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An independent, headstrong person who is sophisticated and capable, Fermina prides herself on her unfaltering, haughty composure. She knows what she wants and will not stop until she successfully achieves it. When her husband does not allow her to keep any creature that does not speak, she finds one, a parrot, that can. When she adamantly refuses to forgive her husband until he admits to his own guilt, in time, he surrenders to her conditions. She refuses to accept blame for any misdeed; guilt is the one emotion she cannot tolerate. However, beneath her proud, unwavering facade, she seems a caring, nurturing woman, for she pampers her aging husband as she would a defenseless baby. Her fanatical love of animals and flowers also speaks to her nurturing, caring traits.
Fermina's sudden rejection of Florentino is founded in the many changes she undergoes during her long absence. She leaves the City of the Viceroys as a young, impressionable girl swept up by the zealous desires of her first suitor, but she returns as a poised and sophisticated woman. The thrill of her forbidden romance with Florentino is lost on her with the onset of womanhood, for it is no longer scandalous or dangerous as it was when she was a young girl, bent on disobeying her domineering father. In her maturity, she realizes that her love for Florentino had been nothing more than the foolish adoration of a mere illusion, a fantasy of an idealized man and an idealized romance. In realizing her mistake, she feels compelled to move on into her adulthood without lingering on the foolish whims of her youth.
In her adulthood, she is a highly esteemed person who commands of respect. In marrying Dr. Urbino, she marries into the blue-blooded upper crust from the ranks of the peasants, and upholds with the utmost proficiency her position as a lady of society. Her husband's overtly religious behavior disturbs her, for, after attending the Academy of the Presentation of the Blessed Virgin, an all girls, Catholic school which she is eventually expelled from, she is disillusioned by Religion and the Church. Both, she feels, lack the virtue they preach to their followers. When the Doctor suggests,as he does on numerous occasions, to involve the Archbishop in their faltering marriage, she adamantly, proudly refuses, and a stands her ground, as she does throughout the entirety of the novel.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Love in the Time of Cholera!