Her caution seemed natural, because there was no public misfortune more shameful than for a woman to be jilted in her bridal gown.

The narrator explains why, on the day of Angela’s wedding, when Bayardo San Roman shows up two hours late, Angela refuses to get dressed. She understands that getting jilted while wearing her gown would have been the ultimate embarrassment, so she doesn’t dress until the wedding seems certain. Readers may note that being jilted on your wedding day would be embarrassing enough and that what you are wearing shouldn’t matter. However, for the women in this story, the symbol of being a jilted bride—represented by the actual gown—brings more shame than actually being rejected.

“I knew what they were up to,” she told me, “and I didn’t only agree, I never would have married him if he hadn’t done what a man should do.”

Prudencia Cotes, Pablo Vicario’s fiancée, tells the narrator that she knew what Pablo and Pedro were up to and would not have married him if he hadn’t done what a man is supposed to do—in this case, kill a man to restore his sister’s honor. For some people, murder would be a deal-breaker in a marriage, but because gender roles are so enforced in this world, Prudencia wouldn’t have even considered Pablo a real man if he did not murder Santiago Nasar.

So Clotilde Armenta had good reason when it seemed to her that the twins weren’t as resolute as before, and she served them a bottle of rotgut rum with the hope of getting them dead drunk. “That day,” she told me, “I realized just how alone we women are in the world!”

Clotilde Armenta, the owner of the milk shop that the Vicario brothers frequent, has heard of their plan to kill Santiago Nasar. When she senses that they no longer seem as determined to carry out their mission, she tries to get them drunk so that they will not be able to kill Santiago. Unlike Prudencia, Clotilde does not see gender roles in the same way and instead believes that women alone can protect men from themselves.