The Cadaver That Ended La Violencia

The Cadaver That Ended La Violencia - K B Engl 1320.040 The...

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K B Engl 1320.040 The Cadaver that Saved Colombia On March 16, 1964 Time Magazine reported on a terrifying ordeal unfolding in Colombia “The fighting has been going for 16 years. In a country less populous than the state of New York, it has already claimed the lives of some 200,000 people — six times the total battle deaths of all U.S. forces in the Korean War”. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of the witnesses to this dark era in Colombian history, and author of The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World , was born March 6, 1927 in the Colombian coastal town of Aracataca. The world famous author was only twenty-one when La Violencia a political war between the country's two dominant political parties, the Liberal Party and the Conservative Party, began in 1948. The event was triggered by the assassination of Liberal Party Leader Jorge Eliecer Gaitan. Conservatives drove Liberals from their villages; Liberals regrouped as guerrillas, and a decade of violence ensued. Marquez undoubtedly drew inspiration from the climate he grew up in. He was and is currently an adamant supporter of peace, and more often than not, his novels and short stories were composed of the combination of the fantastic, and realistic. In order to create the imaginative world, reflective of the culture and conflicts of Colombia, Marquez used a combination of reality and fantasy. The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World is a reflection of La Violencia. One might ask how that’s possible; the poem is about a cadaver that washes up on shore, and changes a village? It’s possible because the drowned man is a symbol of nationalism. The drowned man represents nationalism by
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unifying the population, creating village pride, and the fact that the body came from a violent environment. Nationalism is a political movement that holds that a nation has the right to constitute an independent autonomous political community based on shared history and a common destiny. Marquez saw nationalism as the only hope to save Colombia from La Violencia. Nationalism has been around for centuries, and often times, is a result of a violent climate. When the man washed up on shore he looked utterly disgusting. The only indecipherable characteristic he possessed, that let the villagers know he was a man, was his face. The body was described as having “The smell of the sea about him and only his shape gave one to suppose that it was the corpse of a human being, because the skin was covered with a crust of mud and scale” (paragraph 2). No insight is given to how the man died, but one can imagine that he was tossed overboard in a violent storm, and after he
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This note was uploaded on 04/22/2008 for the course ENGL 101 taught by Professor Wormer during the Spring '08 term at North Texas.

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The Cadaver That Ended La Violencia - K B Engl 1320.040 The...

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