The Sailor Who Fell From Grace With The Sea Analysis

Good Essays
Tawney Knecht
IB World Literature
27 October 2010
The Rationality of Murder The theory of cognitive dissonance is a prevalent driving force in human nature that people often fail to acknowledge. Cognitive dissonance suggests that when faced with conflict, people are capable of manipulating ideas in order to rationalize their actions. This concept is put to the ultimate test when the people from the unnamed town in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold and the boys from the gang in Yukio Mishima’s The Sailor who Fell from Grace with the Sea are faced with decisions that could mean the difference between life and death. As a result, the two novels assert that human beings can rationalize anything, even murder.
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“No one ever wondered whether Santiago Nasar had been warned, because it seemed impossible to all that he hadn’t” (Marquez 20). This launches an important question: how responsible are you for your knowledge? Assuming that the people of the town were accountable for reporting the foretold murder to Santiago Nasar after obtaining knowledge of the allegations, it is then fair to assume that there is a reason behind their resolve to do nothing based on the assumption that it was their obligation to act. This nullifies ignorance as an excuse for the lack of action. In other words, the people had a duty to tell Santiago Nasar about the threat, and claiming that they assumed he already knew about it is not a valid excuse with a threat of this magnitude, but because that excuse is so predominant throughout the novel, it suggests that the people truly believed, even if only subconsciously, that Santiago Nasar deserved to die, and therefore resolved to do nothing to thwart the event. The people invented the idea that Santiago had foreknowledge of the event, hence justifying their lack of action and, to the same extent, the murder

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