Florentino's character is directly associated with death after he has finally received Fermina's reply. He lies absolutely still in bed, "more dead than a dead man," for he is stunned both by her vicious prose and that she had bothered to reply at all. Indeed, a part of Florentino is dead upon receiving Fermina's reply, for any hope of immediate reconnection with her has been ruined by her curses. Florentino is growing very old, as is Fermina, and must now suffer the injustices of old age, as he once had to suffer the injustices of his youth. There is much bias against the elderly, and there exists a hurtful stereotype that any older person is limited, both in physical and mental capacities. When América laughs at Florentino's sober news that he intends to marry, she cannot take him seriously only because he is an old man, and in her own view, and in popular belief as well , old men (and women) simply do not — cannot — marry; for to be in love after mid-life seems against some unwritten social rule, and is therefore regarded as a mere joke.