LITERATURE: Love in the Time of Cholera – Marquez on Sex

Obviously, what Florentino Ariza discovers about women through his liaisons with prostitutes is never applied to ladies such as his beloved Fermina Daza, but this observation is interesting:

It was in those days that he devised his rather simplistic theories concerning the relationship between a woman’s appearance and her aptitude for love.  He distrusted the sensual type, the ones who looked as if they could eat an alligator raw and tended to be the most passive in bed.  The type he preferred was just the opposite:  those skinny little tadpoles that no one bothered to turn around and look at in the street, who seemed to disappear when they took of their clothes, who made you feel sorry for them when their bones cracked at the first impact, and yet who could leave the man who bragged the most about virility ready for the trashcan.  (p. 175)

Marquez portrays his characters as very sexual beings, in both this novel and in 100 Years of Solitude, the men in particular do quite a bit of wandering about, and their women are of different stations, a line drawn between respectably married and paid whore, with a middle ground of sorts where the married ladies may dally and the mistresses gain a certain amount of respectability.

It is an old fashioned standard that is certainly within its time period, and while not the norm by today’s looser beliefs, I cannot help but feel that in the mind of man, some beliefs die hard.  Action is not always telling of prejudice.

This entry was posted in LITERATURE and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to LITERATURE: Love in the Time of Cholera – Marquez on Sex

  1. steve says:

    But I don’t know that the borders are so distinct or indistinct here. Couldn’t we come at this by arguing that what is isn’t always what it appears. Sure it’s a cliche, but it’s also a complicated one.

    The sensual is not sensual. The sensual on the surface lies. What would be so attractive to a man about sparrows rather than the jay?

  2. susan says:

    I’m about to post on whether Marquez is not as mystical in this novel, or whether I’m just not mentally up for him and reading him too straight right now.

Comments are closed.