Female Gender Roles and Maria Cervantes In Gabriel Marquez’s novel, Chronicle of a Death Marquez Foretold, uses the characters in order to portray gender roles of the time period. A key historical aspect of the time period was feminism and gender roles. Marquez portrays gender roles and sexism in multiple ways through characterization. A unique and effective way that Marquez portrays sexism and gender roles is through a minor character in the novel, Maria Cervantes.
Gabriel Marquez effectively portrays a society in which men were valued more than women, and where women were viewed more as slaves rather than equals.
. The role of women was to please the men. Women were viewed as sexual objects and slaves rather than equals in society. “She made love to him in secret for many years in the stables of the ranch, and he brought her to be a house servant when the affection was over” (9-10) This quote adequately portrays the significance of women at the time period, and how objectivized they truly were.
Ibrahim Nasar only used Victoria Guzman for sex.
This resulted in Victoria Guzman having a fierce hate for Santiage Nasar. “Nevertheless, she had so much suppressed rage the morning of the crime that she went on feeding the gods with the insides of other rabbits, just to embitter Santiago Nasar’s breakfast. Victoria Guzman needed almost 20 years to understand that a man accustomed to killing defenseless animals could suddenly express such horror” (10) Victoria knew that the Vicario twins were going to kill Nasar, but she did not tell him. This was her way of retrieving revenge for what Ibrahim Nasar did to her.
The fact that she maintained so much bitterness and hate for such a prolonged period of time, effectively portrays her feelings towards her treatment, and by extension, treatment of women as a whole. There are multiple examples of unequal treatment of women and gender roles throughout the book, but Marquez tends to do a spectacular job at portraying these roles through the character of Maria Cervantes. In the novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Maria Cervantes is the owner of a whore house and a whore herself. In modern time, the word “whore” has a negative connotation.
Automatically, the present day reader comes into the story thinking that Maria Cervantes is committing a shameful act. Surprisingly, the description of Maria Cervantes and her home is a positive one. “We’d been together at Maria Cervante’s house until after three, when she herself sent off the musicians and turned out the lights in her dancing courtyard so that her pleasurable Mulatto girls could get some rest…. Maria Cervantes was the most elegant and tender woman I have ever known, and most serviceable in bed, but also the strictest.
She’d been born and reared here, and here she lived, in a house with open doors with several rooms for rent, and an enormous courtyard for dancing. ” (49-50) In present society, even men who use prostitutes see it as a shameful act. The men in this time period viewed Maria Cervantes as almost a godly like figure. She was in fact described as elegant. The fact that the men idolized her, considering her line of work, adequately shows the way women were viewed in the eyes of men, as well as the way women were viewed in their own eyes. In the eyes of the men, Maria Cervantes was their “dream girl. During this time period, a man’s ideal woman was that of one who cooks, cleans, and sexually satisfies her husband. The description of Maria Cervantes’ whore house is very positive. It is viewed as a lovely place. The fact that a whore house is portrayed as lovely shows that culture at this time was very sexualized. Very rarely is something that sexualized, publically described as a positive thing. This clearly shows that one of the main roles of women was to please the men sexually. Maria Cervantes also shows the hypocrisy of the time. Culturally during this time, it is a dishonor for a woman to have premarital sex.
While this is standard is being upheld through Angele Vicario, there seems to be no problem whatsoever with Maria Cervantes not being a virgin. The reason this is acceptable is because the men benefitted from Maria Cervantes, virgin or not. Whereas, when a man has a wife, he feels cheated is she were not a virgin. This clearly shows the focus on the pleasure of the male in the society. Maria Cervantes adequately represents the historical view of women during this time period by showing the sexualization of the culture as well as the double standards and inequality of the time.
In the novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Gabriel Marquez does an effective job of portraying gender roles and inequality during the time period. Gabriel Marquez’s approach at showing the inequality of women was exceptional. Marquez was careful not to make too loud of a statement on his view of the roles of women in society. Marquez effectively showed the truth about the roles of females in the society through Maria Cervantes. By making Maria Cervantes a minor character, Gabriel Marquez is “hushing” his view so that the audiences with opposing opinions could still enjoy the novel.
The way in which Marquez characterizes Maria Cervantes is especially effective. Marquez portrays Maria Cervantes as a classy hooker. The profession of Maria Cervantes is important because it allows the audience to view this normally shameful profession as something classy and respectable. The culture shock that comes from this allows the audience to see how truly sexualized the culture was at that point. Marquez also effectively portrays gender roles by having Maria Cervantes described as one of the most “elegant” women ever, by men that view premarital sex as a dishonor.
This clearly shows the power in which men upheld at the time. Marquez does an effective job at portraying gender roles and inequality through Maria Cervantes. There is a very rich historical and cultural background to the Chronicle of a Death Foretold. Gabriel Marquez does an effective job of portraying the historical and cultural gender roles and inequality of women through characterization. The most efficient way Marquez portrayed these traits was through the character of Maria Cervantes.
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