stories and essays with no general theme at all

García Márquez and Love in Latin America

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Latin culture is the most romantic in the world. Is this good or bad?

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez is set in an unnamed town assumed to be Cartagena, Colombia and spans from the late 19th century – early 20th century. As a teenager, Florentino Ariza falls in love with Fermina Daza the first time he lays eyes on her. He embarks on a letter-writing campaign professing his love. She falls in love with him and they begin to write each other regularly. They plan a marriage and life together, without ever having spoken and behind the back of Fermina's overbearing, ambiguously-criminal father.

Fermina's father learns of the relationship and is infuriated, for Florentino is the illegitimate son of a shopkeeper. The marriage would run contrary to his plans of social-climbing by marrying his daughter off to blue blood. He grabs Fermina one day and takes her on a weeks-long trip through the Colombian countryside in an attempt to break the affair. The lovers keep a secret correspondence with the help of Fermina's cousin and make plans to marry when she finally returns.

When Fermina returns, she meets Florentino and impulsively ends the affair. Florentino is devastated. Fermina marries a promising young doctor who's just returned from a university in Paris. Florentino vows to have her someday despite the fact that she has just married. Dr. Juvenal Urbino and Fermina Daza have two children and lead a compatible life. Fermina's father's dream is fulfilled as the couple ascend to the town's social elite through the good doctor's public service and Fermina's beautiful grace.

The book begins with Urbino's death at an old age and proceeds to recount the characters' histories. While they led their perfect marriage of convenience, Florentino Ariza embarked on 622 affairs in hopes to distract the love burning in his heart – all the while waiting patiently for the good doctor to die so he could reclaim his precious Fermina. On the night of the good doctor's funeral, after all the mourners leave, the now 70-something Florentino says to Fermina: “I have waited for this opportunity for more than half a century, to repeat to you once again my vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love.” On the night of her husband's funeral. It was 51 years, 9 months, and 4 days after first professing his love to her as a teen. He knew the exact number because “not a day passed that something did not happen to remind him of her.” After some resistance, Fermina succumbs to Florentino and they live happily ever after sailing the Magdalena River.

Aside from the surrealism seen in all of Garcia Marquez' work and other Latino writers, the theme of love is unrealistically portrayed with a passion absent in other cultures.

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