Marquez’s short story is timeless and the exact setting is unclear. The handsome dead man becomes the village’s hero, and the village becomes a type of shrine to honor his memory. Speculations about his life are made and he is seen as someone with much authority, but also someone very noble, tormented by his large size. People from all over come to his funeral and a precedent is set for future visitors of the village including a captain “in his dress uniform, with his astrolabe, his pole star, and his row of war medals” (3). The lives of the people in the village and those passing through are changed, in fact, Esteban is known all throughout and the village is known as “Esteban’s village” (3). Women weeping are compared to to Sirens which are half-women half-bird creatures in Greek mythology. Sir Walter Raleigh, an English explorer, solider, and aristocrat is also mentioned as Marquez mixes real figures with fictional ones. Marquez creates a myth through the explanation of the drastic transformation of a village and it’s people through their adoration of a strange, beautiful, larger-than-life dead man.
Marquez creates an omniscient narrator in his short story, which contributes to the mythical quality of the tale. The omniscient narrator is present during the discovery of the dead man, and his funeral, but is also present to witness the future changes in the village; the ships and captains stopping to gaze at Esteban’s village.
In Hector Pena’s article, “A Grand Year for Garcia Marquez”, he notes that “a large part of the enchantment of Garcia Marquez’s literature rests on its ability to recreate a time in which communities have not yet disconnected themselves from myth and are navigating a difficult transition toward a society regulated by reason, where science has not yet seperated itself from magic , or at least has learned to live with it in an exuberant amalgam” (61).
See also Conference Presentation
Penas, Hector. “A Grand Year for Garcia Marquez.” Americas 60.1(2008): 60-62. EBSCO. Web. 16 December 2011.