Gender Roles In Chronicle Of A Death Foretold

1436 Words 6 Pages
Chronicle of a Death Foretold is a narrative that retells the events leading up to

the death of Santiago Nasar. Throughout the novella, there are many instances in which

a man is in a place of power, however, the female characters often are denied this

opportunity. Power can be defined as having the ability to stand up for yourself or

others, make your own decisions, and having an important role in society. It is the sole

characteristic that differentiates men from women in Chronicle of a Death Foretold.

Despite the few instances where women are placed in positions of power, Gabriel

Garcia Marquez effectively proves that women are depicted as powerless through the

use of machismo throughout the story, integrating Colombian gender roles
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“Victoria Guzman, the cook,” (8) is one of the first women we are

introduced to in the novella. Her role in society as only a cook instantly shows how

gender roles differentiate the types of jobs men and women have in society. Alongside

Victoria, almost every other female character does not have a major role in society.

Both of the Vicario women are examples of this. Angela is raised to be very obedient

and obeys almost everything her parents tell her to do. She is forced into a marriage by

her family with Bayardo San Roman. However, she does not resist, she gives in to her

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fate as if it is inevitable and unchangeable. Alongside her, Purisima, her mother, is a

prime example of fitting the Latin American gender roles because she ‘devoted herself

with such spirit of sacrifice to the care of her husband and the rearing of her children,’

(31). Her actions show how she could never be in a place of power if her only role is to

be a caretaker. Preventing her from being able to be powerful, causes her to be

powerless. Divina Flor also gives in to Santiago’s actions towards her without
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Thus her lack of actions

characterizes her as being powerless through the use of gender roles as she fits the

female role. The integration of Latin American gender roles consequently creates

women who have an insignificant role within society.

Not only are gender roles a factor in creating powerless women, but the

tremendous amount of unique challenges women must face, while compared to men,

also leaves them powerless. Throughout the novella, women must face many

challenges that men do not have to face. However, the main challenge they face is

protecting themselves from certain men. The best example of this in the novella is how

women must defend themselves from any form of sexual abuse/assault from men. This

is evident when Victoria states that she had been seduced by Santiago’s father, Ibrahim

Nasar. She explicitly describes Ibrahim as ‘a shit,’ (10) which shows the negativity she

feels towards him. Even though the act of sleeping with many women is not frowned

upon for men, it is frowned upon when women sleep with men before marriage, which

effectively leaves them powerless as they are faced with a double standard with men.

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