“Like father, like son” the old saying goes. And naturally this is so, for if the parent lacks morals, logically the child will too. Just as parents shape their children, authority figures shape their societies. Authority figures have great impact on the common people, for if they act in dishonest or fraudulent manners, the society considers it acceptable to do the same. Such reflections between authority figures and society are seen throughout Gabriel Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold and Albert Camus’s The Stranger. With societies constantly looking to authority figures for guidance, Marquez and Camus satirically depict folly in the actions of the leaders in order to criticize the social system and reveal the accepted selfishness that is reflected by the people.
In order to completely understand the manner in which authority figures actions become reflected on society, a reader must observe the social system through the eyes of the narrator. Marquez begins Chronicle of A Death Foretold by establishing the town to appear very religious. The novel commences with the townspeople thoroughly preparing for the yearly arrival of the bishop. The whole town arranges for his arrival, bringing him many gifts and animals. Although Marquez establishes the city as consumed in religious dedication, a reader must analyze the thoughts of the townspeople in order to truly understand the society. The individuals of the community make elaborate preparations, not to show their spiritual devotion, but to benefit their personal selves. Each person concerns themselves with receiving a blessing from the bishop. The people seem to be...
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...ngs in order to expunge their sins, The Stranger also presents faith as a means to obliterate sins. In both systems, people rely on religion in hypocritical manners. Instead of desiring a spiritual peace, the people have been taught by authority figures, like the magistrate, to use religion in self-interest.
Overall, Marquez and Camus break the spiritual, rational, and impartial facades of the authority figures by exposing the idea that; since the leaders of the society were unable to provide a moral structure for their citizens, an accepted form of selfishness unfolded within the societies. The social systems in both novels act as the shadow of the bishop and the magistrate. Like a shadow, the societies follow in the leaders footsteps, for the society lives as a dark reflection of the authority figures who promote selfishness and false public images.
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