Love in the Time of Cholera: Expression of Unique Love Between Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza
The novel Love in the Time of Cholera, written by the Colombian author, Gabriel García Márquez, tells a love story of Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza. Their chronicle of affairs does not end with the Doctor and Fermina Daza’s marriage but otherwise, continues. It took place in the turning of the 20th century, on a lively town near the Caribbean coast of Colombia, where the two young Fermina Daza and Florentino Ariza first encountered. Florentino nurtured his love-at-first-sight, one-sided; spending months watching her from afar, admiring her “crowned goddess” beauty. Florentino grew lovesick while Fermina grew to have a realization of the feelings she had, of which were simply youthful exuberance and curiosity. After meeting and being married to the brilliant and meticulous Juvenal Urbino, whom she was able to live out her years of prosperity in the upper-class society. Only after the death of Juvenal Urbino, did the romance between Fermina and Florentino resumes. The audience was being told an unrequited love story, not noticing that they are put in a position of a one-sided romance. Love in the Time of Cholera was narrated in third-person, an omniscient narration which has the description of all aspects of the story. Though, being told from numerous perspectives, it exists an invisible barricade between the characters and the readers. An omniscient narrator gives insights into the plot and the minds of characters, however, this is sometimes limited.
The absence or misplacement of certain details or information has definitely affected the interpretation or understanding of the reader on the literature work. Examples can be seen through how the content of the letters Fermina had received when she was at Hildlebranda’s house was hidden; how Fermina had her interest grown in Florentino overnight after her husband’s death, etcetera. A major example that had a significant effect on the reader’s interpretation of the relationships between characters can be found in the first chapter. Dr.Urbino was portrayed to be faultless, whose obedient and faithful to his wife, but revealed later on that he had cheated on Fermina with Barbara Lynch, using “ethical violation”. These deferments can deliver a vague picture of the story and may cause the reader to feel lost in the flow of time.
Numerous omissions in Love in the Time of Cholera have also given an impression that the story can occasionally be biased to certain characters’ perspective. Despite being narrated in third person; from time to time, the narrator can shift his view and narration to a certain characters’, therefore being biased in the story. Aside from the previous examples which prove the narration to be biased, an example can be taken to prove how the narration can be switched to a characters viewpoint. In the first chapter, as Juvenal Urbino was visiting the mulatto in the old slave quarter. “Then the Doctor realized that she had been his opponent in the final game,…as he had supposed.” (page 15)
Juvenal Urbino is referring to Jeremiah de Saint-Amour’s opponent, however, how Marquez phrased the sentence appears to be speaking from his perspective. An example would be a paragraph at the moment of his death when he said his last confession to Fermina (page 51): “Fermina was in the kitchen tasting the soup…’Only God knows how much I loved you’ ” Throughout one paragraph, he had not used his name but ‘he’ and ‘she’ to show the intimacy and affection. Another could be taken later in the chapter. From page 59 to 60, the repetition of ‘she’ occurs through two long paragraphs, to describe Fermina’s cry and vulnerable-self. It was put in repetition as it was a significant moment after a strong and dynamic personality of Fermina was shown.
Throughout, we are able to see how the narration can be shifted between characters through subtle hints in the story. The subtlety here is an addition into building a theme for the novel, secrecy. The concept can be secrecy as the story revolves around the unrequited love of Florentino along with follow-ups of disrupted and random revelations. It creates a gap between the real and surreal in respect of the author’s effort and passion in magical realism. His practice can put the audience in a position of ambiguity that derives an illusion of themselves being told a secret and therefore, inquired into the story.
The idea of secrecy is present in the unrequited love by Florentino or with Jeremiah de Saint-Amour’s illicit love with a mulatto in the first half of the book. Marquez has created a bubble where the reader is an intruder, watching from afar. Where the reader can develop emotions and feelings towards characters, but cannot be shared or known. It plays a significant role in engaging the novel and its reader.
Another barrier between the story and its audience was also created by addressing the characters in their full names (i.e. Juvenal Urbino-Dr.Urbino, Lotario Thugut, etc). Characters are formally addressed since the beginning and throughout the book. It creates a distance or a barrier between the book and reality that its audiences are not capable of disrupting or interfering with the flow of the story. This could be one of Marquez’s techniques in creating a special ambiance to the story and how his work is received by the audience.
However, the author Marquez had also used this style of addressing in some of his other works such as The Autumn of the Patriarch or Chronicle of a Death Foretold. This suggests that it could be his distinct style in writing, that separates him from other writers, and not his usage exclusively to Love in the Time of Cholera. Although, the style was not used in One Hundred Years of Solitude; and that these works did not create a closed picture as in Love in the time of Cholera. which could verify his intention in imposing it on this particular work. In addition, it may also be a form of respect he pays toward his characters as they were inspired by his parents. Especially Florentino Ariza, who was fabricated based on his father and that his parents had gone through the prohibition of “Fermina’s” father with his father’s reputation of being promiscuous.
To conclude, Garcia Marquez had used his techniques very effectively and thoroughly that he was able to express his uniqueness while giving a soul to his work using numerous peculiar fashion. He built up an atmosphere within the story and an atmosphere for his audience by giving them a role to play. being able to take part in the story while not being able to intervene had again shown Marquez’s style in fusing what is real and what is not. By making the audience to “fall in a secret love” with the character, enhancing the theme of secrecy. The author Garcia Marquez was able to deliver a vivid and lively work through his sensible choice of word and creative concept.
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