Chronicle of a Death Foretold

chronicle of a death foretold cover

Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel García Márquez, is an exciting yet complex book about solving the mystery of the death of a man called Santiago Nasar. Though the killers were revealed from the beginning, the narrator reflects on this event years later and tries to discover the true murderers behind the scenes. Support for different suspects sometimes overlaps and contradicts each other but below are some ideas and evidence that can be used.

I personally believe that the Vicario twins, Pablo and Pedro, are the most responsible not only because they physically killed Santiago, but also for other factors. Pablo was motivated by his fiancée, Prudencia Cortes, who later threatened to break up with him if he did not do it. With a family burden and his urge to show his dignity as a man, Pablo becomes radical and makes the final decision to kill Santiago mercilessly. On the other hand, Pedro’s imperative personality (developed from his years of service on the police patrol) caused him to lose control of his anger and convinced Pablo to join in the effort. Pedro’s dislike for dishonor as a soldier, especially to his family, is even stronger than Pablo; thus, he is credited as the motivator and the first strategist.

Other suspects, in fact the whole entire town, can be blamed, but I will analyze some more main characters. First of all, Angela Vicario starts this whole conflict when she tells her brothers that it was Santiago Nasar who took her virginity; therefore, leading to his death. Keep in mind that the town thinks that it is unlikely for Santiago to have committed it; consequently, most concluded that Angela was lying. If everybody’s assumption is true, then we can debate that Angela is a selfish girl who does not value another human being’s life; her immaturity prompts her to blame someone innocent.

One more main defendant is Purisima del Carmen, the mother of Angela and the twins. After Angela was returned home from her husband in shame, her mother beats her; thus, causing her to be delirious and to possibly say “Santiago Nasar” in a state of confusion. Purisima also demands her sons to come back home in order to help solve how to regain the family’s honor. In this way, she acts as the background commander giving the twins the idea of killing Santiago Nasar.

Through this book, Márquez demonstrates a negative but important trait in our society today. When there are a lot of people witnessing a crime, we tend to think that someone else will stand out. Compared to when there are less people, individuals are more likely to avoid being bystanders. In this case, the whole town did not warn Santiago of this murder and they all watched the twins stab him to death helplessly.

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The Grapes of Wrath

The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck, is a required book to read for Sophomores and I recently just finished this book. A story on what the migrants from the Great Plains faced when they traveled to California to escape the Dust Bowl and search for a better life during the Great Depression, Steinbeck portrays the views and hardships they endured through the journey of one family, the Joads.

First of all, some background information and facts. The entire book is based on biblical references to the Old Testament with an interesting structure: the first 10 chapters are about the Joads’ conditions in Oklahoma; the next 10 chapters are about being on the road to California; and the last 10 chapters focus on their new lives. The Joad family consisted of 12 members altogether and other tag-alongs, such as Jim Casy (J.C.), a preacher. They symbolize the 12 disciples Jesus Christ (J.C.) appointed to spread religious knowledge. The Joads travel through the desert to their “Golden Land” just like how Moses brings Egyptian slaves across the desert to a promised land. More biblical references occur throughout the book; watch out for Uncle John’s reaction to Rose of Sharon’s baby and Casy’s last speech. The camps the migrants lived in on their way to California were called Hoovervilles, intended to criticize the mismanagement of Herbert Hoover (the U.S. President during that time) for bringing the nation into chaos.

A complex book with many themes, it is best to watch out for certain main ideas you are bound to discuss in English classes throughout the book. The role of Ma as the leader of the family instead of Pa provides an rare example of the power of women during that time period. Ma’s relationship with Tom Joad could be debated as a unique bond, and possibly even a one-sided connection. Unity is of extreme importance; union of migrants proved to be the local Californians’ biggest fear. The title itself, The Grapes of Wrath, hints at the anger in men, which serves as the attitude to maintain hope in times of depression. More key points could be the maturity of Rose of Sharon, life and death, and the difference between the Hoovervilles and the roadside camps.

Though a long book, Steinbeck makes impressive symbolic comparisons, causing some readers to be deeply interested, some to be angered at his biased opinions, and some to sympathize with the migrants.

grapes of wrath