full title Love in the Time of Cholera
author Gabriel GarcíEscolasticaa Márquez
type of work Novel
genre Fiction, Romance
early 1980's, bogota, colombia and mexico city, mexico
date of first publication 1985
publisher Penguin Books
point of view The narrator is continuously omniscient throughout the entirety of the novel and provides an objective view of each character through sequence of events, dialogue, and description. tone The narration is written much like poetry; the language is dense and somewhat formal, though it is beautified by lyricism and rich description. Despite its very formal use of language, the poetic tone is often injected with humor. tense Frequently shifts in tense from present to past; the book begins in the present, and makes references to a yet unknown past, which is explained later on in the book. In explaining the history of the first scenes, the author builds up to the final, current scene. setting (time) Turn of the century
setting (place) Fabricated, tropical Caribbean port ("District of the Viceroys"), turn of the century protagonist Florentino Ariza and/or Fermina Daza
major conflict Florentino Ariza suffers for more than fifty years without Fermina Daza, his first love, and tries to win her back after the death of her husband, Dr. Juvenal Urbino. rising action Dr. Juvenal Urbino falls to his death on Pentecost Sunday, after trying to retrieve his pet parrot from the mango tree in the yard. climax After more than half a century, Florentino Ariza reiterates his love for Fermina Daza on the night of her husband's funeral. falling action Florentino and Fermina, both of whom are now elderly, fall back in love on a riverboat cruise. themes Love as an Emotional and Physical Plague; The Fear and Intolerance of Aging and Death; Suffering in the Name of Love motifs Birds; Flowers; Water
symbols The Yellow Flag of Cholera; The "Tiger;" A Camellia Flower foreshadowing Jeremiah Saint-Amour's suicide, and the discovery of his secret lover foreshadows the narrative explanation of the love affair between Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza. Fermina's refusal of Florentino's camellias, "flowers of promise," and the bird droppings that fall on her embroidery work when he asks for her permission to court her, foreshadow the anguish their tortured affair will entail.
Born on March 6, 1928, Gabriel García Márquez has been acclaimed as one of the finest Latin-American writers. Shortly after his birth, his parents surrendered him to his maternal grandparents, who raised him until he turned eight years old. He grew up in Aractaca, Colombia, a town nearby to the Caribbean where banana cultivation was the prime source of income. His grandfather, a retired colonel, was a Liberal veteran of the War of a Thousand Days, and often told Márquez stories of the battlefield. His grandmother was also a storyteller, and told the young Márquez tales of folklore, legends, and ghosts. The history behind Márquez's mother and father provided the writer a basis for Love in the Time of Cholera, particularly for the character of Florentino Ariza. Like Florentino Ariza, Márquez's father, Gabriel Eligio Gracia, was known as somewhat of a philanderer in the community, and was rumored to have fathered four illegitimate children. Gracia courts Márquez's mother, Luisa Santiaga Márquez Iguarán, as Florentino Ariza courts Fermina Daza in the novel, but the girl's father, the Colonel, who is comparable to Lorenzo Daza's character, discourages the romance from developing, on account of García's tarnished reputation. Gárcia woos his beloved Iguarán with violin serenades, love poems, and innumerable letters, just as Florentino woos Fermina in the novel. Márquez's own life also parallels the events and characters of Love in the Time of Cholera. Like Fermina Daza's character, Márquez's love interest and future wife had asked that he...
References: to birds as representations of danger and temptation are made continually throughout the novel. The single most important bird in the novel is the cunning parrot which is responsible for Dr. Urbino 's death, and establishes the meaning for later references to birds. The prostitutes at a transient hotel are referred to as "birds," a term also used to describe the promiscuous-looking women who ride the trolley with Florentino. The birds in this and in later chapters pose a danger or a possible threat to the characters, as the "birds" at the hotel threaten Florentino 's purity. In Chapter 2, when Florentino first approaches and speaks to Fermina, bird droppings fall and splatter onto Fermina 's embroidery work, foreboding the romance 's ill fate. Later, in Chapter 3, Dr. Urbino says, as he leaves the house of Lorenzo and Fermina Daza, to beware, for the birds — like women — will peck one 's eyes out.
The Yellow Flag of Cholera
When the Captain raises the yellow flag to announce to other ports that there is a case of cholera aboard, his gesture is symbolic of Florentino 's complete surrender to his plague of desires, for, at long last, he has finally been consumed by Fermina 's love, and has surrendered himself to it, as a sufferer of cholera would surrender to death.
When, in Chapter 5, Florentino announces that he and Leona Cassiani have "killed the tiger," he implies that they have overcome any remaining sexual tension between them, the "tiger" representing that tension. Since Florentino first meets Leona Cassiani, there is an enduring sexual tension between them, particularly because Florentino had initially mistaken Leona for a whore. However, the current of sexual electricity that runs between Leona and Florentino lessens in the years after their first meeting. Leona and Florentino "kill the tiger" with honest communication, specifically when Leona tells Florentino, with the utmost sincerity, that she has known for a long time that he is not the man she is looking for.
A Camellia Flower
In many of his letters, Florentino sends Fermina a white camellia, the "flower of promise," a gesture which represents his undying love for her. In Chapter 1, Fermina refuses the first camellia Florentino gives her from his lapel, and returns the subsequent camellias he sends her. In her refusal to accept the camellias, Fermina rejects any commitment to Florentino and his offering of love. She does not want to be bound to him, and by refusing the "flowers of promise," not only does she resist any obligation to her lover, but, as she understands it, helps to curb any thoughts of marriage that Florentino may have. Thus, his marriage proposal comes as a complete shock, and leaves her panic-stricken, for she is not yet mature enough to undertake such an immense responsibility as marriage.
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