Chronicle of a Death Foretold.docx - Chronicle of a Death...

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Chronicle of a Death Foretold | Study GuideGabriel García MárquezOverviewAuthorGabriel García MárquezYear Published1981TypeNovellaGenreFictionPerspective and NarratorChronicle of a Death Foretoldis told from the perspective of an unnamed narrator,allegedly the author, who pieces together a journalistic narrative of a past event. Thestory as related by the characters is told in the third person by the narrator, who alsouses the first person to describe his own involvement in the story.TenseChronicle of a Death Foretoldis told in the past tense.About the TitleThe titleChronicle of a Death Foretoldstates that the novella is achronicle, whichnarrates events in chronological order. However, the author uses thelabelchroniclewith verbal irony (when what is meant is different from what is said),because the events in the story are not revealed in chronological order. Further, the titlereveals that the story'sdeathisforetoldor known in advance—and this death occurs atthe very beginning of the novella. So this, too, undermines the real-life, journalisticpretense of the author. In short, the title contrasts with the nonlinear and somewhatmysterious and inexplicable nature of the events in the narrative.ContextSurrealist FictionSurrealism is a type of art intended to defy rationality. According toEncyclopediaBritannica, surrealism aims to "renounce logic and realism and overturn social andcultural conventions of the time." With verbal irony (in which what is meant is differentfrom what is said), the novella is called achronicle; it completely obfuscates thechronology during which key events occur. The accumulation of strange coincidencesand the failure of memory also serve to make the central incident in the story seemuncanny or beyond what would normally be expected in the real world.Chronicle of a Death Foretoldis surrealist fiction insofar as the overwhelming number ofaccidents, misunderstandings, misinterpretations, contradictions, and confusedmemories seem to completely undermine reason and human understanding regardinghow events unfold in the real world. The mind cannot make sense of how or why allthese interlocking mistakes and coincidences seem to conspire so that, together, they
make the death of the central character seem inevitable, or foretold. As author IsabelRodriguez-Vergara points out, "The fragmentation of the stories of the 'other'participants is immediately apparent," and the uncertainty and ambiguity of thisfragmentation adds further to the surreal quality of the narrative. Vergara also notesthat "we already know the events [of the story, so] we must conclude that what is inquestion is the whole structure of the novel, not the events" it describes. Critic JeffVandermeer suggests the weight of surrealist fiction comes from its power to proposeuncanny everyday mysteries. He says, these narratives aren't "quite what we expected,and in that space we discover some of the most powerful evocations of what it means

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