Love in the Time of Cholera | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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Course Hero. "Love in the Time of Cholera Study Guide." Course Hero. 19 Jan. 2017. Web. 25 Sep. 2018. <https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Love-in-the-Time-of-Cholera/>.

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Course Hero. (2017, January 19). Love in the Time of Cholera Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved September 25, 2018, from https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Love-in-the-Time-of-Cholera/

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Course Hero. "Love in the Time of Cholera Study Guide." January 19, 2017. Accessed September 25, 2018. https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Love-in-the-Time-of-Cholera/.

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Course Hero, "Love in the Time of Cholera Study Guide," January 19, 2017, accessed September 25, 2018, https://www.coursehero.com/lit/Love-in-the-Time-of-Cholera/.

Love in the Time of Cholera | Chapter 5 (House Calls) | Summary

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Summary

At the christening of the first freshwater craft built locally, Florentino Ariza, the Vice President of the R.C.C., greets Fermina Daza, who falters before his "outstretched hand." As a bystander "prepares" to introduce them, like previous encounters, Fermina greets Florentino with a "salon smile," and he, filled with "youthful desires," is comforted knowing she is "still in the world."

After difficult work days, Florentino hires a carriage to drive him past Fermina's home. During a "devastating" June rain, the horse slips and falls. Florentino says, "Anywhere but here," which alarms the driver. He tries to help the horse stand, still harnessed, and an axle breaks. Humiliated, Florentino, who prefers death to Fermina witnessing "him in that condition," is rescued by another carriage.

The Urbinos appear in "perfect harmony, moving through their own space with the astonishing fluidity of Siamese Cats," until one August when Florentino sees the family four Sundays in a row without Fermina. It is the family's custom to attend mass together, and Fermina's absence leads Florentino to La Manga's cemetery, fearful that Fermina has died. There, he finds the luxurious Urbino family grave site with a shared epitaph for Dr. Urbino and Fermina: "Together still in the peace of the Lord." No one sees Fermina for the rest of the year.

Analysis

Gabriel García Márquez employs the city's social circles to support the theme of society versus passion. When Florentino Ariza's and Fermina Daza's paths cross, intense feelings prompt Florentino to stalk her, as he did in his passionate days, sitting in the park across from Fermina's childhood home.

While he attempts to "reduce the distance between them, every step" Fermina takes is "in the opposite direction." Florentino's pursuit of Fermina displays his unrequited love, while Fermina's avoidance illustrates her embodiment of social graces and the classic dynamic of their conflicted relationship. Florentino's sightings of Fermina leave him with "a throb of longing in his heart," developing the theme of aging and time. As Florentino notices "imperceptible changes he [discerns] in Fermina Daza each time he [sees] her," the "cruelty of time" troubles him.

The description of the District of La Manga, a "semi-deserted island" with "its beautiful tradition of love," highlights the seclusion of Fermina and Dr. Juvenal Urbino's villa and their outward appearance to society. The geography of the area simultaneously draws attention to Florentino, a bachelor of illegitimate birth, who is trespassing, hoping to gain a glimpse into the "pink marble Parthenon." Here, the June rain is an example of disasters, the symbol García Márquez uses for the narrative's various obstacles. In this case, it causes Florentino "embarrassment," almost revealing his sneaky behavior of spying on Fermina.

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