In Love in the Time of Cholera, letters represent the desire of various characters to either display or obscure the truth from others. Writing letters provides an opportunity for characters to reveal their true selves or, on the contrary, to disguise some of their intentions. Before committing suicide, refugee Jeremiah de Saint-Amour writes Dr. Juvenal Urbino a letter describing his past crimes. This act of transparency demonstrates de Saint-Amour’s desire for his true identity to be known, even if it is unflattering and might shock his friend—who, in addition, will be unable to answer de Saint-Amour since he will be dead. Florentino Ariza’s letters to Fermina Daza, on the other hand, are not meant to highlight past immoral deeds, but to seduce her. In his youth, Florentino uses lyrical poetry to do so, whereas in old age he writes meditations on issues related to life and death. These strategies reveal that Florentino has learned new, innovative ways to impress the woman he loves, even if his actual intentions (to win Fermina over) have not changed. Letter-writing, in this sense, is not necessarily fully honest and genuine for every character in the novel, since they can choose to reveal only the aspect of themselves that might appeal to their addressee, according to their particular goals. This issue is further complicated by the fact that Gabriel García Márquez never transcribes any letter for readers to see. This suggests that the actual content of letters might matter less than characters’ reactions to them. In other words, the capacity for letters to serve as vehicles for people’s emotions and desires ultimately proves more important than their literary content. The various uses of letter-writing in the novel thus signal the variety of intentions that characters have toward each other—whether this involves telling the truth and revealing one’s past crimes or building trust to achieve romantic seduction.
Letters Quotes in Love in the Time of Cholera
It had to be a mad dream, one that would give her the courage she would need to discard the prejudices of a class that had not always been hers but had become hers more than anyone’s. It had to teach her to think of love as a state of grace: not the means to anything but the alpha and omega, an end in itself.