Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Did Santiago Nasar Really take Angela's Virginity?

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Did Santiago Nasar really take Angela’s virginity? Was Angela telling the truth?

Gabriel Garcia Marquez masterfully hides the truth, leaving it to the reader to ascertain whether Angela was really the victim she was claiming to be.

I would have to lay out both the guilt as well as the innocence of Santiago if only to point out that both arguments can actually hold water. Later in the essay, I would give my two cents worth into this argument by revealing what I really think about this matter.

Let us begin by asserting Santiago’s innocence. Throughout this whole episode, as Santiago slowly discovers his impending murder, never once did he show any sign of fright or flight from his imminent plight. “All the many people he ran into after leaving his house…later remembered him as being a little sleepy but in a good mood, and he remarked to all of them in a casual way that it was a very beautiful day.”(p. ) There was no sign that he was afraid of his would-be perpetrators. He didn’t even hide from the twins or arm himself to the teeth. He didn’t do a comeuppance, by killing the twins first before they get to him. All these ideas never really came to him primarily because he really didn’t know anything about the whole situation. He didn’t really know that he was going to be killed. He just went on with his usual daily routines giving us the idea that he was free from guilt. He never did anything that’s why he was never afraid of facing anyone. He could have, considering that he was skilled with guns and he kept a closet full of musketry. However, even with such armory, “He never left it (weapon) loaded”. (p. ) His strange reaction is a clear indication of his innocence, that Angela’s accusation was merely a lie. In fact, “the victim’s very behavior during his last hours was overwhelming proof of his innocence.” (p. 118) Even when he felt that the twins’ assertions were really true, “his reaction was not one of panic….but rather the bewilderment of innocence”. (p. 118) “Santiago Nasar was merry and peaceful, and openhearted”. (p. 6) With such an unsullied reputation, picturing him as a lecherous man would not quite fit into the whole picture.

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Or wouldn’t it?

“He grabbed my whole pussy……..It was what he always did when he caught me alone in some corner of the house..” (p. 14) Such was the assertion of Victoria Guzman’s daughter, Divina Flor. Divina Flor, was “just coming into bloom” and her mother was a former paramour of Santiago’s father, Ibrahim. Victoria didn’t hold both father and son in high esteem, describing them as “shit”. (p. ) She even warned Santiago of any dalliance with her daughter. “Victoria showed him a bloody knife. ‘Let go of her, white man…….You won’t have a drink of that water as long as I’m alive” (p. 8) This happened when Santiago said to Divina, “The time has come for you to be tamed.” (p. 8) However, such lustful actions aren’t uncommon to testosterone-driven men of twenty-one, and people can just as easily shrug off such come-ons as manifestations of an untamed libido of a young man.

And there is that angle of prejudice. Santiago was of Arabian descent after all. He was of a different racial background from the native people in his community. Moreover, he was wealthy, to boot! Even the judge who was assigned to the case seemed bent on the idea that it was a murder based on prejudice. He came to this conclusion because there simply was no proof that showed Santiago’s guilt, except maybe this. And such prejudice really existed; prejudice against his racial descent as well as his social status. Polo Carrillo says of Santiago “He thought that his money made him untouchable.” (p. 10) Fausta Lopez commented likewise, in a general statement, “Just like all Turks.” (p. 10)

In all this searching for the truth, we can still go back to Angela’s impassive testimony before the judge and the public, “He was my perpetrator”. In my opinion, Angela was really telling the truth, sans the hysteria and the hullabaloo that go with such accusation. What I really think is, that Angela’s deflowering was also of her choice and that she wasn’t forced into it. In the first place, Santiago was gorgeous, well mannered and manly, a prized catch, I should say. And Angela did not feel ashamed of her state. “It was very easy because I’d made up my mind to die.” I think what she couldn’t quite grasp was the fuss over he so-called “honor”. In a way, Garcia Marquez mocks society’s pretensions and hypocrisies against a woman’s virginity. That equating a woman’s honor with her ability to hold on to her virginity until her wedding night is, in my opinion, a sexist myth perpetuated by a patriarchal society. Women own their bodies and should be the one wholly responsible for it. As Julia Roberts said in Pretty Woman, “I say when, I say who!”

In the end, Angela’s stoic reaction to all the frenzy around her was justified since she did love Bayardo San Roman and her not being a virgin should not matter at all. It’s just crazy that Santiago Nasar had to pay a high price for it.

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