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The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World

The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World


by Gabriel García Márquez

The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World Questions

Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.

  1. "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" spans just about 24 hours of narrative time. What events correspond to nightfall? To dawn?
  2. We've argued that this story is about a man so great that he inspires other to be truly great as well. What sort of qualities does a person need to have to do this?
  3. In this story, the drowned man takes on the roles of the society's greatest mythological figures; Esteban, Lautauro, even Quetzalcoatl. Imagine a similar story, but taking place in your time and place. What sort of "mythological figures" might be linked to a great man?
  4. Are the qualities that make the drowned man great necessarily masculine? Which qualities of "greatness" are gender-neutral, and which are gender-specific?
  5. How does the genre of magical realism complement the story's content?
  6. Marquez takes some liberties with the narrative perspective, at one point going into free indirect discourse from the point-of-view of the drowned man (see paragraph 11). How does this effect the way we read the story? Does this particular passage in paragraph 11 help to characterize the drowned man, or the villagers?

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