Gabriel Garcia Marquez. You focus detail analysis book
The principle theme of Gabriel Garcia Marquez' novel, Love in the Time of Cholera, is that love functions as a disease. There are a number of similarities between love and diseases such as cholera -- they each can infect the body, mind, and spirit, they are contagious, and ultimately they can consume people. The author presents numerous instances that validate this assertion. The vast majority of them involve the three principle characters of the novel, Dr. Juvenal Urbino, Fermina Daza, and Florentino Ariza. The author presents an interesting duality between the two men involved in this love triangle and their shared interest, Fermina, to illustrate the fact that romantic love is highly akin to disease. A thorough analysis of the relationship between the three characters with one another and with others demonstrates that this novel only associates love with negative consequences -- much like cholera or any other disease.
Virtually all of the effects of love or the form of obsession it takes for some of the characters in this novel are far from positive. What is significant about this fact is that the novel chronicles a timeframe of well over 50 years, and presents a plethora of negative occurrences associated with the sentiment of love. The character who seems to embody the sickness of obsession that love frequently takes on in people is Ariza, who becomes love-struck with Fermina after a single look at her. During this initial phase of the book, which occurs during Fermina's youth, a number of misfortunes occur as a direct result of the feelings that Ariza has and is, seemingly, able to incite in the young girl. Fermina is eventually expelled from school and punished by her father for writing illicit love letters to Ariza. Worse is the fact that the relationship is unconsummated, which only allows for Ariza to become fully infested with a fanatical sense of grandeur associated with what he believes is love, and which manifests itself in a number of odd behaviors such as stalking Fermina and getting arrested due to unwanted serenades with a violin. The extent of Ariza's passion, however, and the totality of his fanaticism for her, is underscored in the following quotation in which Fermina's father threatens the former.
"Don't force me to shoot you," he said. Florentino felt his intestines filling with cold froth. But his voice did not tremble because he felt himself illuminated by the Holy Spirit. "Shoot me," he said, with his hand on his chest. "There is no greater glory than to die for love" (Marquez).
This quotation illustrates that Ariza is willing to die for what he believes is love. The parallel between love and disease is alluded to in this passage, because diseases can also result in death. Yet this passage indicates that Ariza is so smitten with Fermina that he is willing to essentially put her life over his own, and die for a feeling that he has for her. There is an unhealthy degree of self-subjugation evinced in such a quotation, which is also part of the parallel between love and disease, and which proves that Ariza's selfless neglect for his own welfare in the face of what he believes is love is another negative attribute it produces in this novel.
Whereas the author utilizes Ariza to demonstrate unbridled passion to such a degree that it subverts natural, healthy attitudes about one's self, he employs the characterization of Fermina's eventual husband, Urbino, for much the opposite purpose. Urbino is every bit as devoid of passion as Ariza is struck by it. His marriage to Fermina is a difficult one, and the pair spend a great deal of time fighting. It is noteworthy to mention that she initially despised him and only married him because her father made her do so. Again, Marquez uses this incident as another example of the negative consequences of romantic love. The irony is that while Ariza spends the majority of the novel -- and his life -- pining for Fermina, her very own husband (after going through considerable difficulty to marry her, spend the majority of his life with her in an unhappy state. The subsequent quotation proves this fact. "Life would have been quite another matter for them both if they had learned in time that it was easier to avoid great matrimonial catastrophes than trivial everyday miseries" (Marquez). The author's choice of diction in this quotation is exceedingly important to its interpretation. The word "miseries" is used to describe the relationship between the pair. Furthermore, these miseries are both "everyday" as well as "trivial" -- meaning that there is an abundance of unhappiness, for both parties, about minor things. When even minor things contribute to unhappiness, there is little hope for enjoying a romantic relationship. Urbino's lack of passion contributes to a dissatisfied state of stability that is the opposite of the ardor summoned by Ariza, and further proof that even at its best in the novel, love still brings negative consequences.
Although Fermina's regard for and relationship with love is more ambiguous than that of the other two male characters, it is still decidedly negative. When she was a young girl she felt all of the passion that animated Ariz. However, those feelings intensified due to the illicit nature of the unconsummated affair which bestowed it with a surreal quality that would have been difficult to match in real life. Subsequently, when Fermina returned from her voyage with her father and finally saw Ariza again, she felt none of her former emotions, for the simple fact that she is now an adult and the adolescent fervor that was part of the surreptitious nature of her letters and affairs was no longer part of her life. The difficulties that she had with her husband were mentioned in the previous paragraph. It is noteworthy that, despite the fact that their marriage was able to endure Urbino's infidelity, Fermina's feelings for him were more familial than romantic. Thus, when he dies she mourns him, and is sad at her own loneliness that will result, which is why she considers her own death in the ensuing months after his. The following quotation demonstrates this fact.
…a mule maddened by gadflies fell into a ravine with its rider, dragging along the entire line…she did not think of the poor dead mule driver or his mangled pack but of how unfortunate it was that the mule she was riding had not been tied to the others as well (Marquez).
Despite the obvious hurt and lamentation that Fermina feels, which is attributed to the death of her husband and her resulting loneliness at that fact, she does not have a positive love experience in the novel. Even her experience with Ariza at the conclusion of the novel, in which they finally consummate feelings that have been simmering the former for the better part of a century, do not provide her with a positive experience with love -- as she is embarrassed about the potential scandal the act might produce.
Despite the fact that all of the principle characters have difficult experiences coping with the effects of love, those endured by Ariza are by far the most extreme. The manifestation of the sickness that Ariza's infatuation with Fermina initially resulted in inner turmoil -- such as the time he was so distraught and overwhelmed by his feelings of her that he makes himself physically ill, and a doctor mistakes his heart's anguish for cholera (hence the title of the novel). During the greater portion of the novel, however, Ariza's inner feelings produce outward manifestations in an insatiable appetite to sleep with innumerable women, in a poor attempt to mend his broken heart.…