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Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Gabriel García Márquez

Chapter 4

Chapter 3

Chapter 5

Summary

Because Doctor Dionisio Iguaran is absent, the mayor orders Father Carmen Amador to perform the autopsy on Santiago Nasar. They perform it at the public school with the help of a druggist and a first-year medical student. The report concludes that the death has been brought on by a massive hemorrhage caused by any one of the seven fatal wounds. After the poorly executed autopsy, they quickly bury the body.

The narrator goes to see Maria Alejandrina Cervantes after the autopsy, but she won't sleep with him because she says he smells like Santiago. The Vicario brothers also complain that they can't get his smell off of their bodies, nor can they sleep. They are placed in the local prison, and Pablo Vicario gets a serious case of the runs.

The whole Vicario family leaves town. Angela Vicario's face is wrapped so that no one would see the bruises from the beating her mother gave her, and she was dressed in bright red so that nobody would think that she was mourning for her secret lover. Poncio Vicario died shortly thereafter. The twins were transferred to a prison in Riohacha, a day's trip from Manaure, the town that the Vicario family moved to. Prudencia Cotes moves to Manaure three years later to marry Pablo Vicario after he gets out of jail. Pablo learns to work with precious metals and becomes a goldsmith. Pedro Vicario goes back into the armed forces, and is never heard from again.

The mayor goes to check on Bayardo San Roman a week after the murder and finds him lying in his bed, almost dead with alcohol poisoning. Dr. Iguaran treats him, but as soon as he recovers he throws the mayor and the doctor out of his house. The mayor informed General Petronio San Roman of the situation, and he sends his wife and daughters to get Bayardo. They arrive in mourning with their hair loose, and wail as they walk barefoot to the house. They carry Bayardo out on a cot, put him on the boat and take him away.

Angela Vicario ends up in a town called Guarija, making her living as an embroiderer. When the narrator finally goes to see her, he finds her with glasses and with yellowish gray hair. He says she is so mature and witty that it is hard to believe she is the same person. The narrator asks Angela if it was really Santiago Nasar who took her virginity, and she calmly says it was, even though, as the narrator says, Angela and Santiago were never seen together.

The narrator says that the true misfortune for Angela is that as soon as Bayardo brings her home, he is in her life forever. She begins to think about him constantly. She says that when her mother beat her, she wasn't crying because of anything that had happened—she was crying because of him.

Angela begins to write him letters. She writes a weekly letter to him for seventeen years. Then, halfway through a day in August, he comes into her workplace. He has gained weight and is balding. He takes a step forward and lays his saddlebags on the sewing machine, saying, "'Well, here I am." He is carrying one suitcase filled with clothing, and another suitcase filled with the letters she has sent him, arranged by date and tied with colored ribbons. They are all unopened.

Analysis

This chapter forms a corollary to the main narrative, which is primarily concerned with clarifying the facts around Santiago Nasar's death. The love story between Angela and Bayardo is tangential to the plot because it does not give more information about the murder.

The sexism of the characters' world is evidenced by the town's view of Bayardo san Roman as the ultimate victim after losing his wife. Even though Angela Vicario loses a husband, is beaten by her mother, and is dishonored for having premarital sex, she does not receive the same consideration as Bayardo.

At the narrative's beginning, Márquez includes a quote by Gil Vincente: "The pursuit of love / is like falconry." Falconry is mentioned several times in the narrative. The word "falconry" refers to both the actual practice of hunting small game with falcons and the art of training the falcons to hunt. The definitions of the word reflect the roles of Bayardo and Angela. In the beginning, Bayardo is hunting Angela as though she is the small game; by leaving her, he trains her to hunt, and she then hunts him.

The letters that Angela sends to Bayardo explore the notion of the love letter. Whereas the function love letters is traditionally to express emotion or convey longing, Bayardo does not value Angela's love letters for their content. By not opening any of the love letters, Bayardo shows that the repeated act of sending a love letter, rather than the love letter's actual content, demonstrates the love that Angela feels for him. Love letters are often formulaic and interchangeable; their content is less persuasive to Bayardo than the fact that they continue to arrive. His attitude makes the love letters part of the ritual of love, and underscores his relationship with Angela as another ritual within the story.

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EDIT:

by smcgehee, July 06, 2014

"In the 1920s and 1930s, the Latin-American novel did little besides realistically portray of regional or national life and customs."

Should read-
"In the 1920s and 1930s, the Latin-American novel did little besides realistically portray regional or national life and customs."

EDIT:

by smcgehee, July 06, 2014

"the novel tells the story OF A THE narrator's return to the Colombian town to resolve the details of a murder twenty years after it had taken place."
Should Read:
"the novel tells the story OF THE narrator's return to the Colombian town to resolve the details of a murder twenty years after it had taken place."

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