Roles of Women in Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Throughout history, women have always played the part of homemaker, tending to the needs of the family. It was only in recent history that women have been accepted to be part of the working class. Sometimes, even surpassing expectations of men, or being in higher positions than men themselves breaking or changing norms in the process. What Gabriel Garcia Marquez did in Chronicle of a Death Foretold is to show what roles women had at the setting of the story. The place wasn’t that important since these norms were accepted in almost all parts of the globe. Men were raised to be men while women were raised to be married
This line came almost directly from the selection, the narrator referring to the Vicario siblings. Getting married was the sole purpose of women back then. They were not expected to finish school, to work along side men, or anything that society dictates as “un-woman like” All the women had to learn then was to cook, clean, and take care of his husband and would be kids. Everything else is man’s work. Marrying a man from a decent family (meaning wealthy) is the only way for women to go up the sociological ladder, since they won’t find work in high paying jobs.
It was the only way to secure a good future for themselves. Though most of the time, it is the parents that take the initiative. Like in Angela Vicario’s case, she did not want to marry Bayardo San Roman, it was her mother that wanted Angela to marry the newcomer. Purisma del Carmen, Angela’s mother, beat Angela after she was returned by Bayardo San Roman after finding out that she was no longer a virgin, proving the severity of the consequences for being “tamed” before a woman is wed. Either Chores or Whores Women do most of the household chores when they are still living with their parents.
It is like their training ground for the tasks of being a wife and a mother in the future. Even if they do manage to find a job, it’s likely to work as a house helper for a rich family. Like Victoria Guzman, the helper Santiago’s family, even her daughter is already doing work for the family. Even if they do become independent, chances are some of them would work as prostitutes that work in whorehouses. Like what Maria Alejandrina Cervantes does for a living. She is a known prostitute in the area, and is familiar with most of the major characters in the story.
On rare occasions that a woman actually lands a decent job other than being servant, it’s either as a teacher for kids, which is stereotyped to women or she handles her own business. Clothilde Armenta runs her own milk shop near Santiago Nasar’s house where the Vicario twins were waiting before they murder Santiago. Angela Vicario’s mother, Purisma del Carmen, was a school teacher before she got married to Poncio Vicario, Angela’s father. It seems, even if women manage to attain education to practice their profession. They are bound to stay home to take care of their family.
It’s a choice of being an old maid or a maid that would eventually become old. Whatever they choose, they would be maids one way or the other. If it was not considered shameful to grow old single back then, maybe women would have started working like what the world is seeing right now. Perhaps one important role that was left for the women, at least in the story, is the hosting of a town event. Angela hosted a town raffle that Bayardo San Roman won, because he bought all of the tickets. Girls would be girls, boys would be boys
Santiago Nasar’s mother, Placida Linero and the narrator’s mother supposedly could interpret dreams. In contrast to Santiago’s father who likes firearms, falconry, and horses. Santiago inherited both these qualities. Interpreting dreams has never been attributed to men, or even if they can, they do not like to talk about it. It’s considered to be not masculine. Maybe that’s why Marquez chose women to be more spiritual in the story than man and for men to just engage in the mentioned activities because he wants to show the typical men and women of that time.
It was mostly the girls that showed concern for the welfare of Santiago Nasar. Margot, upon learning about the Vicario Twins’plan, told her mother, Luisa Santiaga about it. In turn Luisa Santiaga warns Placida about the danger that his son is in to. Try as she might, it was already too late when she found out about the plan because on her way to warn her son, someone tells her that her son has already been killed. At the milk shop of Clothilde Armenta, where the twins publicly announce their desire to kill Santiago, she gives them rum hoping that would be too drunk to even hold a knife.
Despite her efforts, the twins were still able to stab to death Santiago Nasar. Loyal Lovers Through Angela Vecario, Marquez was able to show the loyalty of women. Seventeen years after the murder of Santiago Nasar, Bayardo San Ramon returns to be with Angela. Apparently, after Bayardo returned Angela to her home, she fell in love with him. She wrote Bayardo every week for seventeen years while he was away. Then one day, he came to her, with all of her unopened letters. He did not need to read them, the fact that Angela wrote to him without fail for seventeen years is enough for him to prove that her love is real.
Not Fair Play The main role of women depicted in the story is they have to remain virgins until the night of their marriage. It was considered unethical for a woman to engage in sexual relations before she is wed. If they were caught breaking this rule, they would be branded as outcasts in the society. Their chances of finding a man to be their husband would be slim. Plus the shame she had supposedly put herself and her family. This Double of Standard of man has been around since marriage was practiced. This doesn’t necessarily mean monogamy for men, only women were supposed to follow this rule.
Engaged men or even married men are known to sleep with other women and yet. It is the women that are always punished. Treated as a “damaged merchandise” Bayardo returned Angela to her house where he figuratively bought her. The family had to move to another town in order to escape the “humiliation” that was caused by the scandal. Bayardo was treated as the victim in this event. Honor bound, the Vicario twins, Pedro and Pablo set out to kill Santiago Nasar, the unfortunate man that Angela pointed a finger on. Conclusion
One of the great things about Literature is that it tells the culture of a population on the setting on where and when it was it. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, we readers see, how unfair men have become to women. Having double standards, and limiting women to household work. Through Marquez’s work, we were able to compare the culture and norms of Colombia during the story’s setting, towards gender roles, which is universally the same. From this comparison, we were able to tell, our mistakes and learn from it.