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Literature Study GuidesLove In The Time Of CholeraChapter 2 Devastating Youth Summary

Love in the Time of Cholera | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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Love in the Time of Cholera | Chapter 2 (Devastating Youth) | Summary



For three months, Florentino Ariza and Fermina Daza write each other every day. After two years, Florentino proposes to Fermina, shocking her, as she had believed their correspondence was a "game." Escolástica Daza suggests she accept, insisting she "will be sorry all the rest of your life if you say no." At Florentino's prompting, Fermina agrees to marry him as long as she does not have to "eat eggplant." The couple agrees to marry in two years, while the engagement remains secret.

With the support of Fermina's love, Florentino thrives at the Postal Agency, becoming Lotario Thugut's assistant. Several months before the couple plans to announce their engagement, Lorenzo Daza confronts Florentino, bringing him to the Parish Café. Beforehand, Sister Franca de la Luz, the Superior of Fermina's school, catches her writing a love letter, and Fermina refuses to reveal the name of her lover, earning expulsion. Lorenzo sends his sister, Escolástica, away, which angers Fermina.

When Lorenzo offers to help find her a "worthy suitor," Fermina protests by holding a knife blade to her throat. At the Parish Café, Lorenzo informs Florentino of his plan to transform Fermina into a "great lady," and that he moved to the city from San Juan de la Ciénaga to give his daughter "the possibility of being reborn through a fortunate marriage." After Lorenzo tells him, "Get out of our way," Florentino asks what Fermina wants. Lorenzo threatens to shoot him and Florentino tells him to go ahead.

Within the week, Lorenzo forces Fermina to leave, taking her on a "journey that would make her forget." Before leaving, Fermina cuts off her braid and sends it with a letter to Florentino. Livid with her father, Fermina is also lovesick and terrified by the war environment and she hardly speaks, eats, or sleeps during the caravan.


Gabriel García Márquez makes Lorenzo Daza's intentions clear. He wants to crush his daughter's independence by sending her to a school whose students are taught the "art and technique of being diligent and submissive wives." That Lorenzo Daza exposes Fermina Daza to wilderness and war to get her away from Florentino Ariza shows how deeply he wants her to marry for money.

After Lorenzo learns about the relationship, García Márquez uses the motif of cholera, invoking images of illness or death to illustrate characters' moods. When Lorenzo tries to gain his daughter's affection, it is "like talking to a corpse." Fear of what Lorenzo plans for him drives Florentino to turn "green as a corpse."

Because Lorenzo's reactions are unpredictable, tension arises between Lorenzo and Fermina and between Lorenzo and Florentino. Up to this point, the privy parties—Tránsito Ariza and Escolástica Daza—have supported the relationship. During the conversation between Lorenzo and Florentino, the men's differences show a generational clash: to Florentino, Fermina's opinion is the only one that matters; to Lorenzo, it is a "matter for men" to be "decided by men." To Fermina and Florentino, Lorenzo's discovery of their romance is a disaster, representing an unseen obstacle to their happy relationship.

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