The Emotional Crypt in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera

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The Emotional Crypt in Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Love in the Time of Cholera

It is a well-known fact that bread keeps fresher longer if one sucks the air from the bag it is in before clipping it tightly shut. Thus, in those nations where bread, our staff of life, is provided for us in brightly colored bags, we dutifully absorb the treacherous air, holding tightly to the theory that everything survives better in a vacuum. It is human nature to keep those things we love and need free from harm, tightly wrapped up and out of the elements. When trauma strikes a human being it is not uncommon for that person to respond by finding or creating a small pocket of normalcy or "emotional crypt," 1 and living safely inside of it, shielding themselves from pain. These crypts take on many forms and, in turn, can be penetrated in many ways. Tombs can be literal or figurative. While one person may prefer the sanctity of a house or basement, another may simply create a small but perfect world inside their mind. Still others might choose a relationship, objects, or a form of communication to separate painful reality from tolerable bliss.

Modeled after a love affair his mother had with a telegraph operator before she was married, Gabriel Garcia Marquez's late work Love in the Time of Cholera 2 , is an eloquent illustration of how a person or persons can utilize an emotional crypt throughout a lifetime as a tool for dealing with many forms of trauma (McNerney 78). Additionally, it demonstrates how these emotional crypts can eventually become reality for the person in a post-traumatic state. Lorenzo Daza is a mule trader who, by means legal or illegal, has made enough money to send his daughter Fermina to a fine academy for training women to be good, upper-class brides. Though they are decidedly lower middle class, Lorenzo is deeply set on his daughter marrying far above her station. Florentino Ariza, on the other hand, is the poor but ambitious bastard son of a powerful South American merchant to whom his mother was a mistress. He works for the local telegraph company and is proficient and talented in the arts of music and, especially, writing. He has a future as a riverboat merchant but Lorenzo is non-plussed by this. Ariza first sees Fermina when he delivers a telegram to her father's house.
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