Marquez negotiation with Time and Memory in "Chronicle of a death foretold"

Topics: Future, Time, Present Pages: 3 (1236 words) Published: April 27, 2015
Name: Parikshit Hamritte
Roll no: 3063
BA (Honours) English- 3rd Year

Comment upon Marquez’s negotiation of time and memory.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold, is a compelling text about the marvels of human resources into collecting, recollecting and recording fragments of time through memory. The grandiloquent title resonates with tremendous bearings of the book’s concern with the nature of time and memory in an endeavour to reconstruct the past: Santiago’s death. As such, Chronicle of a Death Foretold operates on different dimensional levels at piecing together the subjective recollections of the townspeople, assembling factual evidences, eye-witness accounts and written testimony to assign meaning to the past, present and future.

At the very outset, the first sentence of the book prefigures its major concern with the nature of memory:
“On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty […] “He was always dreaming about trees,” Placida Linero, his mother, told me twenty-seven years later, recalling the details of that disturbing Monday.”

It is unequivocal enough that the story is narrated in retrospect, from a time after the murder has taken place. As it is, the first sentence sets forth sharply, with journalistic precision minute details like the time Santiago woke up, the dream he had, his state of mind with the view to remind us that this is a chronicle, a chronology of events. By describing the mother’s recollection of the memories of the past, Marquez draws our attention to the subjectivity of memory, the inseparability of fact and interpretation, the inherent fallibility of written history and the insufficiency of words to depict and reflect human experience. The perception of reality through memory comes with a baffling human desire to generalize. This is noticeable when Placide Linero tries to generalize: “he was always dreaming about trees”, unable to...
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