Fermina’s father, Lorenzo Daza struck me at the beginning of the book as a stern traditional man. Once Lorenzo Daza found out about Fermina’s love Florentino he immediately confronted him and threatened to shoot him if he didn’t leave Fermina alone. Lorenzo Daza took the situation a step further by taking Fermina away abruptly. Lorenzo Daza may seem like he does not care about anything, but in this passage it makes me view him in a different view. “Twenty- five years later, Lorenzo Daza did not realize that his intransigence in his daughter’s love affair was a vicious repetition of his own past, and he complained of his own misfortune to the same in-laws who had opposed him, as they had complained un their day to their own kin”(86). In this passage Lorenzo’s character blossoms in my opinion. Lorenzo discusses his past and how it is very similar to present day. Lorenzo is reflecting and he seems to think that what he is doing may be wrong or may not be the best for his daughter, considering the fact that he went through the same thing with his love. Lorenzo is also isolating Fermina because he wants her to marry a rich and reputable man. Why have they not mentioned her mother in the book? What do you guys think of this passage, do you think Fermina’s father is doing this to her because he is being selfish, or is it for Ferminas well-being?
I believe Ping has brought up an interesting question; her question was if people, when facing death tell the truth or realize the truth. In this passage Lorenzo Daza is thinking about how to end this “illusion” of love Fermina has for Florentino.
“He tried to seduce her with all kinds of flattery. He tried to make her understand that love at her age was an illusion, he tried to convince her to send back the letters and return to the Academy and beg forgiveness on her knees, and he gave his word of honor that he would be the first to help her find happiness with a worthy suitor. But it was like talking to a corpse. Defeated, he at last lost his temper at lunch on Monday, and while he choked back insults and blasphemies and was about to explode, she put the meat knife to her throat, without dramatics but with a steady hand and eyes so aghast that he did not dare to challenge her. That was when he took the risk of talking for five minutes, man to man, with the accursed upstart whom he did not remember ever having seen, and who had come into his life to his great sorrow. By force of habit he picked up his revolver before he went out, but he was careful to hide it under his shirt”(79).
Lorenzo thought that he was never going to be able to convince Fermina to stop loving Floerntino. Lorenzo feels like he is talking to a “corpse,” Fermina already knows the truth about her love for Florentino and her father is going to do anything to get rid of the unworthy suitor. Lorenzo in the chapter decides to take his revolver and go threaten Florentino with it, when he faced Florentino he told him that he can’t see Fermina anymore and Florentino who may have been facing his last seconds on earth told him he would never be able to leave the love of his life. Florentino faced death and released to honest truth, risking his life I think the question Ping had is true just because Florentino demonstrated it to me and I believe that everyone wants to release everything before they are gone forever.
I wanted to bring up something else that happened in the book, which is like a follow up to the first quote I had on page 86. Returning to the topic of Fermina and her Father, Lorenzo’s conflicts of love. In this passage Fermina is at her uncles house after her father took her far away from home.
“At midnight the visitors left, the public fiesta scattered into smoldering embers, and cousin Hildebranda lent Fermina Daza a madapollam nightgown and helped her to lie down in a bed with smooth sheets and feather pillows, and without warning she filled with the instantaneous panic of happiness. When at last they were alone in the bedroom, cousin Hildebranda bolted the door with a crossbar and from under the straw matting her bed took out a manila envelope sealed in wax with the emblem of the national telegraph. It was enough for Fermina Daza to see her cousin’s expression of radiant malice for the pensive scent of white gardenias to grow again in her heart’s memory, and then she tore the red sealing wax with her teeth and drenched the eleven forbidden telegrams in a shower of tears until dawn.”(85)
Fermina’s cousin Hilderbranda is also going through a similar situation of forbidden Love. I think that this kind of segregated love is tradition because if her cousin is going through the same thing it might happen to all of the young adult females in families. I think that the adults are not allowing these young affairs to happen because they also grew up with the same struggles and that is expected to happen to marry their daughter off to wealthy men. Disregarding all the other elements to happiness, I think they may believe that being wealthy is the key to being happy. For Fermina and Hilderbranda the only way maintain that hope and love for the men they fell in love with, they rely on their letters because anything else is forbidden.
A symbol that I have realized has been brought up in my many times is the parrot. In this passage the author discusses the reason why a parrot has gained he confidence and respect in Fermina’s household.
“The fact that the parrot could maintain his privileges after that historic act of defiance was the ultimate proof of his sacred rights. No other animal was permitted in the house…Dr. Urbino was reluctant to confess his hatred of animals, which he disguised with all kinds of scientific inventions and philosophical pretexts that convinced many, but not his wife. He said that people who loved them to excess were capable of the worst cruelties toward human beings.”(21)
Parrots are very outspoken animals, it amazes Fermina that the parrot continues in the house after her husband Dr. Urbino hates animals. The parrot in the household has become like a member, it has it’s own “sacred” rights that no animal would have been able to obtain from the strict Dr. Urbino. Dr. Urbino believes that people who have love for animals are capable of the cruelest crimes against humans. I have to disagree with that and say that I believe anyone who is capable of committing the cruelest crimes must have no respect for anything let alone animals. Why is there so many topics brought up about animals?
In this other passage the author describes Lorenzo like a parrot. He used a parrot in a negative way which may be an indication that when Lorenzo becomes enraged he looks like a parrot when they also become enraged.
“Lorenzo Daza had to look at him sideways, like a parrot, to see him with his twisted eye. He did not pronounce the four words so much as spit them out, one by one: Son of a bitch!”(82)
Their connection may be that Lorenzo becomes an animal when he gets mad, and begins to “spit” words out like a parrot. Lorenzo spitting words out is an example of him being careless about the things he says to people. Why does Lorenzo have sudden spurts of anger that escalate to the point that he attempts to harm someone?
Gabriel Garcia Marquez has done so many things in this book that have made me think, he has made me view love in a different way. The torturous emotions and feelings of love that must be hidden, intrigues me, I would never be able to do what they are doing. Florentino Ariza has demonstrated how serious his passion for Fermina Daza is, through this passage.
“The truth is that he was never the same again. Winning back Fermina Daza was the sole purpose in his life, and he was so certain of achieving it sooner or later that he convinced Transito Ariza to continue with the restoration of the house so that it would be ready to receive her whenever the miracle took place. In contrast to her reaction to the proposed publication of the Lover’s Companion, Transito Ariza went much further: she bought the house at once undertook a complete renovation. They made a reception room where the bedroom had been, on the upper floor they built two spacious, bright, bedrooms, one for the married couple and another for the children they were going to have.”(173)
Florentino Ariza is living an imaginary and unreachable life. He is going to extremes to try to set everything in his life for that one unreachable moment that Fermina Daza will walk into his world and have children with him. I believe even though he is renovating the house is to keep his fire of hopefulness up, because if he didn’t do anything his fire would burn out and he would end up living in a dark state of loneliness. The dedication and passion he has gives me chills, he is a very true man when it comes to what he wants.
Florentino Daza has come to some sort of realization with his imaginary life. He has realized that his dreams were too ambitious. After realizing that his dreams may never become a reality he releases his sorrow and his unattended love with random women he meets. In this passage it describes what kind of a man Florentino has become to keep his emotions busy from experiencing the loneliness he feels without Fermina Daza.
“During the period Florentino Ariza had to attend to too many responsibilities at the same time, but his spirits never flagged as he sought to expand his work as a furtive hunter. After his erratic experience with the Widow Nazaret, which opened the door to street love, he continued to hunt the abandoned little birds of the night for several years, still hoping to find a cure for the pain of Fermina Daza.”(174)
When the author, Marquez describes Florentino as a “furtive hunter,” he means that Florentino is a man who is trying to conceal all these affairs in order to avoid them from being released to the public and further damaging his emotional state. Florentino’s first love affair made him become an addictive swinger who needs to be with people in order to fill the gap in his heart, temporarily. In the passage the author also seems to compare and describe the women he sleeps with or women in general like “little birds.” I think his reason behind that is because the women he seems to choose, stay in his nest for a few days and then decide to fly away forcing Florentino to become that lonely man once again.
In this book I have never come across a passage like this one, this passage explains exactly what Florentino is feeling when he has temporary women “friends.” In this passage he is mainly focusing on one encounter he had. It describes him as a fairy. I think that comparison or word choice was chosen to also symbolically demonstrate how Florentino is like a winged creature that fly’s around everywhere and is never in one place for too long. There are many other forms of imagery and words Marquez uses in order to give us a clear understanding of Florentino’s unstable life.
“They never spoke of their exploits, they confided in no one, they feigned indifference to the point where they earned the reputation of being impotent, or frigid, or above all timid fairies, as in the case of Florentino Ariza. But they took pleasure in the error because the error protected them. They formed a secret society, whose members recognized each other all over the world without the need of a common language, which is why Florentino Ariza was not surprised by the girl’s reply: she was one of them, and therefore she knew that he knew that she knew.”(183)
The “error” they refer to is the affair that the two “fairies” have together to fill in the void that they both have. Marquez refer to it as an “error” because they both know that they are making mistakes just sleeping around because it is not going to get them any closer to their forbidden love. The author, Marquez also mentions how secretly these “swingers” have formed some sort of “society,” that can only be detected by the people who can understand their language. By language, he is referring to the certain body language they use to show that they are those people that are willing to go home with them. Are these people from the “secret society,” all like Florentino, where they are struggling to find their soul mates? Or are they just wandering around, aimlessly wasting their time and further damaging themselves emotionally?
In this passage Fermina’s life is almost getting clearer and she is realizing how she fits into the puzzle with her husband and her children. Fermina is also realizing that she did not have the chance to go properly into a mature young woman. She still has doubts that she has fully developed her maturity. Fermina is basically in this passage noticing how people view her and what she is worth.
“Fermina Daza knew then that private life, unlike public life, was fickle and unpredictable. It was not easy for her to establish real differences between children and adults, but in the last analysis she preferred children, because their judgment was more reliable. She had barely turned the corner into maturity, free at last of illusions, when she began to detect the disillusionment of never having been what she had dreamed of being when she was young, in the park of the Evangels. Instead, she was something she never dared admit even to herself: a deluxe servant. In society she came to be the women most loved, most catered to, and by the same token most feared, but in nothing was she more demanding or less forgiving than in the management of her house. She always felt as if her life had been lent to her by her husband; she was absolute monarch of a vast empire of happiness, which had been built by him and for him alone. She knew that he loved her above all else, more than anyone else in the world, but only for his own sake: she was in his holy service.”(221)
Fermina feels like she can relate more to her children than to her husband and I think that may be because she never had the chance to grow up properly, her childhood was not a normal childhood, they treated her like an older person. Her aunt would follow her around everywhere restricting her from having fun. After getting married with Dr. Urbino, she was forced to pretty much act like a mature woman, a couple weeks or months after the wedding she was already pregnant with her first child. I think things just came too fast for Fermina, that now she feels like a slave to her household. The society views her differently, they think she is constantly being catered to, but in reality she is the one doing the catering, especially to her husband. Fermina’s feelings toward her husband is that he is very egotistical and all she is supposed to do is act happy and make sure he is always satisfied or their “happy” empire with end up in ruins. I think if I were in a situation like Fermina, I would just leave. I would take my children and let him cater himself for the rest of his life, what would you guys do if you were in Fermina’s situation?
In this passage Dr. Urbino is describing Fermina as a woman who is able to tell story from her sense of smell. Fermina Daza controls her children and her husband with her nose; she uses it to tell them when to wash clothes and serves a purpose in many areas of their lives. Most of the time Fermina Daza sniffs her husband to watch his fidelity in the matrimony. I find the fact that Marquez brought up Fermina’s nose and the frequent and scary use of it. In this passage Dr Urbino explains what he feels about Fermina’s obsessive behavior,
“The truth is that her sense of smell not only served her in regard to washing clothes or finding lost children: it was the sense that oriented her in all areas of life, above all in her social life. Juvenal Urbino had observed this throughout his marriage, in particular at the beginning, when she was the parvenue in a milieu that had been prejudiced against her for three hundred years, and yet she had made her way through coral reefs as sharp as knives, not colliding with anyone, with a power over the world that could only be a supernatural instinct. That frightening faculty, which could just as well have had its origin in a millenarian wisdom as in a heart of tone, met its moment of misfortune one ill-fated Sunday before Mass when, out of simple habit, Fermina Daza sniffed the clothing her husband had worn the evening before and experienced the disturbing sensation that she had been in bed with another man”(237).
Dr. Urbino describes his wife as a “parvenue in a milieu,” which means that she has gained a lot of acceptance or fame in her physical surroundings or environment because of her obsession. He realized that her social life was being influenced by her behavior early on in their relationship. Dr. Urbino also believes that Fermina has been able to maneuver through many obstacles, demonstrating how much power she has. The thought from this passage is that her husband perceives her completely opposite to how she perceives herself. Fermina believes that she has no power over her life but in reality Dr. Urbino believes she has been the one in charge since the beginning of their marriage. The end of the passage ends with Fermina Daza sniffing her husband one night and realizing that he does not have his familiar smell, Fermina smells another woman on his clothing. I believe that Fermina Daza obsession was because she wanted to make feel like she had some control over her family and that lead to suspicions of infidelity.
This passage was very detailed; Marquez really made it clear through the vivid language the hardships that people were facing during the war. Fermina Daza seems to me came out as a very intellectual person in this passage because earlier in the book she was very passive and she lead people to believe that she was the shadow of her husband. Once she was able to be by she was when she began o show her sophisticated side.
“When they began their drive, Fermina Daza had covered the lower half of her face with her mantilla, not for fear of being recognized in a place where no one could know her but because of the dead bodies she saw everywhere, from the railroad station to the cemetery, bloating in the sun. The Civil and Military commander of the city told her: It’s Cholera. She knew it was, because she had seen the white lumps in the mouths of the sweltering corpses, but she noted that none of them had the coup de grace in the back of the neck as they had at the time of the balloon. That is true, said the officer. Even God improves His methods”(252).
When she was covering up her face with the piece of cloth so to speak or mantilla, she reminded me of an Indian or Muslim woman, they do cover up their face to hide their identities. Fermina did it to keep the stench and germs away from her face. The bodies were everywhere, contaminating the streets. Fermina noticed that the bodies did not have a certain mark, coup de grace in French or stroke of grace in English. Her husband may have influenced the observant characteristics she had of the bodies because he is a doctor. Fermina noticed the lumps in the victims’ mouths while they were driving by. The French she spoke may have been her hidden intelligence from the world. I believe many people in the book may have underestimated Fermina, but I think in this quote she proves us wrong by subtly saying little remarks like “coup de grace,” or the visible fatal blow that they would get if murdered.
The Cholera disease was a bacterial disease that infected the small intestine, many could have been contaminated through water and the majority of the time it was fatal. The officer said, “Even God improves His methods,” meaning that the method of all these murders was not by people but by bacteria. The corpses have no visible blows; the death was caused by a bacterium that was killing everything inside of the victims. The officer mentions God, which demonstrates how religious people there are but I find it interesting that Marquez capitalized “His,” just to emphasize who the officer was talking about.
Florentino Ariza has been pretty decent throughout that the book, other than his endless affairs which were caused by his feeling of emptiness for Fermina Daza. In this part of the book he takes it too far, to far with a fourteen-year-old girl. I believe that Florentino Ariza was very desperate and he strictly committed a crime by gaining the girl’s confidence and then manipulate her into sleeping with him. In the following passage Marquez, strictly describes Florentino’s conscious crime.
“Since he was the only person authorized to take her out of the boarding school, he would call for her in the six- cylinder Hudson that belonged to the R.C.C., and sometimes they would lower the top if the afternoon was not sunny and drive along the beach, he with his somber hat and she, weak with laughter, holding the sailor hat of her school uniform with both hands so that the wind would not blow it off. Someone had told her not to spend more time with her guardian than necessary, not to eat anything he had tasted, and not to put her face too close to his, for old age was contagious. But she did not care. They were both indifferent to what people might think of them because their family kinship was well known, and what is more, the extreme difference in their ages placed them beyond all suspicion”(273). America Vicuna
America Vicuna was the girl’s name. Florentino Ariza knew that since he was close to being a blood relative to this girl he was allowed to take her out of school when he pleased. The girl was told by people not to spend so much time with this man and to be aware and cautious of her actions and his actions. They both ignored the advice and instead were convinced that no one would be suspicious of any “affair,” because of their age, Florentino could be considered America’s grandfather. Their relationship did remind me of a high school couple, just because of the description of these carefree individuals driving around in a car acting silly. But that is still no excuse for a girl her age to give in to such an old man. It surprises me that no one noticed or even had the slightest suspicion. I think that overall Florentino needs help and he should not be searching for it with a fourteen-year-old schoolgirl.
This next passage struck me to be very important in the second to last section f the book because it describes Dr. Urbino’s death. Florentino Ariza asked a driver who had died and the driver filled him into the tragic gossip Florentino Ariza did not react the way I would of thought he would react to the death of his rival, the one he wished would of died the day that he took Fermina’s hand in marriage. In the following passage Marquez’s description of Florentino’s thoughts made me wonder if he still cared about Fermina Daza.
“It’s for the doctor with the goatee, said the driver. What’s his name? Florentino Ariza did not have to wonder who that was. Nevertheless, when the driver told him how he had died, his instantaneous hope vanished because he could not believe what he heard. Nothing resembles a person as much as the way he dies, and no death could resemble the man he was thinking about less than this one. But it was he, although it seemed absurd: the oldest and best- qualified doctor in the city, and one of its illustrious men for many other meritorious reasons, had died of a broken spine, at the age of eighty-one, when he fell from the branch of a mango tree as he tried to catch a parrot”(276).
I believed I needed to type the whole passage so that it would be clearer as to what or who Florentino and the driver where talking about. When Marquez describes Florentino’s reaction as “instantaneous,” it makes him sound like he hoped that Dr. Urbino wouldn’t have died due to an accident but due to age. It also seems like he didn’t want the opportunity to come so quick because he seemed to be enjoying the carefree lifestyle without commitments. Now that he has the chance to go up to Fermina Daza he doesn’t feel like he wants to go up to her and declare his love after such a tragic undeserved death.
Back to Dr. Urbino’s death, it was caused by the bird which was very ironic because at the beginning he talked about how he despised animals and his death was because he wanted to save or get the bird from the mango tree and instead fell and broke his back. I think that Dr. Urbino felt like after his separation from Fermina his life was over at the age of eighty-one and his only companion was the parrot he was attempting to rescue from the tree, it is quite ironic.
In this passage Floretino is experiencing something very awkward, he is waking up in his mother’s bed. This connects to the book we are currently reading in class by James Joyce. The connection is between Stephen and Florentino, they both are going through this phase where they need their mother and they feel almost like an attraction to them. Stephen wanted his mother when he felt hopeless and alone, he wanted her to be there to nurture him. Florentino is also feeling the desire of being close to his mother in this passage.
“He had lost all track of time, and did not know where he was when he awoke facing a large, dazzling window. The voice of America Vicuna playing ball in the garden with the servant girls brought him back to reality: he was in his mother’s bed. He had kept her bedroom intact, he would sleep there to feel less alone on the few occasions when he was troubled with the solitude”(188)
Florentino Ariza when he awoke after sleeping he heard the voice of America Vicuna, who was playing ball with the servants. The childish play brought him back to reality; his childhood and he automatically assumed he was in his mother’s room, sleeping in her safe warm bed. He would sleep in his mother’s bed because he felt a gap of “solitude” in his life and his mother’s bed may remind him subconsciously of his mother’s womb when he was a baby. I think that Florentino does not want to deal with all his problems alone and naturally goes to his mother to seek help; it is exactly what a child would of done.
In this passage it is the first time Fermina and Florentino see and speak to each other before Fermina Daza married Dr. Urbino. This moment was very awkward and shocking to Fermina. Fermina and Florentino decide on a day to see each other but Fermina instead of seeming excited stand there in her house like a tree stump. Her reaction may have been due to the fact that her husband died not that long before she saw Florentino. Florentino also surprised me, his reaction was totally different, and it was a lot more positive and impacted his life more than Fermina’s.
“The day after tomorrow at five o’clock. Florentino Ariza thanked her, bid an urgent farewell with his hat, and left without tasting the coffee. She stood in the middle of the drawing room, puzzled, not understanding what had just happened, until the sound of his automobile’s backfiring faded at the end of the street. Then Florentino Ariza shifted into a less painful position in the back seat, closed his eyes, relaxed his muscles, and surrendered to the will of his body. It was like being reborn. The driver, who after so many years in his service was no longer surprised at anything, remained impassive. But when he opened the door for him in front of his house, he said: Be careful, Don Floro, that looks like cholera”(305).
When I first read this passage I thought that Florentino was the one who was driving the car, but then it turns out that he was being driven around by a man whom apparently knew him for most of his life because he knew exactly what he went to Fermina’s house for. Florentino was lying in the back of the seat almost like if he had just jumped into the back seat in a rush and the driver tells him that he is acting like he has cholera. The reasoning behind that comment was said because Florentino had so many mixed feelings that it makes him act weird. Florentino does not view it as weird; he sees it as being “reborn.” Florentino feels like he has taken a weight off his shoulder and finally got to talk to Fermina in person after so many years. The driver was not only warning Florentino he was telling him that what is going on might not be the greatest or best decision he has made in life. The driver’s name was never mentioned which surprises me and I wonder why he was not brought up earlier in the book because he knew where Florentino lived.
In this passage Fermina confuses me because when Marquez talks about her she seems like a young woman, but when Fermina talks about herself she makes herself sound and seem very old. This passage also demonstrates the hostility between the sexes in the book. Dr. Urbino gets into the way he feels women treat him in his world. The battle of the sexes was just introduced to us in the book, according to the hostility.
“Florentino Ariza pressed her hand, bent toward her, and tried to kiss her on the cheek. But she refused, in her hoarse, soft voice. Not now, she said to him. I smell like old woman. She heard him leave in the darkness, she heard his steps on the stairs, she heard him cease to exist until the next day. Fermina Daza lit another cigarette, and as she smoked she saw Dr. Juvenal Urbino in his immaculate linen suit, with his professional rigor, his dazzling charm, his official love, and he tipped his white hat in a gesture of farewell from another boat out of the past. We men are the miserable slaves of prejudice, he had once said to her. But when a woman decides to sleep with a man, there is no wall she will not scale, no fortress she will not destroy, no moral consideration she will not ignore at its very root: there is no God worth worrying about”(329-330).
Fermina after rejecting Florentino goes back to her bad habit of smoking. The feeling of rejecting the secret love of her life caused Fermina to feel helpless and old. She claimed that she was old and she should not be receiving any kisses from him because she smells like old woman. After she sees Florentino leave she sees Dr. Urbino, which may have seen the whole thing between Fermina and Florentino. I think Florentino acted like he had no idea what was going on because he was waving to some boats that were sailing by and then began to talk about woman how they are really evil. He thinks that men face unjust behaviors from woman after sleeping with them. If men were to do the same they would never live it down and they have no hope or god that will be able to help them. Dr. Urbino makes woman seem like people that have no soul and literally only care about themselves. I think he said all that because he saw Fermina and Florentino and felt like he was being betrayed and he had no say in Fermina’s control anymore. The hostility between the two continued up until Dr. Urbino’s death.
In this section of the book Fermina and Florentino are finally together and committed. Fermina chose to leave her other life after Dr. Urbino’s death and leave with Florentino. Florentino took Fermina on a trip in a boat. This passage was a few pages before the very last page o the book and I found it kind of interesting that Marquez would abruptly tell us that the two imaginary “newlyweds” have already adapted to each other and have become so used to each other that they have though beyond love for each other.
“They were together in silence like an old married couple wary of life, beyond the pitfalls of passion, beyond the brutal mockery of hope and the phantoms of disillusion: beyond love. For they had lived together long enough to know that love was always love, anytime any anyplace, but it was more solid the closer it came to death”(345).
They both feel “wary” of love, which means that they are cautious and fear that something may potentionally cause danger to it. They feel like they are in a level of life where they feel no more abrupt and strong passions as before. They also feel like if they put any more hope into the relationship it would just be foolish. The “disillusion” of love makes their relationship seem so dull and like it was not as great as they hoped it would have been like when they were apart for all those years. They just lived with the thought that they have loved each other for so long, most of their fake lives that it has become something that has been written in stone. The closer it gets to death in the lives or the more they age makes the fact that they love each other even more apparent. The passage just made me think about people’s relationship present day, maybe there are couples that feel the same way because they have been together for so long.
The end of the book was very confusing what did you guys think about it? I enjoyed the book very much and all but the ending was not the ending I was expecting.