Love in the Time of Cholera


Gabriel García Márquez

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Love in the Time of Cholera Themes

Themes and Colors
Love Theme Icon
Sex and Morality Theme Icon
Social Norms vs. Personal Fulfillment Theme Icon
Illness, Mortality, and Hope Theme Icon
Moral Corruption and Cynicism Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Love in the Time of Cholera, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.


Gabriel García Márquez’s novel Love in the Time of Cholera follows the romantic lives of three central characters—Fermina Daza, Florentino Ariza, and Dr. Juvenal Urbino—to explore the meaning of true love. The daughter of a Spanish mule trader, Fermina Daza discovers domestic love when she marries Dr. Juvenal Urbino, an intelligent man from a wealthy family. During her marriage, Fermina realizes that her couple is tied together through intense knowledge of…

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Sex and Morality

In Love in the Time of Cholera, sex often represents a way for characters to escape the socially oppressive routine of everyday life. Through his experiences with widows, separated wives, and adulterous women, Florentino Ariza realizes that women often find pleasure and self-affirmation through sex, beyond what a conservative society deems acceptable for them to express. However, some sexual behaviors can remain tainted by dangerous dynamics of power and control. Florentino believes that sex…

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Social Norms vs. Personal Fulfillment

In Love in the Time of Cholera, Gabriel García Márquez shows that public appearances do not always reflect private reality. Despite what high society promotes, being wealthy and having a stable marriage (the main goals of the upper class) do not necessarily guarantee happiness. During her marriage to Dr. Juvenal Urbino, Fermina Daza realizes that the impression of contentment she emanates to the outside world does not reflect her experience in the house…

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Illness, Mortality, and Hope

In Love in the Time of Cholera, old age and death are always looming in the lives of the protagonists. The narrative opens with the description of Antillean refugee Jeremiah de Saint-Amour’s dead body, which his friend Dr. Juvenal Urbino is summoned to examine. When the doctor sees the dead body, he is shocked and soon realizes that he, too, is mortal. Over the course of the novel, various characters experience such moments…

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Moral Corruption and Cynicism

Although Love in the Time of Cholera primarily focuses on interpersonal issues such as love and relationships, the backdrop of the story is much more somber. The characters in the novel find themselves in a world ravaged by civil war, cholera, and environmental destruction. Politicians prove incapable of stemming a tide of civil conflicts, religious leaders bow to social interests, and businessmen prove committed only to their self-interest. As is typical of magical realism, a…

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