Marquez used a very procrastinating and indirect narrative technique to point out the dominance of patriarchy in the Columbian society. The readers become impatient as in every paragraph the desired action is delayed by the characters due to some situational reasons. In fact, the author leaves the scope of doubting the authentication of the entire narrative as the narrator heard it from Santiago’s mother. The novel begins with “On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on”. The murder was replaced by something very petty and light fact. On the other hand, the Vicario twins halt at two places, first at the butcher’s and then the milk shop and proudly reveal their plan of murdering Santiago. The inhabitants of the town already know their motives. The pace of the narrative seems to slow down since the revelation of their plan in order to accommodate the space for different approaches of different people to the murder and the twins seem hesitant about the murder. In fact, Marquez has employed this narrative technique specifically to criticise the typical traditional mindset of Columbian society at that time. The characterization of the Vicario by Marquez as twins is intentional so that the harsh reality of gender equality can be brought forth through the story narration. Their physiological similarities are stated as “so much alike that it was difficult to tell them apart”. This indistinguishable characterisation validates the previous observation. Moreover, shaving symbolizes the machismo and back then exhibiting machismo was almost ritualistic and men used to compete with each other. This is substantiated in the line “and she brought him the brush, the soap, the hanging mirror, and the safety razor with a new blade, but he shaved with his butcher knife”. It should be noted the traditional masculine professions are all associated with some sort of brutality. In the novel, Angela’s two brothers are responsible for safeguarding this tradition of honour just as every member of the society should have. When they hear that their sister has lost her virginity before marriage because of Santiago, they decide to kill him because “it was a matter of honour”. Therefore, it can be said that the novel is an apt reflection of the male dominance and chauvinism.
The multi-layered narrative technique has been applied in this novel in order to bring out the hypocrisy of the society. Santiago is murdered openly and many villagers are aware of this occurrence. Ortega suggests that the readers can easily understand the social custom of this community as Marquez uses first person nonlinear narrative whereby he narrates the story through the many thought processes of characters in the novel. Besides, it is Santiago himself who tells “They have killed me” after being stabbed several times by the Vicario twins. In fact, the climax of the murder of Santiago has been the most repeated truth in the entire novel. Actually, Marquez devises this narrative technique to criticize the society for mostly being blind despite knowing the truth. Many people in the town console themselves with a pretext that reads, “Affairs of honour are scared monopolies”. The ignorance of the people of this place in the name of honour killing is well elaborated in this case. The narrator claims that the town people’s action could have prevented the murder from happening. There was abundant use of direct speeches in the novel but Marquez kept them ineffective so that the procrastination of the characters could be presented prominently. Several years after the murder, the cook named Victoria Guzman and her teenage daughter admit that they know the motive for this killing as well as the place where the killing has taken place. A retired army colonel named Donor Lazar Aponte and the local priest who have seen him on the dock conclude that the threat “had all been a fib”. Many people are aware of what would happen to Santiago. At a market described as a meat market, the narrator argues that around twenty-two people have heard the Vicario twins say that “we’re going to kill Nasar” but none of them pays attention to those brothers. Once again, this attitude of the common people reflects the thinking “Honour must not wait” and the lack of humanity in them.
In conclusion, Marquez successfully portrays a society which is reined by traditional and rigid gender roles. The essay mainly focused on the characterisation of Angela, the narrative of the story in relation to male dominance and the narrative technique used in this novel. Each of those focal points is used to critique the traditions and conventions of society. Societal expectations like virginity and family honour must be upheld at all costs, the most significant of which is the “death foretold” of innocent Santiago. The extensive practice of those traditions of society can be as dreadful as convincing individuals to kill a human.
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