Love of the Time of Cholera
Meditation on Decay, Old Age, and the Dying Process
Garcia Marquez uses the characters of Florentino, Fermina, and Dr. Juvenal
Urbino in Love of the Time of Cholera to think about the nature of love as well as to
explore the social and cultural issues that predominated in coastal South America during
the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. Each of these characters represents a
different division of society, and the relationships between the classes are emphasized
further as the lives of the three protagonists become older and more deeply involved with
Aside from love, the process of aging, decay, and death is Love in the Time of
Cholera's most important theme, and the two are linked in a defiance of the society's and
culture’s prejudice against the sexuality of the elderly. Garcia Marquez clearly observes
the process of aging and continually brings up the details of its encroachment. At the
same time he proclaims a dignified old age and the right to companionship and pleasure.
This Novel begins with the deaths of two who consider old age a fate worse than
death, and ends with two elderly people proving that one need not stop living after the
age of 60. This is the sharpest contrast between Dr. Juvenal Urbino and Florentino.
Urbino viewed old age as the closing of doors, the time when all possibilities
came to a halt and life remained stagnant. He viewed age as the young view age, which
is a humiliating time in life when adults live in the past and have only death to anticipate.
However, Florentino would disagree. Florentino considered life to be an endless hall of
open doors, despite one's age, where every day was an opportunity to live life to its
The humor and pathos of aging and death are subjects that are very prominent in
this novel. In this novel bodies fail long before passions are spent. Florentino goes bald
when he is still young. He...