Unreliable “hear,” this disintegration in the multiple voices through

Unreliable narration is a
technique where the narrator makes outrageous claims and gives endless
justification for shocking acts. The writer employees the unreliable narrator.
Why? Because, it exploits their lack of trust which is crucial to the
construction of the chronicle. The readers trust them for a while as the story
goes on before realizing that something is amiss. Garcia Marquez is an
unreliable narrator because he has incomplete information and is also
dishonest. Where can these narrators be useful? Probably to create horror or
supernatural fiction. How do readers do not understand these kinds of
narrators? Mostly because readers make inferences based on clues that are given
by narrators who do not always accurately interpret events. Garcia tricks the
readers in such a way that the readers wonder increasingly about the truth of
events described by him. The report of events on the day of the murder provided
by Marquez is ambiguous and he leaves the judgment up to the readers. The
readers are tricked by him in such a way that they fail to understand that a
narrator is not the final voice of truth and authority. They may even confuse
the narrator with the author.

Garcia recollects the
past in relation to the events through a technique called “back grounding” due
to which he shifts the story back and forth. It is also due to this that the
story is not in a chronological order. The first chapter concentrates on
Santiago’s final minutes of life (line) while the second talks about Bayardo
and Angela’s wedding night and her return to the house, the third concentrating
on the Vicario brothers decision to kill Santiago, the fourth dealing with
Santiago’s autopsy, report of the murder and leaving of Bayardo and Angela’s
family from the town while the fifth deals with the neutral reactions of the
townspeople regarding the murder. So as to fictionalize the story from the
beginning, he clarifies what personality and features characters have and talks
about their relationship with one another, the kind of life they live and
eventually supporting events of the main event. 

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In literature, the
narrative I is neither stable nor unified rather it is split and fragmented.
One can read or “hear,” this disintegration in the multiple voices through
which the narrator voices in the text. Garcia wasn’t an eyewitness to the crime
which inevitably means that he would have to combine autobiographical and
fictional elements. Basically, he would shift the focus from what happened to
how it happened. We see that the narrator has exact details about minor things
like the time as far as Santiago’s movements are concerned. He gathers minor
bits of information, which do not actually contribute much to the story. As the
book progresses, a new voice adds to our composite knowledge of the events of
the day of the murder. However, it also revises and undermines the information
which has preceded it.

            The narrator tricks the readers by
repeating and diverting towards minor things that do not actually contribute
much to the development of the crime revelation. He also uses memory to trick
the readers. He admits that “I had a very confused memory of the festival
before I decided to rescue it piece by piece from the memory of others”
(Marquez,43). The evolving narrative I combines both the factual and fictional
details that belong to felt history and in turn dominates Garcia’s
autobiography because what interests him is not the description of the event
but the subjective impression it made on him and how he looked at it and lived
it. The novella is structured according to open pluralities of temporalities. The
narrative moves back and forth, mixing interviews with the accounts of the
narrator, who has returned to the town 27 years after the murder, to “put the broken mirror of
memory back together from so many shards.” (Marquez,5)

From the beginning till
the end, it is evident that something is going to happen, Santiago had to be
killed by Angela’s brothers as he deflowered her. This appears to conform to
the journalistic style of narration that is commonly characterized as ‘what, who,
when, where, whom, how and why’ technique. This means that the readers are
informed in advance about what is going to happen for instance the opening…,
when and where will it happen and to whom will it happen. However, it is
ironical that Santiago himself is unaware of the fact that he is going to be
killed. This means the why of his death is not very clear. This prolepsis adds
to the narration of the story at a point before the mentioning of the early

            The narrator, his brother Luis Enrique, Cristo Bedoya and
Santiago Nasar are very good friends who always hangout with one another. It is
ironical that none of them observe anything implicating about Santiago’s
conduct. Santiago spends most of his last hours with his friends trying to
calculate the exact cost of the wedding celebrations. The narrator remembers: “I
was with him all the time in the Church…all the more so such a big secret.”  The narrator’s observations cannot be
considered decisive. As we proceed, it is discovered that the narrator has a
sexual connection with Maria Alejandrina Cervantes. However, this was kept a
secret from Santiago as the narrator didn’t want to wound his friend’s
feelings. The novel repeatedly dents the authority of the narrator through such
observations. However, the narrator does not realize that if he can keep a
secret from his friend, the obverse is also possible. Marquez exaggerates the
happenings. The narrator manages to locate 322 pages of the original 500 page
brief prepared by the investigating magistrate. He appears to be a man well
versed in literary texts and undermines his legal document with notes in the
margin that verge on the lyrical. The magistrate is “perplexed by the enigma
that chance had touched him with.” (Marquez, 100)

            Like a good piece of investigative journalism the story
generates curiosity about the manner in which killing will be carried out as
well as the reasons for it. The narrator collects details which convey the
imprint of a thorough document list: “After their sister revealed the name to
them… and the other for trimming, seven inches long by one and a half inches
wide.” (p. 50-51) However, the collection of details is never unintentional.
The description about Ibrahim  Nasar’s
house,  and descriptions about the gifts
brought by guests at Bayardo and Angela’s wedding, are suggestive of the lofty
status enjoyed by both Santiago and Bayardo. The brutality of Santiago’s murder
is brought to the foreground by the naturalistic autopsy report.

            The narrator keeps up the reportorial style by recording
the exact time and every movement of Santiago on the day of his murder: “Furthermore;
all the many people he ran into after leaving his house at , …way that it was a
beautiful day.” (P.2)”The public spree broke up into fragments around midnight,
and all that remained was Clotilde …with Santiago Nasar five hours before
killing him.” (p. 45)

            Does the careful documentation of these facts help the
narrator decode Santiago’s death? Or does this strategy of Marquez divert the
readers attention from the real cause?

The journalistic style is
carefully cultivated only to expose its complete inadequacy as a method to
understand Santiago’s death. The narrator subverts his own attempts by
incorporating the subjective impression of the characters. However, his own
observations are also recorded.

When he finally meets Bayardo
about whom he has read in his mother’s letters, he writes:

“I met him a short while after
she did, when I came home for Christmas vacation… But above all, he seemed like
a very sad man to me.”(p. 27)

            Most of the time, the subjectivity verges on the surreal
for instance, when Santiago dressed in white clothes, crosses the square on his
way to the docks so as to welcome the bishop: “Clotilde Armenta, the
proprietress of the establishment…He already looked like a ghost,” she
told me.” (p. 13)

            Garcia vividly describes events that do not contribute
much to the story, thus effectively suspending the reader’s disbelief. For
instance, the description of the rifles that he kept in his closet, the
description of how “the bullet wrecked the cupboard in the room” passing
“through the dining room” all lead to the suspension of disbelief. Another
particular event which exemplified this was when Santiago exclaims “Don’t be a
savage,” “Make believe it was a human being” upon seeing Victoria Guzman
throwing the insides of the rabbits to the panting dogs. This scene is meant to
bring the reader into the story and have us feel what the character was
feeling. Therefore, by doing this it suspended our disbelief.