Love in the Time of Cholera

by

Gabriel García Márquez

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Florentino Ariza meets Leona Cassiani in a trolley and immediately identifies her as a “whore.” However, Leona only wants Florentino to find her a job. Once he finds her a position in the River Company of the Caribbean, Leona proves that she is highly intelligent, hard-working, and, most importantly, a deeply devoted friend. She expresses her gratitude toward Florentino by protecting him from enemies in the company, where her talents soon allow her to have control over the entire firm. She is described as “the true woman of [Florentino’s] life,” although Florentino and she never develop a romantic relationship. She argues that Florentino is like a son to her and that the ideal man for her is a man who raped her when she was young—an experience that, surprisingly, left her with fascination and love for her rapist rather than anger. Leona proves faithful and committed by taking care of Florentino Ariza in his old age. She is the first and only woman who allows Florentino to realize that he can have a sincere friendship with a woman that does not involve sex.
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Leona Cassiani Character Timeline in Love in the Time of Cholera

The timeline below shows where the character Leona Cassiani appears in Love in the Time of Cholera. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 4
Love Theme Icon
Sex and Morality Theme Icon
On the trolley, Florentino also meets Leona Cassiani. She is “the true woman of his life” even though they never share a... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Leona Cassiani becomes a highly talented employee. She submits ideas to Florentino’s Uncle Leo XII to... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Sex and Morality Theme Icon
Although Florentino never fully grasps the extent of Leona’s actions, he is full of regret that he didn’t make love with Leona upon first... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Leona is the only person with whom Florentino ever feels inclined to share his secret love... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
...Urbino would have to die so that Florentino might be able to express his. When Leona Cassiani enters the office after Urbino leaves, Florentino feels the urge to tell her about... (full context)
Chapter 5
Illness, Mortality, and Hope Theme Icon
...a movie, which she says out loud is boring. Florentino, who is also there with Leona Cassiani, recognizes her voice. After the event, he sees Fermina leave with her husband, using... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Sex and Morality Theme Icon
After this, Florentino accompanies Leona home. In her apartment, in which he has spent many Sundays, he tries to caress... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Moral Corruption and Cynicism Theme Icon
...He also wants his nephew to marry, and told him that he would have married Leona if he were 50 years younger. Months later, Florentino is chosen as President of the... (full context)
Chapter 6
Love Theme Icon
Illness, Mortality, and Hope Theme Icon
When Fermina saw Florentino with Leona Cassiani in the movie theater, she had been surprised to observe his self-assurance. She had... (full context)
Love Theme Icon
Sex and Morality Theme Icon
...too, is suffering. He wishes for the presence of Tránsito, who always comforted him, or Leona Cassiani, but he knows that he would have to confess everything to her. Finally, he... (full context)
Sex and Morality Theme Icon
Illness, Mortality, and Hope Theme Icon
In the meantime, Leona Cassiani and América take care of Florentino, who is stuck in bed. Florentino soon learns... (full context)
Sex and Morality Theme Icon
That morning, Florentino receives an urgent telegram from Leona Cassiani informing him that América Vicuña is dead. A few hours later, he learns that... (full context)