Chronicle of a Death Foretold

by: Gabriel García Márquez

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

"Pedro Vicario, the more forceful of the brothers, picked her up by the waist and sat her on the dining room table. 'All right, girl,' he said to her, trembling with rage, 'tell us who it was.' She only took the time necessary to say the name. She looked for it in the shadows, she found it at first sight among the many, many easily confused names from this world and the other, and she nailed it to the wall with her well-aimed dart, like a butterfly with no will whose sentence has always been written. 'Santiago Nasar,' she said.

This quote, taken from the end of the second chapter, describes the scene when Angela tells her brothers who took her virginity. This event demonstrates the escapist ambiguity of Márquez's writing style that runs through the book as a whole.

The image of a butterfly pinned to a wall is symbolic of both Santiago Nasar's situation and of Angela Vicario's. Once she has proclaimed that Santiago is the one who took her virginity, his fate, like her own, becomes bounded by cultural mores. Angela Vicario herself was pinned by other darts—if she did not give her brothers a name, they would have become furious at her for protecting the man who had dishonored her. She "pins" Santiago with her words, but she herself is "pinned" by the sexism of the culture.

Márquez's description of Angela's thought process as she spoke Santiago's name is interesting because he suggests that many names, not only of people who are alive, but of people who have passed away, come to her. The image of the butterfly paired with the evocation of living and dead names floating around in Angela's mind is a somewhat whimsical and fantastical. This use of magic realism in Chronicle of a Death Foretold works against the journalistic style of the novel as a whole and obscures what is actually going on. The reader is presented with a surreal version of what Angela thought, but never finds out if what she said was true.