Chronicle of a Death Foretold

by: Gabriel García Márquez

Chapter 4

Summary Chapter 4

Angela begins to write him letters. She writes a weekly letter to him for seventeen years. Then, halfway through a day in August, he comes into her workplace. He has gained weight and is balding. He takes a step forward and lays his saddlebags on the sewing machine, saying, "'Well, here I am." He is carrying one suitcase filled with clothing, and another suitcase filled with the letters she has sent him, arranged by date and tied with colored ribbons. They are all unopened.

Analysis

This chapter forms a corollary to the main narrative, which is primarily concerned with clarifying the facts around Santiago Nasar's death. The love story between Angela and Bayardo is tangential to the plot because it does not give more information about the murder.

The sexism of the characters' world is evidenced by the town's view of Bayardo san Roman as the ultimate victim after losing his wife. Even though Angela Vicario loses a husband, is beaten by her mother, and is dishonored for having premarital sex, she does not receive the same consideration as Bayardo.

At the narrative's beginning, Márquez includes a quote by Gil Vincente: "The pursuit of love / is like falconry." Falconry is mentioned several times in the narrative. The word "falconry" refers to both the actual practice of hunting small game with falcons and the art of training the falcons to hunt. The definitions of the word reflect the roles of Bayardo and Angela. In the beginning, Bayardo is hunting Angela as though she is the small game; by leaving her, he trains her to hunt, and she then hunts him.

The letters that Angela sends to Bayardo explore the notion of the love letter. Whereas the function love letters is traditionally to express emotion or convey longing, Bayardo does not value Angela's love letters for their content. By not opening any of the love letters, Bayardo shows that the repeated act of sending a love letter, rather than the love letter's actual content, demonstrates the love that Angela feels for him. Love letters are often formulaic and interchangeable; their content is less persuasive to Bayardo than the fact that they continue to arrive. His attitude makes the love letters part of the ritual of love, and underscores his relationship with Angela as another ritual within the story.