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Postcolonial Literatures Unit 2 Chronicle of A Death Foretold
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Chronicle of A Death Foretold
LATIN AMERICAL NOVEL
VERY SHORT TYPE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
1. What language do Santiago and his father speak when the two are alone?
Ans: They speak in Arabic.
2. Which girl is Santiago betrothed to?
Ans: Flora Miguel.
3. At what time of day was Santiago Nasar killed?
Ans: Around six A.M.
4. Who performed the autopsy on Santiago Nasar?
Ans: Father Carmen Amador.
5. How does Bayardo San Roman react after he discovers that Angela Vicario, his new bride, is not a virgin?
Ans: He tries himself to drink death.
6. What social construct most clearly influenced Vicario brothers’ motive to murder Santiago Nasar?
7. Who yelled to Santiago Nasar to run to his house?
Ans. Clotilde Armenta.
8. Why does Angela Vicario wear red the day her family leaves town?
Ans: To show that she is not in mourning foe her secret lover.
9. What does Santiago Nasar dream of on the night before his death?
Ans: Santiago dreamed of trees.
10. Who does Santiago Nasar expect to arrive by steamboat at 5:30 A.M.?
Ans: The bishop.
11. Which attribute did Santiago not inherit from his father, Ibrahim Nasar?
Ans: Sixth sense.
12. Where was a note of warning left for Santiago, undiscovered until after his death?
Ans: Under Victoria Guzman’s door.
13. Why is Angela Vicario returned to her parents’ house on the night of her wedding?
Ans: Santiago took her virginity.
14. What does Bayardo San Roman win in a raffle and deliver to Angela Vicario’s house as a birthday gift?
Ans: A music box.
15. How did Poncio Vicario lose his sight?
Ans: Years of fine gold smithing
16. What does Bayardo buy for Angela from the widower Xius?
Ans: A beautiful farmhouse.
17. What is Puca Vicario’s response when Bayardo brings Angela home on her wedding night?
Ans: Beating Angela.
18. Where do the Vicario twins wait for Santiago overnight?
Ans: Clothilde Armenta’s milk shop.
19. What does the butcher Faustino Santos do after sharpening the Vicario brothers’ knives?
Ans: Inform a police officer.
20. Who encourages Pablo to follow through with his revenge plan?
Ans: Prudencia Cotes, his fiancée.
21. Why is Father Carmen Amador distracted when Clothilde Armenta attempts to inform him of the Vicario twins’ plan?
Ans: The Bishop’s arrival.
22. When the narrator visits Maria Alejandrina Cervantes after the autopsy, why does she refuse him?
Ans: He smells like Santiago.
23. What does Pablo Vicario do after serving his three-year sentence in prison?
Ans: He becomes a goldsmith.
24. When Bayardo arrives at Angela’s embroidery workshop, what is inside the suitcase he is carrying?
Ans: Angela’s unopened letters.
25. What does Angela wear on the day the Vicario family leaves town?
Ans: A bright red dress.
26. What mistake can Placida Linero never forgive herself for after her son’s death?
Ans: Misinterpreting Santiago’s dream.
27. Where has the narrator retrieved the information he recounts to us?
Ans: The investigative magistrate’s report.
28. Why does Colonel Lazaro Aponte believe the Vicarios will not follow through with their threats?
Ans: He confiscated their knives.
29. What does the narrator believe was never conveyed to Santiago before his death?
Ans: Angela’s accusation.
30. Where did Santiago finally die after walking a hundred yards with his stab wounds?
Ans: His kitchen.
SHORT TYPE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
1. Why do you think that Gabriel García Márquez used real names in his text? How does this decision influence the reader’s experience of the narrative?
Ans: The way that Márquez uses names in Chronicle of a Death Foretold emblematizes the confusion between reality, fiction, and form. The story itself is based on a real occurrence, but the novel, while seemingly journalistic, uses anecdotal information as often as it presents the reader with the facts of the murder. For example, the narrator spends a few pages discussing the fact that Santiago Nasar was in love with Maria Alejandrina Cervantes at the age of fifteen, but he does not ever clarify whether or not Santiago Nasar was guilty of the crime he died for. Clarification of the second point, in terms of the plot, is a much more important question to answer, and the novel never answers it. In addition, the novel does not “chronicle” the events as the title leads the reader to expect that it will-the narrative shifts between the past and the present.
Because the novel does not answer many questions, it accurately shows the reader how confusing all of the events surrounding the murder were when it occurred. In real life, nobody is ever sure whether or not the student that was murdered was guilty of the crime he committed or not, or whether or not he had idea why he was dying. The same is true for the narrator: even at the end of the book, he doesn’t know any more than when he began. But because the narrative constantly displays a sense of imminent disclosure, the reader feels cheated when the novel fails to disclose important information. The reader expects conclusions because Chronicle of a Death Foretold is misleadingly purposeful in its tone.
2. What cultural aspects of the Colombian town affect the course of events leading up to the murder?
Ans: The concept of honor shapes the actions of everyone in the Colombian town where the murder occurs. This is one of the strongest differences between the Spanish culture presented in the novel and American culture. In America, the strict adherence to hierarchical, traditional ideals is far less practised, even in the 1950s, and the definition of gender roles was less misogynistic than it is in the novel. The double standard regarding women’s virginity is much less strongly enforced in the United States. It is very improbable that a woman would be returned to her house and beaten simply because she lost her virginity before she was married. And it is even less likely that the woman’s brothers would go out and murder the man who took her virginity-in America, such an action would be judged as first-degree murder, and the culprits would have been locked up for decades. However, within the Colombian town, the Vicario twins are largely condoned for their crime.because they murdered Santiago in order to uphold their sister’s honor. Honour, in Colombia at that time, was worth killing for. In America, murdering someone was a crime excused only by insanity; in Colombia, the cultural norms appeared to supersede the law.
3. How does Márquez’s narrator use repetition in the story and with what result?
Ans: Márquez’s use of repetition confounds the journalistic agenda that the general style of the book seems to engender. The text seems to constitute a sort of ritual repetition of the crime. Márquez states over and over that Santiago Nasar is going to be killed-in fact, he tells us this fact in the very first line. The discourse of the novel clashes with its purported end: to shed light on the death of Santiago Nasar. What the text does (and the repetition throughout the text highlights this phenomenon) is to re enact the death rather than to ever satisfactorily explain it.
4. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, who is responsible for Santiago Nasar’s death?
Ans: In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, several characters can be considered responsible for Santiago Nasar’s death. Angela Vicario’s twin brothers, Pedro and Pablo, are literally responsible for his death, as they stab and disembowel him. Nasar also can be considered responsible for his own tragic demise. To lesser degrees, Bayardo San Roman, Angela, and Nasar’s mother are somewhat responsible for Nasar’s death.
5. What is suggested by the recurring crowing of roosters, and the bishop’s love of cocks’ comb soup?
Ans: The crowing roosters suggest bragging or boastful men, or a possible feud between men. The bishop enjoys soup made from only the roosters’ combs, but then wastes the rest of the rooster. This suggests that the man is dispensable if his “manliness” is in question.
6. The stray bullet that causes so much destruction in the neighbours’ houses in Santiago’s youth teaches him to be careful with a gun. What irony might this symbolize?
Ans: The destruction of neighbours’ houses is exactly what is caused by Santiago’s dalliance with Angela. Though Santiago has learned to be careful with guns, and “never forgot the lesson of that accident,” he causes emotional destruction in his neighbour’s house when he takes Angela’s virginity and later causes her shame.
7. Who is the narrator in Chronicle of a Death Foretold?
Ans: The narrator is a good friend of Santiago Nasar, and also a local. Though he didn’t directly witness Santiago’s murder at the hands of Pedro and Pablo Vicario, he remains haunted by the crime for many years.
8. What happens to Bayardo?
Ans: Bayardo falls in love with Angela Vicario, but after discovering her lack of virginity on their wedding night he returns her to her family and falls into a deep depression. He disappears from the town, only to return decades later to Angela’s doorstep.
9. Who shut the door of Santiago’s house in his face?
Ans: Clothilde Armenta yelled at Santiago to run, and he ran the fifty yards to his front door. Placida Linero, Santiago’s own mother, had just closed the front door because Divina Flor lied to her and said that he was already home and had gone up to his room. The Vicario twins caught up with him and began stabbing him.
10. What is the culture in Chronicle of a Death Foretold?
Ans: Chronicle of a Death Foretold, is heavily based around Colombian culture. This is made apparent throughout the novel with aspects of family honour and religion reoccurring throughout the novel.
11. What is the importance of the point of view in the novel?
Ans: The point of view of the Chronicle of a death foretold is one of the most striking contrivances that the aunor uses. The unnamed son of Luisa Santiga and the brother of Margot, Jaime, the nun and Luise, he reports on the chain of events witness on the day Santiago Nasar was murdered. Having returned to the village after twenty-seven years have elapsed, the unnamed omniscient narrator reconstructs all the connections between the people in the town and meticulously forges a direction to his thesis, which is the murder of Santiago Nasar. Typical of a first person narrator, the unknown character, gives his own point of view of the situation and characters; however, he doesn’t know exactly what other characters and thinking or feeling. The characteristic of knowing what other characters are thinking and feeling about certain situations and things is typical of a third person omniscient, however, we notice that the narrator in this novel does in fact know what others are thinking in parallel with the relating of the chain of events.
LONG TYPE QUESTIONS & ANSWERS
1. Discuss the thematic issues of the novel.
Ans: The reader, depending on the choice of focus, can recognize several different themes in this novel. For example, a reader may focus on the theme of machismo, a theme that, in turn, can be related to the theme of moral responsibility.
The theme of machismo in Chronicle of a Death Foretold can be observed as a form of emphasis on male pride and on the characters’ sexual behavior. Upon his arrival to town, Bayardo San Roma in attracts the attention of the female characters by his looks and the way he dresses. His looks, however, make some female characters say that he looks like a marica (“a fairy”). This reaction by the female characters denotes an expected code of male behaviour. This societal code is perhaps the justification for the bordello in town. It is male behaviour to frequent this place, where women can be used as objects of desire. The males are proud to go there and feel no shame to show the results, not even when sexually transmitted diseases appear, as is the case with Pedro Vicario. Bayardo San Roma in shows his male pride when he returns Angela Vicario. The Vicario brothers flaunt their machismo in the abusive way they drink and also by defending an age-old tradition of placing the family’s honour in the women’s virginity
The sexual behavior of the male characters shows an attitude passed on through the generations. Santiago Nasar, like his father before him, is a “sparrow hawk”. Both father and son have made a sport of having their young female servants for their own sexual satisfaction. The pun on sparrow hawk by the narrator is intended, both literally and sexually. Santiago’s father, Ibrahim Nasar, teaches him the art of domesticating high-flying birds of prey. In addition, fidelity, to Santiago and his father, is not a part of the sexual or moral code. Males in this community can express their sexuality in any way they want because theirs is a patriarchal society (ruled by men according to men’s needs). It may seem contradictory for the reader to realize that Bayardo San Roma in returns his wife because she is not a virgin when the same society glorifies men who go after women only to take away their virginity. The female characters succumb to this patriarchal society where women are educated to be stoic wives, passive beings capable of giving and expected to ask for nothing in return.
The incident motivating the killing of Santiago Nasar in Chronicle of a Death Foretold is the loss of honour by Angela Vicario. The blood of virginity, when lost outside the sanctity of marriage, can only be washed off with the blood of the perpetrator, cries an age-old Spanish folk tradition. In the town where the novel takes place, this tradition is morally acceptable. Therefore, the Vicario twins must kill Santiago Nasar to re store the family’s honour. The townsfolk go along with this and see the twins’ deed as morally acceptable; hence, they do nothing to stop the killing.
There is only a small minority within the novel that objects to the killing. The majority views the Vicario brothers’ deed as a socially and morally acceptable response. Within the moral parameters of Colombian rural society of the 1950s and 1960s, the loss of a woman’s virginity without the balm of marriage destroyed not only the honour of the woman, but also that of the family. Such an act could only be absolved with the death of the perpetrator. This is why, without a legal trial or a simple conversation to clarify the innocence or the guilt of Santiago Nasar, the Vicario twins are convinced of their moral duty. Since Angela’s father is blind, and thus unable to carry out this duty, the burden falls to the brothers.
Ironically, the twins, who are now in charge of guarding the moral values of the family, were seen the night before drinking and carousing at a house of ill repute, in the company of Santiago Nasar, their ultimate victim. Moreover, one of the twins, Pedro Vicario, is suffering from a venereal. disease that the town’s doctor cannot cure. Pedro’s blennorrhagia (gonorrhoea) demonstrates a moral life that is, indeed, hardly praiseworthy. On the surface, the Vicario family professes a strong moral value sys tem. However, regarding Angels, they are a family that pays no attention to such essential values as love, respect for others, and free will. They know, because Angela tells them, that she does not love Bayardo San Roma in and does not want to marry him. However, they ignore her and decide to marry her even without her consent. Their morality takes a back seat when it comes to this marriage of convenience because Bayardo San Roma in is rich beyond imagination.
The moral value system of Bayard San Roma in, the offended husband who returns his wife, is also ambiguous, if not ironic. He is the one who decides to marry Angela at first sight, before even being introduced to her. He is the one who, instead of courting her, pays more attention to seducing her family with his money and his charm. It is he who marries Angela, as if to purchase his happiness with his immeasurable fortune. It is Bayardo who, showing no scruples, forces Xius, a widower who married and lived in love in his house for many years, to sell that house to him because he wants it. Bayardo, as a character, shows no moral value system greater than his monetary system.
The moral and legal institutions of Church and state pay little attention to the Vicarios’ thirst for revenge. Father. Carmen Amador, who presumably is in charge of the town’s religious values, refuses to get involved although he is clearly capable of putting a stop to the planned murder. He justifies his action by saying that he was concentrating his attention on the imminent arrival of his bishop. Ironically, the bishop arrives but does not disembark to greet the people who so anxiously await his visit. The civil authorities could stop the killing, but also choose to ignore it. The mayor of the town, Lazaro Aponte, could incarcerate the twins for carrying the knives and threatening to kill Santiago, but he chooses not to. It is his nonchalant way of enforcing the law that permits the twins to commit their crime.
Relating to the theme of moral responsibility, the town at large also bears its share of responsibility for the crime. The narrator insists that everybody in town knows the intention of the twins, but few make an honest attempt to stop it. There seems to be a kind of secret complicity among the townsfolk. Their silence can be viewed as a form of acceptance, a belief that the crime against Angela had to be avenged. Santiago, according to the town’s code of moral responsibility, has done something wrong. The town’s moral value of virginity is superior to a man’s death. Only the blood of the perpetrator can wash off the blood of stolen virginity. The Vicario brothers believe that, but the townsfolk seem to enforce it. Early in the morning of the day of the killing, a crowd of women, men, children, and young people congregates on the dock to receive the visiting bishop. This type of behavior is consistent with what would be expected of a Christian town. Therefore, one would also expect to find a solid moral value system. However, when it comes time to stop the killing, the townspeople assume a passive role and act as mere observers of the spectacle. Their inaction seems to imply that redeeming a family’s lost honor by the killing of the perpetrator is consistent with their collective sense of moral values.
All the town’s individuals, from the civil and religious authorities to the simple folks, demonstrate an ambiguous sense of morality that challenges the presumed values of the town and the fundamental beliefs of society.