In Gabriel Garcia Marquezs Chronicle of a Death Foretold there are several types of relationships between men and women that, although opposites on the moral compass, coincide well. These relationships include prostitution and honor, utilitarian marriage and desire, as well as sexual expectations of men and women. These uniquely corresponding relationships present a number of themes regarding gender throughout the selection, and are able to grant us a greater understanding of the circumstances surrounding the small town in the story.
Prostitution and honor are almost opposites by definition, so why is it that they exist in harmony throughout the selection? The reason that these two different things are able to coincide is the distinctive values present in this story. The brothel is a house of mercies(45) that is well attended; as to prove a point at how widely accepted this place is. The sexual expectations of men have a lot to do with these values as men are expected to be experienced come marriage, bringing great honor if the wife is pure. The relationship between prostitution and honor reveals the theme of use of women as property whose value is determined by appearance and purity.
The theme of the use of women as property is further elaborated in the relationship between sexual expectations of men and women. The sexual expectations of men and the sexual expectations of women are very different. Men are to be experienced and should have visited the brothel and gotten past the initial hesitation and fear of sex by the time that they are married, making the theme of a patriarchal society very clear. On the other hand, women are supposed to be pure until the time of marriage comes, so that they may bring honor and prestige to themselves, their family and their husbands. If they dont they may end up being punished by their punished by being beat with such rage that it might seem as they aim to kill(46) by their mothers. The brothel is one of the only alternatives for women who have not respected this social rule, and serves as a punishment for refusing social norms and keeping their family from advancement.
The ever-present struggle between desire and utilitarian marriage serves as the missing factor in the equation of life in this society. A violation of the sexual expectations of women through desire can end in prostitution, reflectively the compliancy of expectations can bring honor resulting in marriage. In conclusion, this patriarchal society has a unique set of rules with predetermined destinations that give a better understanding to the motives of characters such as the Vicario brothers and their sister.