The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World
by Gabriel García Márquez
Take a story's temperature by studying its tone. Is it hopeful? Cynical? Snarky? Playful?
The last paragraph of "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" is probably the best place to look to get a handle on Márquez's tone. As the villagers imagine the way their world has changed, and consider the things they will do differently in the future, the text renders their dreams touching, even sublime. There's no skepticism or mocking here, and as readers we don't doubt the sincerity of the villagers and their dreams. Throughout the whole story, in fact, this sort of reverent tone can be seen, from the description of the women's tears to the moment the drowned man's body falls off the cliff.