“The ends justify the means” – Niccolo Machiavelli. This is a quote we often hear, meaning the end results will compensate for our actions. In the novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold, this is the general mindset of several characters because honor is their priority. Honesty, fairness and integrity in one’s beliefs and actions are qualities that one must acquire to be honorable. Often, these values and desires to be honorable originate in the cultural values of society. Gabriel Garcia Marquez puts these values on display in Chronicle of a Death Foretold; this is achieved by the establishment of the strong connection between honor and gender roles. The connection acts as a major motivating force for several characters which further demonstrates its value in the culture. In the novel, Marquez highlights the obligation for women to be pure, the limited power that women have in society as well as in their own lives and also the expectations for men to be macho. Readers follow the narrator as he returns to his hometown twenty-seven years after an honor killing. Marquez has the narrator conduct a series of interviews with the townspeople which ultimately piece together the story of the honor killing. Through this, we learn many of the common values among the townspeople.
Societies are often plagued with preconceived ideas of how every individual should act. Individuals often succumb to these societal concepts because they fear rejection. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, being dishonored is the ultimate form of rejection. In order for a woman and her family to avoid being dishonored, she must remain a virgin until marriage. The importance of a woman’s purity stems from ...
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Throughout the novel, Marquez creates a dominant link between following the established gender roles and being honorable. As a result, he uses this affiliation as reasoning for the actions of several characters. The expectation and importance for women to be pure at the time of marriage originates in religion, and this is demonstrated in the chaos that follows Angela’s return. In addition, a woman’s lack of power is a gender role that must accepted. Women are also often brought up to be married to an honourable man. The amount of authority and machismo that a man acquires is often directly translated into their degree of honor. Ultimately, if an individual follows these boundaries of gender roles, he or she will be rewarded with the idea of “honor.” Marquez stresses just how important the idea of honor is by allowing it to dictate the actions of his characters.
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