Love and Death in Love in the Time of Cholera

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For readers familiar with Love in the Time of Cholera, the themes of love and death would be constantly visited and revisited again by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his novel, with a tad of heavy reliance on the cholera pandemic (as the title suggests not so subtly) and going so far as to intertwine them into a single notion (more often than not) throughout. Such a combination (and comparison) is most visible in Florentino, and helps shapes our emotions and thoughts about him as a character. Yet, in seeing how the author allows these themes to interact as merely a vehicle to power his characters and novel would be too simplistic an idea; instead, one should perhaps consider the alternative viewpoints of these themes addressing deeper concerns…show more content…
In this instance, love, like cholera, produces an actual physical illness in Florentino which, at the same time inflicts him mentally, eventually consuming him wholly, as we would learn through the course of the novel. This “illness” can be read from his eating of gardenias and drinking of cologne so that he can know Fermina’s taste. This episode also sets the comparison of Florentino’s love to that of flowers in the Love in the Time of Cholera – where his ingestion of these flowers could be seen as a symbolism of him ingesting Fermina’s affections, and one which render him violently ill, just like how this love brings upon him both mental and physical anguish and suffering. Like the ravages of cholera which, at the turn of the century, spelt certain death (with no cure known yet), love had been similarly portrayed as such by Marquez in his novel. More importantly, the wrong diagnosis of cholera in this chapter foreshadows the conclusion of the novel, as we would come to learn of later. Reading the novel from henceforth, however, readers are introduced to a new angle of death and love by Marquez. While it would be too simplistic to summarize the third chapter as just Florentino bidding his time to declare his love for Fermina again, it also, once again, brings forth the notion of aging (as first seen in Saint-Amour’s letter) and death, associated with love. Florentino, for much of this
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