Gender Roles in Chronicle of a Death Foretold
Marquez employs various other male characters to demonstrate another role present throughout the novella- how men were more dominant than women and were expected to keep them ‘in place’. A character that demonstrates this is none other than Santiago Nasar, the man who was killed for supposedly deflowering a girl before her marriage.
While it is never revealed whether Nasar truly is guilty of deflowering Angela, his reputation around town does not help his case- he is known for making sexual passes at young women, including Divina Flor, a daughter of Victoria Guzmán (his servant). Divina’s name is symbolic for her ‘purity’, juxtaposing against Santiago Nasar’s aggressive sexuality, and one may say that Santiago Nasar embraces the sexual aggressiveness that was expected to be displayed by the men at that time, as they were expected to be macho men- and it also demonstrates two different roles of men and women in society: how men were almost expected to use women as objects, and how the women were then meant to be submissive in nature, and take it all with a smile and more.
Another important male character that depicts this role of men is Bayardo San Roman- Bayardo practically forces Angela to marry him when the two don’t even know each other, and he decides to marry her only based on how she looks, and the two haven’t even spoken to one another. Many believe that he buys her love through the expensive things he gets her, however, he buys the family’s love and adoration, while she believes he is ‘too much of a man’ for her. He does not take the time to truly appreciate her (as herself) and believes his money and good looks will be enough for her, however this in reality shows how men expected women would only wish to marry them because of wealth and looks, and this brings out a role that was expected of women- marriage.
Women were expected to marry and leave their jobs after getting married (Angela’s mother is a prime example of this- she left her job as school teacher right after she got married), as in this society, it was a woman’s role to be a caregiver and be the best possible wife. Moreover, marriage was held to such a high regard that if a woman was not married (or did not want to get married), something was seen to be ’wrong’ with her- and love was not a factor in marriage as ‘love can be learnt’, as Pura Vicario states. Marriage was a job, and it gave people status- and women were expected to be virgins to show their supposed purity- and the richer you married, the higher up the social hierarchy you went. Women were expected to be virgins and ‘pure’ while men were expected to be experienced which brings up the paradox of how exactly the men were meant to get any ‘experience’
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