Latin American society has placed a very high value on women being virgins when they marry. This value is one of the primary themes in Chronicle of a Death foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. In contrast, virginity does not appear to hold significance in Like Water for Chocolate by Laura Esquivel. However this is only on the surface but as one delves into the deeper meanings of each book it almost seems as if the authors view this social doctrine as childish. Throughout the stories contained within both books, a mockery is made out of the idea that celibacy is for those not yet married.
The plot of Chronicle of a Death Foretold is totally based on the understanding that maintaining a woman's virginity is important enough to kill for and conversely that anyone violating this social moray was risking death. Virginity is viewed as synonymous with honor. This aspect is what Garcia Marquez challenges with the use of irony. Throughout the book, he inserts aspects that speak directly to the importance of this theme and reinforces this concept by use of several devices, of which irony is the most prominent.
"No one would have thought, nor did anyone say, that Angela Vicario wasn't a virgin. She hadn't known any previous fiancé and she'd grown up along with her sisters under the rigor of a mother of iron. Even when it was less than two months before she would be married, Pura Vicario wouldn't let her go out alone with Bayardo San Roman to see the house where they were going to live, but she and the blind father accompanied her to watch over her honor."
The idea of protecting her virginity is so important as to have a blind father as a chaperone. This is absurd, to make a blind man to "watch" over Angela Vicario, and is how Gabriel Garcia Marquez ridicules the preconception of pre-marital virginity.
The societal value placed on these preconception is also demonstrated in small ways like the name of the mother,...
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