Love in the Time of Cholera is a story of aging love and love at different stages of life: a young love, furtive and coquettish at the beginning with Florentino and Fermina; a love learned with Dr. Urbino and Fermina when they first got married; a messy love with Florentino and his many loving exploits with widows, single women, and married ones too; angry love and unfaithful love when Dr. Urbino committed adultery with Miss Lynch and Fermina found out; love after death when Fermina lost her husband, Dr. Urbino; and lastly, aging love when at last Fermina and Florentino navigated through the Magdalena River forever. I believe that the Cholera in the title of the book is, in a way, a comparison of the symptoms of this illness and the symptoms of a person who is in love, which in different episodes in the book Florentino seems to be sick but they are only the symptoms of being madly in love.
Another theme that this book refers to is aging in the whole sense of the word. We read about Florentino, Fermina, Dr. Urbino, and even Hildebranda slowly aging and crumbling into the irreversible symptoms of becoming old: graying hair, balding, losing hearing and vision, aching and slowing bodies that will soon meet their end. But the book also touches on the dignity of growing old and being in love. Fermina’s children reproached the way she was acting with Florentino. Maybe it was the time when this story took place, and maybe this was a way that Gabriel Garcia Marquez took a stand against people’s attitude against aging and being in love at any place in time. Maybe it was a way that this author brought a point that people at any age can fall in love again or regain a long lost love, as we have seen over and over again in the present. This story leaves a feel of hopefulness that at the end love will prevail, and hopefully it will be without drama and without the intensity when we were young.
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