In the novel, Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, birds are used as motifs intentionally in the imagery of scenes to convey sentiments, ideas and messages to the reader. Some of the roles taken by the symbolism of birds include indicating signs of the future and afterlife, supporting character portrayal and development throughout the text. The symbolism of birds is discussed in the essay because the recurring images of birds have a pertinent significance to the novella.
In literature, birds are commonly viewed as signs of freedom while in flight, yet while they are entrapped in cages, they symbolize the struggle for freedom. Gabriel Garcia’s usage of birds has both common and uncommon roles in the novel. The birds play a common role when protagonist Santiago Nasar walks through his house “among the cages of sleeping birds,” (Marquez 13).In this context, the birds represent a more cultural element rather than one of struggle as they do not appear to be suffering in their sleep. Another instance in which the motif of birds illuminates a role uncommon to most literature is when Angela Vicario’s “life as a rejected wife continued; […] [making] paper birds,” (Marquez 93). The paper birds add to the gloomy tone of the scene as Angela’s love for Bayardo San Roman is prolonged by her continuing to make of paper birds which represent love and marriage. The birds additionally convey the message to the reader that Angela is forced to return to her dull, unmarried life and as a result she “became a virgin again” (93). Along with this passage, there are several other examples in the novella in which birds appear in scenes with more than one role.
Because Gabriel Garcia Marquez included birds in several parts of the text, their roles are easily identified. And yet they can become convoluted. An instance of such is when the widower Xius had, “seen a phosphorescent bird fluttering over his former home, and he thought it was the soul of his wife,” (84). This passage convolutes the readers’ orientation of time in terms of the sequence of events as it explains what happens to Bayardo San Roman after “the brothers Vicario had proved their status as men,” (83-4). In other words, it is unclear when the murder occurred in relation to when Bayardo is mourning in solitude in his home. The “phosphorescent bird”, however represents the freedom of a soul from the body as well as the cultural belief of afterlife within this village. In this passage, the bird is believed to be Xius’ wife “fluttering over his former home” as the wife may be eternally trying to reclaim “what was hers”. The bird here symbolizes the soul that continues to live on with a certain stigma from life which is similar to the idiomatic expression, “turning over in one’s grave”. Simultaneously, the role of birds in Placida Linero’s interpretations of dreams is rather more unique and significant to the text.
Placida Linero, Santiago’s mother, is most well-known in the text “as an...