Non-Western Literature

Discussion Questions for Marquez


These questions should be reviewed before reading the material, as well as after. Be prepared to answer these questions in class.
  1. This novel presents the events as a memory. The narrator is remembering this occurence from his childhood and is trying to preserve it for future readers. WHY does Marquez take this approach, and what does it add to the novel's tone and style?
  2. Latin American culture is often characterized as being "macho" in nature, where men and their pride are the dominant concern and focus of people's lives. A man's status is indicated by how popular and powerful he is seen as being in comparison to the others in his community and household. In this view, the man is the "king" of his home. Indicate how this novel does or does not support this view.
  3. What is the role of women in this culture, at least as presented in this novel? Be sure to discuss the lives of the peasants, not just the wealthier women, especially if you see a difference.
  4. How are authority figures like the police chief, mayor, bishop, town priest, town doctor, etc. portrayed? How does that portrayal affect the tone or theme of the novel?
  5. Mention is made several times of Santiago's family's Arab heritage. Is this a hate-crime murder? Is Marquez indicating that race and ethnicity breed discontent, anger and crime the way many people feel that they do in the US? If not, then why is the issue brought up?