Love in the Time of Cholera
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Aunt Escolástica is Fermina's aunt and Lorenzo's sister. She spends her forties looking after her teenage niece, acting as a mother figure for the young girl. Fermina teaches Aunt Escolástica to read, and Aunt Escolástica teaches Fermina a thing or two about love. When Lorenzo finds out about Fermina's correspondence with Florentino, he rightly suspects that Aunt Escolástica played a part in encouraging the affair and banishes her from the household. Fermina never forgives her father for this cruelty, especially when she learns years later that her aunt has died in a leprosarium.
As Fermina's first tutor in the ways of romance, the illiterate and otherwise uneducated Aunt Escolástica proves herself worthy of her "scholastic" surname. In Aunt Escolástica's understanding, love is a ritualistic interaction, guided by rules of appropriate behavior, but ultimately worth breaking a few rules for, too. She advises Fermina, for example, to accept Florentino's proposal of marriage without the permission of her father, rather than spend her life in regret.
Aunt Escolástica's is one of the many complex perspectives that García Márquez offers about love, and, as with all the others, it's difficult to say if it is correct. Does the fact that Fermina ultimately breaks up with Florentino and marries the more practical Dr. Urbino mean that Aunt Escolástica was wrong about love?