Love in the Time of Cholera
How we cite our quotes:
Dr. Urbino caught the parrot […] But he released him immediately because the ladder slipped from under his feet and for an instant he was suspended in the air and then he realized that he had died without Communion, without time to repent of anything or to say goodbye to anyone, at seven minutes after four on Pentecost Sunday. (1.113)
Even though the text has let us know by this point that death is inevitable, we're still caught a little off guard by the fact that one of our protagonists dies midway through the first chapter.
On the third day a mule maddened by gadflies fell into a ravine with its rider, dragging along the entire line, and the screams of the man and his pack of seven animals tied to one another continued to rebound along the cliffs and gullies for several hours after the disaster, and continued to resound for years and years in the memory of Fermina Daza. […] she did not think of the poor dead mule driver or his mangled pack but of how unfortunate it was that the mule she was riding had not been tied to the others as well. (2.92)
The suffering of being separated from her lover is enough to make her wish she were dead. This is just one occasion where love and death are connected in this novel.
"If I died now," he said, "you would hardly remember me when you are my age."
He said it for no apparent reason, and the angel of death hovered for a moment in the cool shadows of the office and flew out again through the window, leaving a trail of feathers fluttering in his wake, but the boy did not see them. (3.20)
This experience with his father shapes Dr. Urbino's perspective on death for the rest of his life. The casualness with which his father makes the comment suggests a certain arbitrariness about death – like this comment, death could come at any time, and for no apparent reason.