Point That María Alejandrina Cervantes
According to one of Gabriel García Márquez’s most famous novels, Chronicle of a Death Foretold, “The brothers were brought up to be men.The girls had been reared to get married” (34).This view of the role of women seems dominant in the novel’s small town setting, to which Márquez gives no sense of time.By tradition, all any girl knows how to do is be a wife, no matter what the emotional cost.Proof of this comes when the narrator’s mother says of Angela Vicario and her sisters, “‘Any man will be happy with them because they’ve been raised to suffer”’ (34).Almost no one dreams of having to suffer in a marriage, but there seems to be no choice in this case.Interestingly, there is a requirement a woman must follow once she is married that could make little girls cringe.In order to be “perfect” for her man, a woman must be a virgin on the wedding night.A married woman can be disowned on every count if she does not have her virginity, and this is the case for Angela.However, the narrator makes a point that María Alejandrina Cervantes, the town whore, is not held to the same standard as Angela, as María “was the one who did away with my generation’s virginity” (74).While virginity is very valued in this culture, a married woman and a prostitute are both socially acceptable.
Most people think of marriage as something that is done out of love for someone.In addition, most people wait to marry until they have known their future spouse for a long time.The narrator makes it clear, though, that the marriages are usually arranged by the family in this society, often with a fast timeline.Furthermore, whether a husband has a lot of money to provide for his wife seems to be more important than if he is well known in the community.Proof of this comes when Bayardo San Román, Angela’s future husband, says that he has been “‘going from town to town looking for someone to marry”’ (28).Bayardo does not seem to care who it is he marries, as long as the girl is socially and morally acceptable.To top it all off, Bayardo turns out to be much older than his future bride.The narrator says that he is thirty and implies that Angela is much younger.Age probably does not matter much to Bayardo, though, considering that Angela is “the prettiest of the four [daughters in the family]” (34).Perhaps because she is so pretty in his eyes, Bayardo showers Angela with gifts, most notably, a music box.Bayardo impresses the family with two things: his ability to provide for Angela and his good name.When Angela protests the idea of marrying Bayardo because she does not love him, her mother shuts her down by saying that “‘Love can be learned too” (38).Seeing no way out of her situation, Angela marries the man, but no one knows that she does not have her virginity.When Bayardo finds out about this secret, instead of having a forgiving heart, he takes her back home immediately.Angela is not forgiven, much less welcomed, back to her childhood home.As punishment for her less than perfect actions, Angela’s mother spanks her continuously but quietly, perhaps symbolic of the fact that no one cares about the feelings of a married woman who lies to her husband.This also proves that lying is a betrayal of family honor.
The ideas of honor and commitment to family are what kills the protagonist of Márquez’s story, Santiago Nasar.As if to prove the amount of honor Santiago tested by taking Angela’s virginity, he is killed barbarically, with knives meant for butchering pigs.Pedro and Pablo, Angela’s brothers, are the ones who kill Santiago, and they go to jail with pride.Everyone should be concerned with Angela’s wellbeing after the death has happened, as she suffers because of it.Due to the culture, though,“For the immense majority of people there was only one victim: Bayardo San Román” (96).Perhapsbecause the murder was Angela’s fault in the eyes of society, “They [the family] left [town] without anyone’s noticing” (95).To furtherdifferentiate Angela from the crowd when the family left, she was dressed “in bright red so nobody might think she was mourning her secret lover” (95).While María is loving life as a prostitute, Angela is made an outcast and is forced to make a living as a seamstress far away from any civilization.
While Angela’s family is busy condemning her for one decision in her life, and her brothers are in jail for killing the man who took her virginity, María, the town prostitute, is embraced by most men.She seems to have spent most of her life teaching men life lessons that are far from appropriate.The life lesson the narrator remembers being taught by her is “that there’s no place in life sadder than an empty bed” (74).On the night of Angela and Bayardo’s wedding, and since a few days prior to it, María and her “mulatto girls” took care of “those of us still unsated” (74) by the wedding.The narrator also says that María “is the most serviceable in bed…but also the strictest” (74).María has every right to be strict with her body, despite her chosen occupation.Some might see, however, the possibility of Angela being careful with her body too.Also, the tone of the novel suggests that Angela only disappoints the expectations of her future husband once.With that potential information in mind, it seems odd that the same way María makes a living is the reason Angela gets to be hated and abused.