Alexandra Diaz Professor Chapin-Downs English 112 DFB 06 November 2006 Analysis Essay on Chronicle of a Death Foretold One literary element that authors carefully select is point of view, because this signifies the way in which a story gets told and refers to the type of narrative. In the novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Marquez chooses first-person narrative to present his readers with characters, dialogue, settings, and events. Marquez’s choice of point of view affects his reader’s understanding to all of the above in several ways.
Marquez chooses a first-person narrator that is trying to present information about Santiago Nasar’s death in a journalistic way, but the narrator belongs to the same community. This makes the reader question the truth in regards to who in the novel is telling the truth and also is the narrator himself reporting the truth. Marquez manages to use first-person point of view to create a fictional character that seems real to the reader by incorporating facts of his own life into a fictional story.
He also goes from writing in first-person plural to first-person singular, which is an effective way to show the narrator’s sense of communal guilt. Although the narrator seems to be presenting his reports objectively, Marquez uses first-person narrative to show his readers that it is impossible to avoid being subjective. As the narrator in Chronicle of a Death Foretold gathers people’s recollections about the day of Santiago’s death everyone’s memories contradict each other.
For example, everyone in the town remembered the weather in a different way. “Many people coincided in recalling that it was a radiant morning with a sea breeze coming in…But most agreed that the weather was funeral, with a cloudy, low sky and thick smell of still waters…” (Marquez 4). Another memory that is contradicted is how Bayardo San Roman first meets Angela Vicario outside in his rocking chair. “Three people who had been in the boardinghouse confirmed that it had taken place, but four others weren’t sure” (Marquez 29).
This shows that people’s memories are unreliable and if they can’t recall something as simple as the weather, how can anything else they say be accounted for. The author also wants the reader to relate the narrator to a reporter in everyday media. Reporters seem to be objective, but in reality they are not completely objective, because they choose what information they are going to share with the public. Marquez places the reader in a position to trust that the narrator is telling the truth, just like people are dependent on the media to know the truth.
The author purposely combines a fictional story with facts of his own life to manipulate the reader to think that the narrator and the story he tells are real. In the novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold, the names and relations of the narrator’s family are the same as that of Marquez’s family. For example, the narrator’s wife is Mercedes Barcha, who he had proposed to in primary school (Marquez 44). Marquez’s wife’s name is also Mercedes Barcha, who he proposed to in primary school, but like the narrator he did not marry her until fourteen years later.
Other characters in the story that imitate relatives of the author include the narrator’s mother, Luisa Santiaga, the sister, Margot, and the younger brother Jamie. Many other characters in the novel exist in the author’s life. Using first-person narrative Marquez includes events and people in his own life to make the distinction between himself and the narrator vague. Marquez begins the first four sections of Chronicle of a Death Foretold, in first-person singular and he ends the last section in first-person plural. In the first four sections, the narrator reports memories of different people in the community.
Throughout these sections the narrator uses the words “they” and “them” and never includes himself when talking about the people in his community. He recalls that on the day of Santiago’s murder he was in bed with Maria Alejandrina Cervantes (Marquez 68). The narrator tries to exclude himself from having a part in Santiago’s murder. In the last section the narrator states, “For years we couldn’t talk about anything else. Our daily conduct, dominated then by so many linear habits, had suddenly begun to spin around a single common anxiety” (Marquez 96).
The “common anxiety” he is referring to is his feeling of guilt. In this statement the narrator includes himself as part of the community that believes they are guilty for allowing the murder to occur. Of all the literary elements Gabriel Garcia Marquez uses in Chronicle of a Death Foretold, point of view is the most essential, because it continually contributes to the reader’s understanding of the novel. Marquez uses first-person narrative to demonstrate the inability for people to be completely objective. He effectively conveys this message to the reader by using first-person narrative.
His choice of point of view encourages the reader to reconsider their acceptance of mass media as a subjective source of information rather than an objective source. By incorporating facts about his own life into the novel, Marquez encourages the plausibility of the narrator and the story. Changing from first-person singular to first-person plural is Marquez way of revealing the narrator’s sense of communal guilt. Marquez’s choice of point of view allows the reader to better understand the novel and its implications. Works Cited Marquez, Gabriel G. Chronicle of a Death Foretold. 1982. New York: Random House, 1983.
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