Imagine waiting fifty one years, nine months, and four days to be with the one you love. When waiting one hour seems like eternity, waiting fifty one years would be reason enough to declare insanity. However, Florentina Ariza was determined to do exactly this for Fermina Daza. His Fermina Daza. Throughout Love in the Time of Cholera, one cannot help but realize that this novel is the embodiment of “passion, romance, pursuit, and rejection” especially since “youthful love is portrayed against aging as well as ageless love” (Beetz 2549).
Over and over again, Marquez allows the reader a glimpse into this magical world where love knows no boundaries, whether they are about social differences, age differences, or economic differences (Beetz 227-228). He effectively uses several stylistic devices to convey the theme that love knows no boundaries. While the novel seems to be an “old fashioned love story,” it actually represents the everlasting existence of such an emotion, love, which is indescribable.
The novel’s protagonist, Florentino Ariza, is overwhelmed by the pangs of love that he suffers at the hands of young Fermina Daza. He watched her daily, “from seven o’clock in the morning” on the “hidden bench” in the park, and waited for “the impossible maiden” to walk by with a “natural haughtiness” (Marquez 56). Upon finding out about the situation, Fermina’s father sends her away on a trip meant to make her forget Florentino. She comes back and feels only the “abyss of disenchantment” (101). She ends up marrying Dr.
Urbino, a doctor of long name lineage and high socioeconomic status (Telgen 227). He waits fifty one years, nine months, and four days to be with Fermina, and repeats his “vow of eternal fidelity and everlasting love” on the first night she is a widow (Marquez 50). Through this brief summary, it is clear that the theme is evident because they unite in their seventies, having overcome class differences, and age differences. The critics reinstate this point as it is mentioned that “one’s later years can be a vital and exciting time in one’s life” (Telgen 233).
Florentino and Fermina confirm this thought at the end of the novel where they discover that love is “always love, anytime and anyplace” (Marquez 345). To them, no barriers existed which they could not cross once they were in love. To S. M. J. Minta, this represented “a refusal to grow old gracefully and respectably” (Ryan 217). They know their old age still allows them to live a wholesome life, and they do not have to give in to any kind of stereotype about aging. Feelings of love are essential to life, regardless of age.
Marquez shows that after their individual lives, some readjustment was required to unite, even though Fermina had no intention to do so. Florentino expressed his undying love and twice remodeled his house for the sole purpose of making it acceptable to receive Fermina Daza as a bride. He understood that winning Fermina over would require a certain amount of “fame and fortune,” especially since she was familiar with the ways of the high society and moved elegantly amid their circles.
The structure of social hierarchy had to be overcome because they were from different levels of the pyramid (Beetz 2551). Through overcoming this social hierarchy in order to see the characters unite, the reader is further absorbed into Marquez’s world and realizes that this is just one more method of exploring the paths of love. The tone of the novel begins by entailing the long journey from life to death. As Jeremiah de Saint-Amour, who has a fear of getting old, dies, the atmosphere surrounding the incidence is one of respect, reverence, and recognition. Dr.
Urbino, the doctor investigating Amour’s suicide, “slowly uncovered” the body with “sacramental circumspection” and treated the body with immense respect (Marquez 6). As the novel reaches its concluding stages, critics say the mood is “paradoxically apocalyptic” (Telgen 236). It reveals the conflict ahead. As Fermina and Florentiono are taking their boat trip together, he tells the captain to fly the yellow flag symbolizing cholera so that no passengers will get on or off. The captain does so however admonishes Florentino by saying that the surrounding towns are almost stripped bare of wood.