They could not find a bed in the village large enough to lay him on nor was there a table solid enough to use for his wake. The tallest men’s holiday pants would not fit him, nor the fattest ones’ Sunday shirts, nor the shoes of the one with the biggest feet. Fascinated by his huge size and his beauty, the women then decided to make him some pants from a large piece of sail and a shirt from some bridal linen so that he could continue through his death with dignity. As they sewed, sitting in a circle and gazing at the corpse between stitches, it seemed to them that the wind had never been so steady nor the sea so restless as on that night and they supposed that the change had something to do with the dead man.
The above paragraph in Marquez’s short story, “The Handomest Drowned Man in the World” is exemplative of the techniques Marquez uses in order to communicate the literary meaning of the text . The author uses certain terms whose connotation create a unified meaning of the text.
Firstly, the narrator describes the location as a villafe, which is a small community. The dead man is being prepared to have a proper funeral. However, the women are “fascinated by his huge size and his beauty” and cannot find a place “solid enough” to lay him bor clothes which will “fit” him (1). These terms convey the dead man’s grandeur and uniqeness. The dead man stands out amongst all others of village.
The women sit in a “circle” (1) around the dead man, sowing clothes large enough for him to wear. A circle signifies unity; the women have been unified for this dead man’s purpose. The dead man’s beauty and largeness have created a unified village. The arranging and dressing of the corpse has become a priority for the villagers. This high regard that the village has for the dead man is, perhaps, a prediction of the reaction from the neighboring villages, for all neighboring villages come to this village to mourn the handsome man’s death.
Just a little after thought:
Marquez’s text reminds me of how the people treat celebrities today. They are huge people to society and are glorified in the media. Every one of their qualities is enhanced and dramatized so that they become too large for our imaginations. We celebrate all their beauty and millions gather to mourn their death. Their death makes them even more grand in our minds, and we are even more fascinated with their lives.
Another after though: Reflecting back on this paragraph it draws on the changes of the village brought on by the dead man. His impossibly large size and beauty become cause for the village’s worship of him; they change, they dedicate their village to him, transform into a colorful, bigger, better built community so his memory may be honored. The people become Esteban’s family and the village becomes Esteban’s village.