) The first topic I’m sure you could have predicted. We are still trying to work with the “elements of fiction,” and be sensitive to which are most significant and how they function. In this story, I’m sure will agree that “point of view” is significant. Who is this narrator, and what is his point of view. But what about all the other people? Almost as an investigative reporter, the narrator gathers the opinions and points of view of all the townspeople. What is the nature and significance of their perspectives? Why does it matter? Look at point of view from as many angles as you can, and you will find that the discussion leads to some other important issues in the novel.
2.) An important issue in this novel is the concept of guilt. Who is guilty in this novel? Normally mysteries feature a detective who tries to sort out the clues and figure out who’s responsible. Well, who “done it” in this novel; just the Vicario brothers, or is there a greater sense of culpability that permeates the novel? The narrator seems reluctant to point fingers, but you can! Go for it! Impugn, implicate, and indict as many people as you can/wish, but make sure you back up your accusations!
3. )This relates to question 2. According to Russian Structuralist Critic Tzvetan Todorov in his article “The Typology of Detective Fiction,” the detective novel can be classified in the following manner
a. The novel must have at most one detective and one criminal, and at least one victim (a corpse).
b. The culprit must not be a professional criminal, must not be the detective, must kill for personal reasons.
c. Love has no place in detective fiction.
d. The culprit must have a certain importance
– in life, not be a butler or a chambermaid
– in the book: must be one of the main characters
e. Everything must be explained rationally. The fantastic is not admitted.
f. There is no place for descriptions, nor for psychological analyses.
g. With regard to information about the story, the following homology must be observed: ‘author: reader = criminal : detective’
h. Banal situations and solutions must be avoided
How does Chronicle uphold or subvert the genre of the mystery novel as defined by Todorov? How does García Márquez use (or abuse) the mystery genre to fulfill his authorial objectives, and WHY? This is a fun one, but again, don’t forget “THE POINT” as explained above. Explain how this novel fits into the artistic project of Garcia Marquez and what is ultimately communicated to the reader through such a unique approach to detective fiction.
4.) This is also related to question 2: Is this novel about basic human passions and emotions, especially pain, suffering and guilt, like a Greek Tragedy? Referring to Aristotles Poetics, we find the one of the basic elements of tragedy is catharsis (Katharsis). “Catharsis” has a number of definitions, from “the purging of emotions and relieving of emotional tensions” to a “discharge of pent-up emotions resulting in alleviation of the symptoms of the condition.” (Check your own dictionary as well.) Does Chronicle serve that purpose for the townspeople in the novel, or for the readers themselves? Is Chronicle related to Greek Tragedy in that manner? I cannot include the quote from Aristotle’s Poetics right here in the body of this message because it does not fit, but please refer to the Final Paper assignment under Course Documents if you are interested in writing on this topic.
Not an essay so please do not format it as one. They are discussion questions.