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Literature Study GuidesLove In The Time Of CholeraChapter 3 Journey To Villa De Leyva Summary

Love in the Time of Cholera | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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Love in the Time of Cholera | Chapter 3 (Journey to Villa de Leyva) | Summary



Hildebranda Sánchez arrives—"radiant" and "very much a woman." The cousins continue where they left off: bathing together, smoking, and talking at night. When a Belgian photographer arrives, the cousins get their photograph taken immediately, dressed in the mid-century clothes of Fermina Daza's mother. A crowd has gathered outside the photography studio to catch a glimpse of boxing champion Beny Centeno who is also sitting for his portrait. As the girls, dressed in clothes from another time, leave, they are harassed. Dr. Juvenal Urbino arrives in his carriage and offers them escape from the crowd. Thinking he is a "vision out of legend," Hildebranda accepts as Fermina is about to decline, annoying Fermina.

When he drops them off at the Park of the Evangels, he tells Fermina he desires a reply to his letter; she leaves quickly, abandoning her glove in his hand. At home, Fermina accuses Hildebranda, who admits to wanting to kiss the doctor, of being a "whore." The next day, Fermina sends him a note, permitting him to speak to her father.

In the hope of improving Florentino Ariza's depression, his mother begs his uncle to give him a job with the navigation company his father helped found. Leo XII Loayza places him in a telegraph office a 20-day steamboat ride away. One night, on his way to the restroom, a woman with an "ageless body" and a "panther's instincts" pulls him into her cabin and sexually assaults him. Trying to discover his rapist's identity distracts him from thinking of Fermina. The sexual encounter makes Florentino believe "earthly passion" can ease his pain.

When Florentino reaches his destination, he has suffered through knowing Fermina has married and decides to return, riding the steamer straight back. When he arrives in the city, he throws his bedroll into the sea, promising to never "abandon the city of Fermina Daza."


Tension rises between the cousins, typically accomplices, during and after their encounter with Dr. Juvenal Urbino. The carriage ride begins with a disagreement between them (Hildebranda Sánchez accepting while Fermina Daza intended to refuse the ride), and the two never seem to regain harmony. Fermina's unabashed annoyance is a point of tension for Dr. Urbino, who currently pursues her, and Hildebranda, who is unaware of the doctor and Fermina's history and adores her cousin. Here, Gabriel García Márquez introduces a bird symbol as Dr. Urbino and Hildebranda observe Fermina's "magnificent golden oriole's profile sharper than ever against the blaze of the setting sun." Birds represent danger, and her appearance warns them of her mounting impatience and anger.

A rift forms between the cousins, who once shared everything, and Fermina, classically stubborn, sends Dr. Urbino a letter, which represents secret identities and connections.

As Fermina escapes the jeering crowd, a symbol of unseen obstacles, she becomes motivated to decide between society and passion, thus supporting one of the story's themes. Seeing Dr. Urbino's allure prompts her to allow him to outwardly pursue her, advancing the plot, despite her lack of intense feelings for him. The discrepancy between her former feelings for Florentino and her current feelings for Dr. Urbino complicate her situation. Yet, her initial feelings for both men are lukewarm, suggesting that both of them wore her down.

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