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Literature Study GuidesLove In The Time Of CholeraChapter 1 Anniversary Celebration Summary

Love in the Time of Cholera | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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Love in the Time of Cholera | Chapter 1 (Anniversary Celebration) | Summary



Dr. Juvenal Urbino returns home, "shaken by the two visits," and decides to take a siesta before his students' anniversary luncheon. The servants chase the parrot, who escaped. The parrot has been sitting in the treetop for three hours, so the doctor calls the fire department and prepares for the gala.

As Fermina Daza dresses him, he gives her the letter, which she locks away without reading. As her husband confides in her, she fails to understand why he cares about the truth. Frustrated, he cries, explaining that the "deception" upsets him. She counters, believing he was smart to hide the truth, then wipes his tears.

At noon, while guests sip drinks outside, it storms. The workers rush everything inside. The hot, grumpy guests talk among themselves while the crew resolves everything but the dessert. As Dr. Urbino thinks about music, Fermina urges him to stop fretting about Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, which brings his friend's death back into his thoughts. He discusses the suicide with Archbishop Obdulio y Rey. Fermina asks her husband to attend the funeral, and he promises to be there.

After the speeches, the table of honor socializes with drinks in the drawing room. Dr. Urbino feels "like singing," when his son and his wife, to everyone's joy, arrive with the desserts. Dr. Urbino and Fermina leave, so he can nap before the funeral.


Tension mounts as Fermina Daza and Dr. Juvenal Urbino's lives are disrupted by several events: Jeremiah de Saint-Amour's suicide, the anniversary luncheon and storm, and the funeral. The attention paid to time throughout the chapter creates the sensation that they will be late for their events. This sense of urgency foreshadows the last hours of Dr. Urbino's life. Subtle missed connections show how the married couple is less than perfect. Fermina mistakes Dr. Urbino's deep thought for mourning of Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, which reminds him of his friend. Yet, this leads to something positive, showing how domestic love and passionate love are still love.

The party, which Señora de Olivella, her daughters, and Don Sancho's men put tremendous effort into only to be interrupted by nature, foreshadows Dr. Urbino's death. Disasters represent unseen obstacles to a happy life, and the presence of the "fresh" roses (at the table of honor) evokes Jeremiah de Saint-Amour's secret lover. Like Señora de Olivella, she supported and honored the late photographer, showing the similarities of love. Regardless of this high-society party, their secret love displays care, support, and grace, showing love's universality. Yet, the detail of Dr. Lácides Olivella's anniversary date not aligning with the day of the party (they chose the religious holiday to "magnify the significance of the celebration") warns against greed. Had they held the party on the respective date, there may have not been a storm, suggesting the importance of humility.

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