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Literature Study GuidesLove In The Time Of CholeraChapter 2 Journey To Riohacha Summary

Love in the Time of Cholera | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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Love in the Time of Cholera | Chapter 2 (Journey to Riohacha) | Summary



Fermina Daza and Lorenzo Daza reach Valledupar and stay with her mother's brother, Lisímaco Sánchez. At night, Hildebranda Sánchez, Fermina's older cousin, escorts her to the room they will share. After a bath to ease Fermina's riding sores, Hildebranda gives her 11 telegrams from Florentino Ariza. Lorenzo realizes his mistake: by informing Lisímaco of their itinerary, he has inadvertently alerted Florentino Ariza to their plans.

As father and daughter continue their journey, Hildebranda accompanies them, and Fermina finally feels "free." While her father arranges a marriage for her, Fermina visits a fortune teller, who predicts a "long and happy marriage." She and Florentino begin planning their future.

In December, Florentino receives news: Fermina and her father are on their way back to the city. However, their ship is washed back to Riohacha by a storm, delaying her return. The ship finally reaches its destination during heavy rain, and Florentino misses her arrival.

When they get home, Lorenzo gives teenage Fermina control of the house. Thinking of Florentino as her husband, she prepares for their shared life—buying linens and bedroom decor. Spotting her, Florentino follows her through the market watching the "being he loved most in the world." In the Arcade of the Scribes, an unsafe area, Florentino approaches her and says, "This is not the place for a crowned goddess." Fermina's emotions strangely undergo a radical change—from love to an "abyss of disenchantment," and with a wave of her hand, she dismisses him. Reaching home, she sends a letter ending their engagement.


When Fermina Daza considers the idea of the suitor Lorenzo Daza has planned for her, she dismisses the hearsay of his wit and "dreamer's eyelashes that could make the stones sigh." In her mind, Florentino Ariza remains her sweetheart, a relationship built on correspondence and almost no face-to-face contact. This shows both the illusion and intensity of her love and heightens the tension between the lovers and her father. Their generational differences make their ideas about love clash: Lorenzo wants her to use her beauty for upward mobility, while Fermina and Florentino prefer passion.

On Fermina's return journey, the fierce trade winds represent disaster, another obstacle between Florentino and Fermina's love and an indication, perhaps, that Lorenzo has achieved his goal of driving the lovers apart.

Gabriel García Márquez brings readers back full circle to the origin of the trip. Florentino and Fermina are now both committed to the image of their love constructed on three years' worth of letters and telegrams and, thus, basically a romantic daydream. When Fermina is startled at the sight of Florentino's "glacial eyes" and "livid face," she allows the illusion of their relationship to shatter. She immediately adopts the hardness and determination of her father, forbidding contact between them and leaving Florentino to pine with unrequited love for more than half a century.

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