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64 GabrIel Garcia Marquez The Short Stories 65

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I. \
Very Old Man with Enormous Wings" (1968; from The [llcredible alld Sad she recalls matters, but her own husband denies the accuracy, and even
Tale of Inllocent Erbtdira and Her Hearl1ess Gnllldmother). the reality, of some of her observations. In another example. in "Baltha~
zar's Marvelous Afternoon," there are two forces represented by social
and economic class, the rich and the poor. In "Big Mama's Funeral," Big
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I,I PLOT DEVELOPMENT Mama is placed m opposition to the townsfolk. In "Tuesday Siesta" as I,
well as In "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings," an outsider distuIbs
I The plot of a short story, such as the five Ul this chapter, will arouse the peace of the town. I
! the reader's interest over the duration of the narrative but cannot control All five stories are also characterized by the pervasive presence of the
the reader's emotional responses. For example, among a dass of stu-
dents. there will likely be many different responses to stories such as "A
irrational and the supernatural. In "A Very Old Man with Enonnous
Wings," for example. the old man not only has wings, but also uses them II
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Very Old Man with Enormous Wings."
All five of the short stones discussed in this chapter begin with a
to fly.
Another characteristic 15 that each short story depicts. in some detail,
the daily life of a Hisparuc rural town, with its sacred rituals and secular
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character or scene. which precipitously mitiates the plot. However, the \
,•!. plot in Garda Marquez's short stories appears ambiguous, not only in celebrations. induding Sunday-morning church attendance and the al-
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most spontaneous appearance of a small fair or carnival as a way to

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its creation of mood (the creation of a state of mind based on the nar-
.,!l I rative's information), but also in the way in which the story is told. Al- mark the unusuaL
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though the plot IS seen as the plan of the short story, representing the The following 15 a brief synopSiS of the five stories based on their
order in which events are told, the reader must also pay close attention narrative structure.
to causality (what incites the characters to do what they dOl.
Although the main characters playa unifying role, the omniscient nar-
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rator and the reader are the ones who must put the plot together. Cer·
ta1n.i:y Garda Marquez's writing seems to challenge the reader with
"Monologue of Isabel Watcbing It Rain in
Macondo" I.'
puzzle~like plots where the pieces do not fit together easily, or at all.
In each of the stories the setting is similar: a small. rural town, wtuch ill "Isabel's Monologue" the reader is agam introduced to the character
IS geographically far enough removed from other villages so as to seem of Isabel, who is one of the main characters in Leaf Stann (see Chapter
to constitute an entire Isolated world. Readers may think of the towns 3).
as being near or around the Atlantic Colombian coast on the Caribbean "Isabel's Monologue" can be read as a story that was lntentionally not
Sea. Frequently, the climate is oppreSSive: tropical, Windy, hot and hu~ included in Lenf Storm or that was deleted from it. ill "Isabel's
mid. and plagued by frequent and heavy raInfalls. Macondo, the fictional Monologue," she does not mention the doctor, whose corpse is a focal
Colombian village of many of Gabriel Garda Marquez's works, is iden- po.int for the other characters' mediations and actions in Lenf Storm. The
tified specifically in two of the short stories examined in this chapter: strained relationship between Isabel and her husband. Martin. a rela-
"Monologue of Isabel Watching It Rain in Macondo" (hereafter "Isabel's tionship alluded to in Leaf Stann, Is dramatized in "Isabel's Monologue."
Monologue"), and "Big Mama's Funeral." In the other three stories. the Her father the colonel, who was a dominant character in Leaf Storm,
town where the narration takes place. the reader may assume. is also appears in this story without his military title. Isabel also never refers to
Macondo or a town like it, but the place name is never mentioned. the major role he played in marrying her to Martfn. Unlike Lea! Storm.
Without exception the short stories all have an o1TU1.isoent narrator. where she is the mother of a precocious ten-year-old. in the short story
located outside the story, who narrates in the third person Singular. This she is five months pregnant with the child.
narrator knows everything there is to know about the characters. The time frame of the narrative can be measured by four consecutive
As many critics have observed. Garcia Marquez's short stones often days and nights of torrential rain. The persistence of the rain 15 central
depict a narrative structure where there are at least two forces in op~ to the narrative.
position, as is the case in "Isabel's Monologue." Isabel tells her story as As 10 Leaf Storm. time in "Isabel's Monologue" is marked by the sounrl-
1 dedicate this bool
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-PubliCiltion Dala
Gerald A, Lamb. my ad
and to the memory of
Pelayo. Rubl!n. 1954-
Gabriel Gl\rda Marquez. ; a critical companion / Rubl!n Pelayo.
p. cm._{Crltica! complU\.lons 10 popular contemporary wrilers. ISSN 1082-4979)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
ISBN 0-313-31260-5 (alk. paJ'erJ
1. Gl\rcia Marquez. Gabriel, 1918- -CritiCism and interpretation, 1. Title.
11. Series
PQ8180.17.A73Z665 2001
863'.64-dc21 2001023337
British LIbrary Catalogumg tn publicahOn Data is available.

Copyright e 2001 by Rub!!n Pelayo


All righls reserved. No portion of this book may be
reproduced, by any process or technique. withoul the
express written consent of the publisher.
Library oC Congress Catalog Card Number: 2001023331
ISBN: 0-313-31260-5
ISSN: 1062-4979
First published in 2001
Greenwood Press. 88 Post Rand West, Westport, CT 06881
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