Pura Vicario goes to bed at eleven o'clock and has fallen into a deep sleep when there is a knocking at the door. She opens the door and sees Bayardo and Angela standing there. Bayardo pushes his wife into the house and kisses Pura on the cheek, thanking her for everything. After he leaves, Pura holds Angela's hair with one hand and beats her with the other. She does this so stealthily that she does not wake her husband and other daughters. The twins return home, and Pedro asks Angela who has taken her virginity. She says that it was Santiago Nasar.


This chapter explains the motive for the murder of Santiago Nasar. The narrator implies that Santiago is not, in fact, guilty of the crime he dies for. However, even if Santiago truly is innocent, we never learn who was guilty of taking Angela Vicario's virginity. Nor does the narrator—he questions Angela at length later in life, but she quietly persists in saying that Santiago was the one.

After Bayardo's family comes to visit the Vicarios, it becomes clear to the town that Bayardo can marry whomever he wants to. Angela Vicario's parents are highly in favor of the match, since Bayardo is handsome, wealthy, and comes from a prestigious family. Earlier in the narrative, the narrator says that the Vicario boys "were raised to be men," and that the Vicario daughters "were raised to be married." In this culture, the best way a woman could improve her life was to marry a husband who would provide for her well. Angela Vicario protested to her parents that she did not love Bayardo, but her mother dismissed that idea, telling her that love could be learned.

The brutality of the social conventions surrounding women becomes clear in this chapter. Because she was not a virgin when she married, not only is Angela abandoned by her husband, but she is beaten by her mother. The double standards of her culture are highlighted by the fact that the narrator, Santiago, Luis Enrique, and Cristo are all at a whorehouse doing whatever they please. It is culturally acceptable for men to have premarital sex, even if they are already betrothed to marry other women.

The importance of the ritual of courtship is also very evident in Colombian culture. Bayardo will do whatever it takes to win the approval of Angela by showering her with gifts. The economy behind the match is made clear through this method of courting. Bayardo does not seem to concern himself with getting to know Angela Vicario; he merely demonstrates the amount of money he will be willing to spend on her. Bayardo demonstrates that he will get the music box and that he will buy the house. It is a way of showing not only the bride, but the bride's parents, that she will be well taken care of. Another ritual is that the entire family of each spouse must meet before the match can be approved—understanding the background of the spouse is vital, so that the daughter does not dishonor herself by marrying someone from a questionable family with little money.