Garcia Marquez’s novel Chronicle of a death foretold is written similarly to a classical drama, consisting of five acts and portraying a tragedy. This ritual killing that takes place is repeated three times, with the dissecting of the rabbit guts, the killing and the autopsy. The repeated stabbing of Nasar and the alarm bells is like a calling from Marquez for the reader to wake up. The form of the narrative feels like Marquez is stabbing the reader with the memory of the book.
Furthermore, each memory of each witness seems to stab in a different place. This chronicle is not straight forward, the investigating journalism runs throughout relinquishing a series of subjective accounts from witness’s. These are individually unreliable, only when unified can the reader begin to address some of the truths. Also Garcia is not only the narrator but a witness and therefore is unreliable due to his emotional connection with events.
Marquez wrote in first person using omniscient third person effects similar to Joyce’s, but unfamiliar with the latter Marquez uses a technique of disrupted linear narrative. Marquez writes a chronicle not to unfold a mystery but to hide within it deep subversive feelings towards political and religious bodies, similar to Joyce and more recently Trevor Williams. Through this similarity we see how different due to the violence Marquez’s books are.
Each chapter of the book becomes more violent until at the end we get the long drawn out description of the murder. Marquez structures the time flow of the chapters in the book, the first and last, the run up to the murder and the murder itself are slowed down, like time itself slows down when involved within something so atrocious. The middle three chapters are compressed within a time spate of 27 years. He also adds elements of fantasy, with sentences beginning real and the slanting away into the fantastical, sometimes containing slapstick humour, othertimes absurdity especially in the descriptions of the autopsy.
With much reference to bodily functions and defecation, maybe Marguez uses this imagery as a symbol of how the community’s beliefs of religion have forged the way they behave. In a mislaid town, where the Bishop will not leave the boat to support its followers, leaves the townsfolk only real reason for following the faith, the fear of their afterlife if they do not. Marquez is constantly trying to show the oppression religion is leaving on the living, like Joyce, shrouded in a life of fear,anger and superstition. Repeatedly showing the church turning a blind eye to the killing of Nasar; the priest is seen many times crossing the square. When asked, thepriest felt he was unable to stop the twins and that the civil authorities should deal with it. All he was able to do was save his soul in the afterdeath. Marquez shows great irony as the priest in the end was the one that did the autopsy, and left the body in quite a mess.
When Bayardo, the son of the Conservative leader chooses to marry A vicario who is from an honourable church abiding family in the small village of Sucre, the townsfolk are thrilled for such a high laced person to join them. His father is greeted with the same enthusiasm except for the narrator’s mother who says, “it seems all right to me if they marry …….but that’s one thing and its something altogether different to shake hands with the man who gave the orders for Gerineldo Marquez to be shot in the back”(p33).
This shows a link to a violent and unresolved past and clearly showing a community who is incapable of taking on the past, therefore unable to deal with the present.
The ritual killing of Nasar, which Marquez’s imagery shows the cleaning up of a messy business, cleaning up the ‘shit’ of this dirty town. An Arab, liberal and a bird of prey becomes preyed upon by the flock of townsfolk. The Mayor and the wiseman of the community seem to not take the matter seriously until it is to late. They seem to show “little concern for the body”(p74).
Similar to Pura Vicario ordering the killing of Nasar, so does Placido order her dogs to be killed during a moment of losing her grip, both orders are seen to be carried out immediately, although Marquez makes the reader feel that the twins take much time, a few hours is not enough time for people to gain rationality, had the twins been locked up or Nasar hidden time enough for the people involved to talk, a different conclusion could have been drawn.
So long running rifts and seprementalist views over time has torn at the community leaving it in shreds and unable to rationalise with one another in any deep seated fashion, leaving unresolved issues to resurface every once in a while and lives left to live within a shrouded lie. Marquez lifts this depression by showing the arabs to forgive and mourn peacefully, also curing Pedro, drawing out his poison and Pablo by stopping the flow of shit.