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Rendon, M. (1994). The Latino and His Culture: Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Am. J. Psychoanal., 54(4):345-358.

(1994). American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 54(4):345-358

The Latino and His Culture: Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Mario Rendon, M.D.

Works of art have traditionally been considered sources of insight for psychoanalysis. Through them not only the artist but his culture can be known. By means of a sort of regression that takes place in the service of the ego (Kris, 1934; Hartmann, 1939), the artist gets in touch with infantile memories and fills the gaps with his imagination. This in turn serves as a screen for the artist's interlocutor (the reader here) who mirrors the artist's regression and thus shares in the creative act. In Moses and Monotheism, Freud (1939) placed traditions as the group equivalent of individual infantile memories, thus trying to bridge the gap between the individual and the group's unconscious. The novel that is the object of this paper could be said to be parochial in that it all takes place in a remote Caribbean town. However, the structure of the novel has a universal theme as we will see: by means of letter writing, almost like a self-analysis, the protagonist is able to transcend servitude and to give birth to herself as human. A ray of hope is thus thrown into the constraining darkness of destiny.

The Title

Death is the ultimate representation of destiny, that which occurs beyond our control; its thought bursts our most basic narcissism and causes utmost despair. The fact that the vicious murder of an innocent man was foretold makes our consciousness of the supremacy of fate more acute. The pessimistic emphasis placed by Latinos on destiny has been called fatalism. However, in this story the same process as that of a successful analysis takes place and thus the opposite arises: faith. The fact that the event is chronicled counteracts the pessimistic outlook and ultimately brings the best of hope: human growth. By translating the memory of events into language, the chronicler struggles to reach the soothing consciousness of meaning.

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