions. Mercedes Barcha - The narrator's eventual wife (and the name of Gabriel García Márquez's real wife). The narrator proposes to her at Angela and Bayardo's wddiing party.
Main Character Analysis
Santiago Nasar Although much of the narrative is focused on him, Santiago Nasar remains a mystery throughout much of the novel. We are told that he was a child of a marriage of convenience and that he is open hearted. His appreciation of valor, prudence, firearms, and falconry, comes from his father, who is no longer alive. We also know that Santiago, had he lived longer, probably would have seduced Divina Flor, just as his father seduced her mother,
Victoria Guzman. The narrator gives us somewhat random, fragmentary information with which to piece Santiago together. The narrative never explains any ambitions Santiago may have had, what motivated him to do things, or whether or not he actually loved his fiancée. The narrator's sister, Margot, tells us that he is handsome and rich, but we are never shown more that these facile, superficial traits. The reader learns that Santiago Nasar frequently dreams about trees, or birds in trees, and that he wakes up with a headache, but we don't know what he dreamed about when he was awake. The narrator seems so focused on collecting others' views of the day of the murder that the narrative neglects to give the reader a comprehensive picture of the victim of the crime. The narrator strongly implies that Santiago was innocent of the crime, and it does seem clear by Santiago's confused words right before his death that he had no idea what he was being killed for. That he was never seen with Angela Vicario also points to his innocence. But on the other hand, the reader knows that he would have had sex with Divina Flor if given the opportunity, so it is not entirely clear that he would not have been inclined to do so with Angela Vicario if given an opportunity.
Angela Vicario Angela Vicario is in many ways the main character of the story. She is the most quoted character in the novel, and has the strongest narrative voice. In addition, she is center of the mystery that the narrator is trying to unravel, since she is the only one who knows whether or not Santiago was truly the one who took her virginity, and she remains enigmatic at the end of the story because she never reveals whether or not he was guilty. Angela Vicario is a distant cousin of the narrator. As a young girl, she was the most beautiful of her four sisters. However, the narrator says she had a 'helpless air and a poverty of spirit that augured an uncertain future for her.' She used to sit in the window of her house, making cloth flowers, and the narrator thought she looked more and more destitute every year. He says that her 'penury of spirit had been aggravated by the years,' so much so that when people discovered that Bayardo San Roman wanted to marry her, they thought it was an outsider's plan. Angela says she did not wish to marry him because he seemed like too much of a man for her. She thought he was stuck up, and that he was a Polack. She also felt that he did not court her, but merely ingratiated himself with her family, and that also irritated her. However, her parents would hear none of her objections; her mother told her that love could be learned. Her mother appears to have been right, though not in the sense that either she or Angela expected—Angela fell in love with Bayardo San Roman after he returned her to her house. When the narrator went to visit her years later, she answered all his questions 'with very good judgment and a sense of humor.' He says that 'she was so mature and witty that it was difficult to believe that she was the same person.' When he asks he once again if Santiago Nasar was the guilty party who had taken her virginity, she replied, 'Don't beat it to death, cousin. He was the one.' Her inexplicable obsession with Bayardo San Roman takes the form of a ritual: she begins writing letters to him, and it becomes a weekly habit of hers for seventeen years. The fact that
he ultimately returns to her is no stranger than the act of writing a letter a week to someone who does not respond. Because he does come back to her, Angela Vicario triumphs in a sense-she has found the resolution she desired in her life. However, the conclusion of her love affair with Bayardo does not shed any light on the murder of Santiago Nasar-in terms of him, she would never say anything save to name him as the one who took her virginity. Though she seems like an honest person, it is difficult to tell whether she would have been willing to reveal the name of the man who truly took her virginity, especially if she still had feelings for him.
Themes, Motifs, and Symbols
Themes Ritual Manifestations of love in Chronicle of a Death Foretold are ritualistic, and the novel itself is a ritual which re-enacts Santiago Nasar's death. When Bayardo San Roman first comes to town, he decides to marry Angela Vicario, whom he has never met. His courtship of Angela demonstrates the rituals of Latin American marriage culture. He brings her a gift of a music box inlaid with mother-of-pearl for her birthday, and obtains everything his future bride asks for. The purpose of this courtship ritual is not to cause the lovers to fall deeper in love but rather to demonstrate the man's affluence and power. Personality does not determine worthiness; rather, their family and wealth do. Angela Vicario's obsessive letter writing is another example of ritual. Angela does not care what she says in her letters; she is more concerned with the fact that Bayardo is receiving them. The ritual of writing brings her happiness. Similarly, Bayardo San Roman does not read her letters, but receiving two thousand letters over the course of seventeen years gives him the certainty that she is serious in her desire for him to return to her. The novel's style is itself a ritual repetition of the events surrounding a crime. It does not follow a traditional narrative arc, but rather is told for the cathartic value of the act of telling. The only thing we gain from reading the story is the same limited knowledge of the occurrence that is available to the narrator. In this sense, the novel can be seen as a mere ritual of investigation as an end in itself with no other results or discoveries.
Honor In the culture of the Colombian town in which the narrative takes place, honor is taken very seriously. Nobody in the novel ever questions any action that is taken to preserve someone's honor, since it is commonly believed to be a fundamental moral trait that is vital to keep intact. A person without honor is an outcast in the community. All of the characters in the novel are influenced by this powerful construction of honor. The defense of this ideal is directly responsible for Santiago Nasar's murder. The Vicario brothers kill Santiago in order to restore the honor of their sister. She dishonors her family by marrying another man when she had already slept with someone else. In order for this wrong to be righted, her brothers must kill Santiago, the man who supposedly took her virginity, in order to clear her name. Though a few people in the community, like Clothilde Armenta and
Yamil Shaium, try to prevent the death from occurring, most people turned the other cheek, because they believed that the severity of the crime deserved a cruel punishment. The fact that death was considered a reasonable retribution for the crime of taking a girl's virginity indicates how awful it was to sleep with an unmarried woman; doing so ruined her chances of marrying well, and marriage was women's one way to advance in the world.
Motifs Magical Realism Gabriel García Márquez repeatedly uses strange, surreal details to highlight otherwise ordinary events. One instance of this is his description of the local brothel, which sounds so nice that the reader at first has trouble discerning what exactly Maria Alejandrina Cervantes does—though she is a whore, the description of her house is so beautiful that if one were to gloss over the description, they might perceive her house as an elegant domicile. Márquez uses magical realism in Chronicle of a Death Foretold to illustrate anecdotal digressions or details about characters that are not at all essential to the plot, though they are interesting. In the opening of the book, the narrator discusses the dream that Santiago Nasar has right before his death: '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.' This whimsical sort of detail works against the journalistic investigative style of the narrative, and sends the reader into several different conceptual areas between reality and fiction that he then has to disentangle.
Symbols We learn that both the narrator's and Santiago Nasar's mothers interpret symbols from dreams, but the overall importance or significance of symbols in the novel is never clearly linked to any other concept or idea that informs the work as a whole. This is especially true because the work is supposed to be journalistic and factual, so any such symbols work against the narrator's purported intent of clarifying the events surrounding Santiago Nasar's death, becoming purely anecdotal. Because they occur randomly, constantly, and without any easily discernible premeditated purpose, it is difficult to distinguish any recurring symbol that has a greater significance in the text as a whole.
Summary On the day he is eventually killed, Santiago Nasar wakes up at 5:30 a.m. to wait for the boat which is bringing the bishop. The night before, he had dreamt about trees. He woke up with a headache. Some people remember that the weather was cloudy that morning, others that it was fine, but all recall that Santiago was in a very good mood. The narrator, lying in the lap of Maria Alejandrina Cervantes, was wakened by the clamor of alarm bells. Santiago is wearing a shirt and pants of white linen exactly like the ones he had worn to the wedding the day before. Santiago goes to the house of his mother, Placida Linero, to get an aspirin for his headache.
Santiago is slim and pale, with Arab eyes and curly hair. He is the only child of a marriage of convenience. He inherited his sixth sense from his mother. From his father, Ibrahim Nasar, he learned his love of firearms, horses, and falconry, as well as the qualities of valor and prudence. He and his father spoke Arabic with each other. After his father died, Santiago abandoned his studies at the end of secondary school in order to take over the family ranch. Victoria Guzman is sure that it did not rain on the day of Santiago's death. She recalls that she had been in the kitchen, quartering rabbits for lunch, when Santiago came in. Divina Flor, her daughter, had served Santiago a mug of coffee with a shot of cane liquor, as she did every Monday. When she came again to take the mug away, he grabbed her arm and said, 'The time has come for you to be tamed.' Victoria Guzman says that she will never be tamed while she is alive. She was seduced by Ibrahim Nasar, Santiago's father, when she was an adolescent. Both women had heard that Santiago was going to be killed, but neither was certain whether or not the rumor was true. The whole house is awakened by the bellow of the bishop's steamboat. Divina Flor leads Santiago to the front door. Even though the front door is usually closed and barred, Santiago always uses that door when he is dressed up. Divina remembers that when he went out the door, the boat stopped tooting and the cocks began to crow. There is an envelope under the door warning Santiago that someone is waiting for him to kill him, but it isn't found until long after Santiago's death. As everyone makes their way toward the bishop's boat, the two men who are waiting to kill Santiago, Pedro Vicario and Pablo Vicario are waiting at the local milk shop, the only place that is open at that hour. They are still wearing their dark wedding suits, and holding knives wrapped in newspaper. Though everyone has amassed roosters and firewood to give to the bishop, Father Carmen Amador, he never gets off the boat-he just stands on the upper deck and crosses himself until the boat disappears. The narrator's sister, Margot, invites Santiago over for breakfast. She finds Santiago attractive, and imagines the good fortune of his betrothed, Flora Miguel. He accepts her invitation, but says he must go home first to change into his riding clothes. Many people on the docks know that Santiago is going to be killed, but many also think that he isn't in danger anymore. Everyone thinks Santiago has been warned that he is going to die. Margot learns that Angela Vicario, the bride of the day before, has been returned to her parents' house because her husband has discovered that she isn't a virgin. Margot is unsure how Santiago Nasar is involved in the mix-up. When she comes home, she tells her mother what she has heard, and her mother, Luisa Santiaga, goes to warn Placida that people are going to kill Santiago. However, someone running by tells Luisa not to bother, because he has already been killed.
Analysis Although Márquez never explicitly reveals the story's setting within the narrative, the story is based on an true event that Márquez read about. In the city of Sucre, in Colombia, a young medical student and heir to a large fortune was killed with a machete outside his front door. The young man was killed by the two brothers of a girl who had been married but was returned to her family by her husband after he discovered that she was not a virgin when she
married him. When she accused the young medical student of taking her virginity, her two brothers killed the man. The novel resembles a mystery. We immediately learn that Santiago Nasar is going to die and continue reading to find out how and why this event will occur. However, Chronicle of a Death Foretold is not a chronicle; the narrative does not present the events chronologically, as the title misleadingly suggests. The first chapter recounts the morning of the assassination by two brothers, Pedro and Pablo Vicario, but versions of the morning are retold from various different viewpoints throughout the rest of the book. The reader is shown repeatedly the circumstances of Santiago Nasar's murder, but the overarching question of Santiago Nasar's guilty is never answered. Despite the journalistic style of the novel, much of the narrative is comprised of repeated events that seem to carry ambiguous symbolic meaning. For example, the narrator repeatedly highlights the disputes over what the weather was like on the day of Santiago Nasar's murder —some people think it was nice out; others believe that it rained. But significance of the rain is left unclear. The narrative is particular about irrelevant details, and vague about matters of real importance. The novel reminds us of the difficulty of understanding events as they are experienced, and the arbitrary ways that the mind chooses to pattern events in retrospect. The arrival of the bishop, for example, is an event that was seen as potentially very significant in the novel, but turns out not to be especially noteworthy at all, since the bishop never steps off the boat. At the time, everyone thought that the bishop's arrival would be the biggest event of the day. In retrospect, the murder overshadows all other memory. Memory, reality, and symbolism are further confused by the names Márquez chooses for his characters. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, he includes fictional names along with the names of his own mother, Luisa Santiago, and of his own wife, Mercedes Barcha. The inclusion of the names of real people ties the events more strongly to a fixed reality.
Summary The narrator tells the story of Bayardo San Roman, the bridegroom of Angela Vicario. Bayardo arrives in August, six months before his eventual marriage. He is about thirty years old, but seems younger because he has a slim waist and golden eyes. He says he has come to find someone to marry. He first sees Angela when she is crossing the town square with her mother, dressed in clothes of mourning; the two of them are carrying baskets of artificial flowers. The next time Bayardo sees her, she is singing out the numbers to a raffle at a town event. He buys all of the raffle tickets and wins a music box inlaid with mother-of-pearl, which he then has delivered to her house as a gift. She never discovers how he found out it was her birthday. The Vicarios are a family 'of scant resources.' Poncio Vicario is a goldsmith, but has lost his sight from doing so much fine work. Purisima del Carmen, Angela's mother, had been a schoolteacher until she married. Angela is the youngest and the prettiest of the family. Pura Vicario wants Bayardo San Roman to identify himself properly; to gain her approval, he
introduces his whole family. The family drives to the village in a Model T Ford. Bayardo's mother, Alberta Simonds, is a mulatto woman from Curacao, who in her youth had been proclaimed the most beautiful woman in the Antilles. He has two young sisters, and his father is famous: General Petronio San Roman, hero of the civil wars of the past century. Angela does not want to marry Bayardo. Their engagement only lasts four months. Bayardo asks Angela what house she likes best, and she replies that she liked the farmhouse belonging to the widower Xius, which is on a windswept hill and overlooks the purple anemones of the marshes. The widower insists that the house wasn't for sale, but Bayardo keeps offering more and more money until Xius gives in. Nobody knows that Angela isn't a virgin. They have a huge wedding, with extravagant gifts and days and nights of dancing and revelry. The narrator says that he and his brother, Luis Enrique, along with Cristo Bedoya, were with Santiago Nasar all the time, at the church and after at the festival. The four of them had grown up together, and it was hard to believe that one of them could have had such a big secret. The narrator has a confused memory of the festival—he remembers proposing to marry Mercedes Barcha as soon as she finished primary school. At six in the afternoon, the bride and groom take their leave and drive to their new house. The narrator, Luis, Cristo and Santiago all went to Maria Alejandrina Cervantes' house, where the Vicario brothers also went and were singing and drinking. Pura Vicario goes to bed at eleven o'clock and has fallen into a deep sleep when there is a knocking at the door. She opens the door and sees Bayardo and Angela standing there. Bayardo pushes his wife into the house and kisses Pura on the cheek, thanking her for everything. After he leaves, Pura holds Angela's hair with one hand and beats her with the other. She does this so stealthily that she does not wake her husband and other daughters. The twins return home, and Pedro asks Angela who has taken her virginity. She says that it was Santiago Nasar.
Analysis This chapter explains the motive for the murder of Santiago Nasar. The narrator implies that Santiago is not, in fact, guilty of the crime he dies for. However, even if Santiago truly is innocent, we never learn who was guilty of taking Angela Vicario's virginity. Nor does the narrator—he questions Angela at length later in life, but she quietly persists in saying that Santiago was the one. After Bayardo's family comes to visit the Vicarios, it becomes clear to the town that Bayardo can marry whomever he wants to. Angela Vicario's parents are highly in favor of the match, since Bayardo is handsome, wealthy, and comes from a prestigious family. Earlier in the narrative, the narrator says that the Vicario boys 'were raised to be men,' and that the Vicario daughters 'were raised to be married.' In this culture, the best way a woman could improve her life was to marry a husband who would provide for her well. Angela Vicario protested to her parents that she did not love Bayardo, but her mother dismissed that idea, telling her that love could be learned. The brutality of the social conventions surrounding women becomes clear in this chapter. Because she was not a virgin when she married, not only is Angela abandoned by her
husband, but she is beaten by her mother. The double standards of her culture are highlighted by the fact that the narrator, Santiago, Luis Enrique, and Cristo are all at a whorehouse doing whatever they please. It is culturally acceptable for men to have premarital sex, even if they are already betrothed to marry other women. The importance of the ritual of courtship is also very evident in Colombian culture. Bayardo will do whatever it takes to win the approval of Angela by showering her with gifts. The economy behind the match is made clear through this method of courting. Bayardo does not seem to concern himself with getting to know Angela Vicario; he merely demonstrates the amount of money he will be willing to spend on her. Bayardo demonstrates that he will get the music box and that he will buy the house. It is a way of showing not only the bride, but the bride's parents, that she will be well taken care of. Another ritual is that the entire family of each spouse must meet before the match can be approved—understanding the background of the spouse is vital, so that the daughter does not dishonor herself by marrying someone from a questionable family with little money.
Summary The Vicario twins later tell the narrator that they began looking for Santiago Nasar at Maria Alejandrina Cervantes' place, where they had been with him until two o'clock. Since he wasn't there, they went to Clothilde Armenta's milk shop, which was near Santiago's house, to wait for him to come out. After Angela Vicario reveals Santiago's name to her brothers, they immediately go to the pigsty. They pick out the two best knives, wrap them in rags, and have them sharpened at the meat market. Faustino Santos, a butcher, wonders why they are coming—he thought they were so drunk that they didn't know what time or what day it was. They talk about the wedding, and Pablo declares that they are going to kill Santiago Nasar. Because the twins are known to be good people, nobody pays any attention to them. After they leave, Faustino reports the conversation to a police officer who comes by. At Clothilde Armenta's milk shop, the twins drink two bottles of cane liquor. They tell her that they are looking for Santiago to kill him. Clothilde tells her husband, Don Rogelio de la Flor, but he responds that she is being silly. Meanwhile, the police officer informs Colonel Lazaro Aponte about the Vicario brothers' plan. The Colonel has settled so many fights the night before that he is in no hurry to settle another. The Colonel hears that Angela Vicario had been brought home on her wedding night, and realizes the connection between that event and the impending murder. The Colonel goes to Clothilde Armenta's shop, takes the knives away from the boys, and tells them to go home. He explains later that he thought the twins were bluffing. The Vicario brothers go home, get two different knives, and go to have them sharpened. Faustino is confused, believing that the boys have brought the same knives. Although Pedro makes the decision to kill Santiago, Pablo insists on following through with the plan. Pablo Vicario's fiancée, Prudencia Cotes, says she never would have married him if he hadn't upheld his sister's honor by killing Santiago. She waits the three years he is in jail, and when he gets out he becomes her husband for life.
The twins go back to the milk shop, their knives wrapped in newspaper from Prudencia's house. Clothilde Armenta gives them rum, hoping to make them so drunk they can't do anything. The narrator then describes Maria Alejandrina Cervantes' house, where there are musicians, a dancing courtyard, and 'pleasurable mulatto girls.' The girls have all been working without rest for three days, taking care of all who were 'unsated' by the wedding bash. The narrator says it was Maria who did away with his generation's virginity. But on the night before the murder, Maria wouldn't let Santiago dress up her mulatto girls as he usually did, so Santiago and Cristo Bedoya and Luis Enrique and the narrator set off with the musicians on a round of serenades. The first house they stop at is the newlyweds', though they don't know that only Bayardo San Roman is there at that point. They all go to get breakfast, but Santiago says he wants to get an hour of sleep before the bishop comes. Clothilde Armenta has told Father Carmen Amador about the Vicarios' plan, but because of the Bishop's arrival, the Father forgets, and, on his way to meet the bishop's boat, walks right by the milk shop where the murderers are waiting.
Analysis This chapter relates the events on the evening of the wedding, the night before Santiago Nasar's death. This chapter chronologically precedes the first chapter of the book. This disjunction in time indicates the temporal confusion within the story as a whole. The first chapter tells about the morning of the assassination, and the third chapter relates the events leading up to that morning. The novel explores the complexities of the concept of honor. The Vicario brothers believe themselves to be defending the honor of their sister and family, which is so important to them that they kill a man to preserve it. The severity of their crime reflects the severity of the limits imposed upon women. The brothers reason that since whoever took Angela's virginity ruined her chances of finding a suitable husband, that man must be punished with a comparable degree of severity. Even after Santiago is killed, Angela and her family leave the town because of the scandal the event has created. The narrator mentions several times that the Vicario brothers are good people. They do not kill Santiago in a heated fury; the unfolding of the event takes hours. The town is divided into people who know what is going to occur and feel that the event should be stopped, people who think that the brothers are joking, and authority figures who are lax in their duties and allow the murder to occur. The town's tacit acceptance of honor and gender codes within their society condones the murder. Class differences influence the course of events in the novel. Santiago's family represents the upper class. They have become affluent while others around them exist in poverty. Santiago's difference, resulting from his beauty and his wealth, makes him an object of suspicion in the town. Poorer residents envy him because of his superior financial status. Young men in the town are jealous of his proficiency with women. But the combination of economic and personal interests surrounding Santiago Nasar is never fully elucidated, making his death an unsolvable puzzle.
Summary Because Doctor Dionisio Iguaran is absent, the mayor orders Father Carmen Amador to perform the autopsy on Santiago Nasar. They perform it at the public school with the help of a druggist and a first-year medical student. The report concludes that the death has been brought on by a massive hemorrhage caused by any one of the seven fatal wounds. After the poorly executed autopsy, they quickly bury the body. The narrator goes to see Maria Alejandrina Cervantes after the autopsy, but she won't sleep with him because she says he smells like Santiago. The Vicario brothers also complain that they can't get his smell off of their bodies, nor can they sleep. They are placed in the local prison, and Pablo Vicario gets a serious case of the runs. The whole Vicario family leaves town. Angela Vicario's face is wrapped so that no one would see the bruises from the beating her mother gave her, and she was dressed in bright red so that nobody would think that she was mourning for her secret lover. Poncio Vicario died shortly thereafter. The twins were transferred to a prison in Riohacha, a day's trip from Manaure, the town that the Vicario family moved to. Prudencia Cotes moves to Manaure three years later to marry Pablo Vicario after he gets out of jail. Pablo learns to work with precious metals and becomes a goldsmith. Pedro Vicario goes back into the armed forces, and is never heard from again. The mayor goes to check on Bayardo San Roman a week after the murder and finds him lying in his bed, almost dead with alcohol poisoning. Dr. Iguaran treats him, but as soon as he recovers he throws the mayor and the doctor out of his house. The mayor informed General Petronio San Roman of the situation, and he sends his wife and daughters to get Bayardo. They arrive in mourning with their hair loose, and wail as they walk barefoot to the house. They carry Bayardo out on a cot, put him on the boat and take him away. Angela Vicario ends up in a town called Guarija, making her living as an embroiderer. When the narrator finally goes to see her, he finds her with glasses and with yellowish gray hair. He says she is so mature and witty that it is hard to believe she is the same person. The narrator asks Angela if it was really Santiago Nasar who took her virginity, and she calmly says it was, even though, as the narrator says, Angela and Santiago were never seen together. The narrator says that the true misfortune for Angela is that as soon as Bayardo brings her home, he is in her life forever. She begins to think about him constantly. She says that when her mother beat her, she wasn't crying because of anything that had happened—she was crying because of him. Angela begins to write him letters. She writes a weekly letter to him for seventeen years. Then, halfway through a day in August, he comes into her workplace. He has gained weight and is balding. He takes a step forward and lays his saddlebags on the sewing machine, saying, 'Well, here I am.' He is carrying one suitcase filled with clothing, and another suitcase filled with the letters she has sent him, arranged by date and tied with colored ribbons. They are all unopened.
Analysis This chapter forms a corollary to the main narrative, which is primarily concerned with clarifying the facts around Santiago Nasar's death. The love story between Angela and Bayardo is tangential to the plot because it does not give more information about the murder. The sexism of the characters' world is evidenced by the town's view of Bayardo san Roman as the ultimate victim after losing his wife. Even though Angela Vicario loses a husband, is beaten by her mother, and is dishonored for having premarital sex, she does not receive the same consideration as Bayardo. At the narrative's beginning, Márquez includes a quote by Gil Vincente: 'The pursuit of love / is like falconry.' Falconry is mentioned several times in the narrative. The word 'falconry' refers to both the actual practice of hunting small game with falcons and the art of training the falcons to hunt. The definitions of the word reflect the roles of Bayardo and Angela. In the beginning, Bayardo is hunting Angela as though she is the small game; by leaving her, he trains her to hunt, and she then hunts him. The letters that Angela sends to Bayardo explore the notion of the love letter. Whereas the function 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 formulaic 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.
Summary The narrator says that for years, nobody could talk about anything but the murder of Santiago Nasar. Most people felt at the time that they couldn't intervene too much because it was a matter of honor. Placida Linero never forgave herself for mixing up the bad omen of birds with the good omen of trees in her son's dream, and telling her son, before his death, that his dream boded good health. Twelve days after the crime, the investigating magistrate arrives. Everything the narrator knows about his character has been derived from the margins of the pages of the brief that the narrator salvaged twenty years later in the Palace of Justice. What alarms the magistrate most is that there is not a clue that Santiago Nasar has taken Angela Vicario's virginity. Angela herself never specified how or where, but insisted that he was the perpetrator. The narrator's personal viewpoint is that Santiago Nasar died without understanding his death. Cristo recalls that as Santiago and Cristo Bedoya walked through town on that fateful day, people were staring at them. A man named Yamil Shaium, stood in the door of his shop so that when Santiago passed by, he could warn him of the planned murder. Yamil called Cristo
Bedoya to see if Santiago had already been warned. Cristo left Santiago to go talk to Yamil, and Santiago continued on his way home to change clothes in order to have breakfast with the narrator's sister. As soon as Yamil related the Vicarios' plan to Cristo, Cristo ran to try and find Santiago. Frantic, he checked Santiago's house on the off chance that he was already home. Santiago wasn't there, and Cristo took the gun out of Santiago's night table and stuck it in his belt, not realizing it wasn't loaded. The people coming back from the docks began to take up positions around the square to witness the crime. Cristo Bedoya went into the social club and ran into Colonel Lazaro Aponte, and he told the Colonel what was going on. The Colonel did not believe him at first because he had taken away the knives, but then realized they had gotten other knives. But because he was slow in leaving the club, the crime had been committed by the time he arrived. Cristo ran to his own house, thinking that maybe Santiago went to breakfast without changing his clothes. Meanwhile, Santiago Nasar was in the house of Flora Miguel, his fiancée. She had heard about the planned killing, and thought that even if they didn't kill him, he would be forced to marry Angela Vicario in order to give her back her honor. She was upset and humiliated, and when Santiago came in she was furious. She handed him a box with all of the letters he had ever sent her. She told him that she hoped they did kill him, and she went into her room and locked the door. Santiago's frantic knocking on her door woke everyone else up. Nahir Miguel, her father, told Santiago that the Vicarios wanted to kill him. Santiago said, 'I don't understand a goddamned thing.' He left the house, and started to head home. Clothilde Armenta yelled at Santiago to run, and he ran the fifty yards to his front door. Placida Linero, Santiago's own mother, had just closed the front door because Divina Flor lied to her and said that he was already home and had gone up to his room. The Vicario twins caught up with him and began stabbing him. After his entrails had fallen out of his body, he fell to his knees, then managed to stand. He walked more than a hundred yards, completely around the house, and went in through the kitchen door, and fell flat on his face in his kitchen.
Analysis This chapter demonstrates the complicity of the town in the murder of Santiago, and shows how they saw themselves as spectators rather than actors. The division between spectator and actor is blurred by the narrator's role. He himself acknowledges that he is not absolved of blame. Because the narrator is a part of the community in which the murder took place, he cannot be an objective observer. The blurring of journalism and fiction in the story is shown most clearly in the character of the narrator himself, since he hardly discloses any revealing information. In many ways, he is the most enigmatic of all the characters. Despite the narrator's interviews of town residents throughout the story, and despite the investigative magistrate's report, the narrator does not shed any new light, twenty years later, on the murder of Santiago Nasar. This failure to fully explain events shows that the object of the investigation to be not the discovery of the truth, but rather the determination of how such
a publicized death could have taken place. In the end, the reader is left with a series of coincidences, moments of personal weakness, and assumptions whose random variety evades any sort of an overarching explanation or understanding of the crime. Throughout the novel, the narrator's steady tone and method of progressively disclosing more information, leads us to think that the truth is about to be revealed. Especially because the narrator repeatedly insists upon Santiago Nasar's innocence, the reader feels that the true identity of whomever took Angela Vicario's virginity will be clear by the end of the book. The absence of conclusion also illustrates the importance of ritual in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. In a sense, the entire story is a ritual in that it re-enacts the murder, with no other result than merely showing the reader the events that happened before and after the event.
Important Quotations Explained 'The brothers were brought up to be men. The girls were brought up to be married. They knew how to do screen embroidery, sew by machine, weave bone lace, wash and iron, make artificial flowers and fancy candy, and write engagement announcements… my mother thought there were no better-reared daughters. 'They're perfect,' she was frequently heard to say. 'Any man will be happy with them because they've been raised to suffer.' Explanation for Quotation 1 >> This excerpt shows the severity of the lives women lead in the reserved Colombian culture of the town. The narrator describes the upbringing of Angela Vicario and her siblings. Women are not allowed to get jobs or follow their own dreams; their lives are bounded on all sides by tradition and the expectation to get married and have families. All of the chores they are taught to do-washing, making flowers-are household chores. A woman's worthiness as a wife was measured by her beauty in conjunction with her ability to gracefully run all aspects of a household. The idea that the woman in a marriage is expected to suffer is significant-no woman enters marriage expecting to be happiness unless she is fortunate enough to love whichever man decides to court her. In this Spanish culture, unlike Western culture, marriage is not based on love.
'Pedro Vicario, the more forceful of the brothers, picked her up by the waist and sat her on the dining room table. 'All right, girl,' he said to her, trembling with rage, 'tell us who it was.' She only took the time necessary to say the name. She looked for it in the shadows, she found it at first sight among the many, many easily confused names from this world and the other, and she nailed it to the wall with her well-aimed dart, like a butterfly with no will whose sentence has always been written. 'Santiago Nasar,' she said. Explanation for Quotation 2 >> This quote, taken from the end of the second chapter, describes the scene when Angela tells her brothers who took her virginity. This event demonstrates the escapist ambiguity of Márquez's writing style that runs through the book as a whole.
The image of a butterfly pinned to a wall is symbolic of both Santiago Nasar's situation and of Angela Vicario's. Once she has proclaimed that Santiago is the one who took her virginity, his fate, like her own, becomes bounded by cultural mores. Angela Vicario herself was pinned by other darts—if she did not give her brothers a name, they would have become furious at her for protecting the man who had dishonored her. She 'pins' Santiago with her words, but she herself is 'pinned' by the sexism of the culture. Márquez's description of Angela's thought process as she spoke Santiago's name is interesting because he suggests that many names, not only of people who are alive, but of people who have passed away, come to her. The image of the butterfly paired with the evocation of living and dead names floating around in Angela's mind is a somewhat whimsical and fantastical. This use of magic realism in Chronicle of a Death Foretold works against the journalistic style of the novel as a whole and obscures what is actually going on. The reader is presented with a surreal version of what Angela thought, but never finds out if what she said was true.
'We'd been together at Maria Alejandrina Cervantes' house until after three, when she herself sent the musicians away and turned out the lights in the dancing courtyard so that her pleasurable mulatto girls could get some rest…Maria Alejandrina Cervantes was the most elegant and the most tender woman I have ever known, and the most serviceable in bed, but she was also the strictest. She'd been born and reared here, and here she lived, in a house with open doors, with several rooms for rent and an enormous courtyard for dancing lit by lantern gourds bought in the Chinese bazaars of Paramaribo.' Explanation for Quotation 3 >> This quote, taken from the middle of the third chapter, highlights another way that magic realism works within the narrative. Maria Alejandrina Cervantes is a whore, but the description of her persona and her home does not seem to condemn her or her girls for their profession, which comes as a surprise in a culture that censors women's sexuality so strictly. In the novel, Maria is not depicted as a shameful woman with a dirty profession, but as a beautiful woman who taught all the men of the community about sex. It seems that women in this Colombian culture can either accept the strict social codes governing their sexuality, or they can completely discard them; no in-between is presented. Márquez's incorporation of details such as the musicians, the dancing courtyard, and the lanterns all make Maria's house seem like some sort of paradise with colored lamps; it seems a far cry from the neon glow of a red light district in a city. This illumination of the mundane by means of almost fantastical imagery is notable in this instance because it praises something that is usually degraded. Márquez's use of magical realism allows him to avoid invoking traditional cultural perceptions when he so desires, and present reality in a refreshing way to the reader.
' 'The truth is I didn't know what to do,' he told me. 'My first thought was that it wasn't any business of mine but something for the civil authorities, but then I made up my mind to say
something in passing to Placida Linero.' Yet when he crossed the square, he'd forgotten completely. 'You have to understand,' he told me, 'that the bishop was coming that day.' Explanation for Quotation 4 >> This quote is taken from the end of the third chapter; the speaker is Father Amador. Father Amador is an example of the many authority figures who all had the power to stop the crime, but ended up being completely ineffective in preventing it. The bishop, the priest, a police officer, and the Colonel had all been warned that Santiago Nasar was going to be murdered, and yet none of them took this news seriously enough to take effective preventative action. The book calls the so-called 'authority' of these characters into question. They all fail not only to rise above cultural prejudices and personal weakness, but also to recognize the severity of the event that was about to occur. Their failure allows the town's view to prevail. Prudencia Cotes illustrates the gravity that the townspeople afforded matters of honor when she tells us that she would not have married Pablo Vicario if he had not killed Santiago Nasar. And after the murder, the official verdict seemed to indicate that the Vicarios' action was just-the twins were only sentenced to three years in prison.
'She wrote a weekly letter for over half a lifetime. 'Sometimes I couldn't think of what to say,' she told me, dying with laughter, 'but it was enough for me to know that he was getting them.' At first they were a fiancee's notes, then little messages from a secret lover, perfumed cards from a furtive sweetheart, business papers, love documents…nevertheless, he seemed insensible to her delirium; it was like writing to nobody.' Explanation for Quotation 5 >> This quote is taken from the end of the fourth chapter, in which Angela Vicario explains the letters she obsessively wrote to Bayardo San Roman. It is significant that Angela says that it was enough for her to know that Bayardo was receiving the letters, because it was apparently enough for Bayardo to receive the letters without knowing what it was that she wished to tell him-he never opened them. The fact that Angela Vicario didn't know what to write, and that Bayardo didn't want to know what she had written, highlights the importance of the ritual of writing and receiving letters as opposed to the importance of the content. This disinterest in the content seems contrary to the purpose of writing letters, just as the novel's overall disinterest in the truth surrounding the murder belies the journalistic mode employed throughout it. It also shows us that the concepts of love in Colombia are firmly rooted in the actions between two lovers, as opposed to the understanding between them. Love is defined by ritual
Key Facts full title · Chronicle of a Death Foretold author · Gabriel García Márquez type of work · Novel
genre · Fiction language · originally written in Spanish; translated into English time and place written: · Colombia, 1981. date of first publication · Bogota, Colombia, 1981 publisher · Editorial La Oveja Negra Ltda., Bogota narrator · Unnamed climax · The killing of Santiago Nasar protagonist · Santiago Nasar antagonist · Angela Vicario setting (time) · 1950s setting (place) · A small Colombian coastal town point of view · First person falling action · In this book, because many different views of the death are shown before the death itself, the falling action precedes the climax of the death at the end of the novel. tense · Past tense tone · Surreal and repetitive; journalistic and investigative themes · Ritual, powerlessness of women, importance of cultural traditions like honor motifs · Magic realism symbols · Dreams; the weather
Study Questions Why do you think that Gabriel García Márquez used real names in his text? How does this decision influence the reader's experience of the narrative? Answer for Study Question 1 >>
The way that Márquez uses names in Chronicle of a Death Foretold emblematizes the confusion between reality, fiction, and form. The story itself is based on a real occurrence, but the novel, while seemingly journalistic, uses anecdotal information as often as it presents the reader with the facts of the murder. For example, the narrator spends a few pages discussing the fact that Santiago Nasar was in love with Maria Alejandrina Cervantes at the
age of fifteen, but he does not ever clarify whether or not Santiago Nasar was guilty of the crime he died for. Clarification of the second point, in terms of the plot, is a much more important question to answer, and the novel never answers it. In addition, the novel does not 'chronicle' the events as the title leads the reader to expect that it will-the narrative shifts between the past and the present. Because the novel does not answer many questions, it accurately shows the reader how confusing all of the events surrounding the murder were when it occurred. In real life, nobody is ever sure whether or not the student that was murdered was guilty of the crime he committed or not, or whether or not he had any idea why he was dying. The same is true for the narrator: even at the end of the book, he doesn't know any more than when he began. But because the narrative constantly displays a sense of imminent disclosure, the reader feels cheated when the novel fails to disclose important information. The reader expects conclusions because Chronicle of a Death Foretold is misleadingly purposeful in its tone.
What cultural aspects of the Colombian town affect the course of events leading up to the murder? Answer for Study Question 2 >>
The concept of honor shapes the actions of everyone in the Colombian town where the murder occurs. This is one of the strongest differences between the Spanish culture presented in the novel and American culture. In America, the strict adherence to hierarchical, traditional ideals is far less practiced, even in the 1950s, and the definition of gender roles was less misogynistic than it is in the novel. The double standard regarding women's virginity is much less strongly enforced in the United States. It is very improbable that a woman would be returned to her house and beaten simply because she lost her virginity before she was married. And it is even less likely that the woman's brothers would go out and murder the man who took her virginity-in America, such an action would be judged as first-degree murder, and the culprits would have been locked up for decades. However, within the Colombian town, the Vicario twins are largely condoned for their crime because they murdered Santiago in order to uphold their sister's honor. Honor, in Colombia at that time, was worth killing for. In America, murdering someone was a crime excused only by insanity; in Colombia, the cultural norms appeared to supersede the law.
How does Márquez's narrator use repetition in the story? With what result? Answer for Study Question 3 >>
Márquez's use of repetition confounds the journalistic agenda that the general style of the book seems to engender. The text seems to constitute a sort of ritual repetition of the crime. Márquez states over and over that Santiago Nasar is going to be killed-in fact, he tells us this fact in the very first line. The discourse of the novel clashes with its purported end: to shed
light on the death of Santiago Nasar. What the text does (and the repetition throughout the text highlights this phenomenon) is to re-enact the death rather than to ever satisfactorily explain it.
Suggested Essay Topics Examine the roles that women play in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Is Angela Vicario the most powerful or the least powerful woman in the novel? How do the excerpts from Gil Vincente's poem shape the text as a whole? Compare and contrast the themes used in the poem with those in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Is there any significance to the repeated mention of dreams and/or weather in the story? How do these elements affect the narrative? What view does the narrative seem to take toward authority? How are the authority figures (Father Amador, the Bishop, Colonel Aponte) depicted? Do their actions represent a larger theme? Discuss the use of magic realism in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. How does the use of this literary technique affect the narrative?