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Pride and Dignity in No One Writes to the Colonel, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

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In a state of martial law one individual does not have much to say. This statement holds true in the novel, No One Writes to the Colonel, by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The author discusses the political climate of one man, the Colonel, who after fighting to create the government in power is being controlled by the bureaucracy. A corrupt government can ruin a man, sap his will, and drive him mindless with hunger; although times are hard the Colonel keeps his dignity and pride.

     The government, through the use of martial law, controls the people quite readily. The government maintains itself through "Big-Brother" tactics that include the use of censors, secret police, and ordinances like "TALKING POLITICS FORBIDDEN." The sweeping control that is present under this martial law is evident in the every day life of the Colonel and the people of his town. The first example of the nature of their lives is shown through the funeral. A poor musician has died of natural causes; the first in a long period of time. The government in attempt to avoid a demonstration and possibly a riot, reroutes his funeral procession to avoid the police barracks. Since the musician is a first to have died of natural causes, we can assume that martial law has resulted in the untimely death of many people. Another example is the death of the Colonel's son, Agustin, Whom after his death has become the embodiment of the underground. It is rightly so, being that he was the writer of the "clandestine" papers.

    "'Agustin wrote.'

     The Colonel observed the deserted street.

     'What does he say?'

     'The same as always.'

     They gave him the clandestine sheet of paper" (p.32)

 
Martial law has restricted the free flow of id...


... middle of paper ...


...is moment

the Colonel feels "pure, explicit, invincible" (p.64) in replying "shit."

(p.64)

 

     This novel takes place somewhere in South America and it is evident

that because of the type of government, conditions are difficult during

this period for the group of people fighting tyranny. The Colonel has

little material wealth after a life of work and service to his country.

These monetary circumstances dictate how he and his wife must live day by

day; and this hardship is in addition to the medical problems they both

endure requiring the service of a doctor.  And yet through it all, the

Colonel with steadfast resolve awaits his letter from Congress regarding

his pension. This corrupt and unjust government has ruined this man, but

has not broken him. His pride enables him to retain his dignity through it

all.


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