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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #7

The truth is that by the standards of his time, Florentino Ariza had crossed the line into old age.  He was fifty-six well-preserved years old, and he thought them well lived because they were years of love. (5.107)

Here García Márquez highlights a difference between the time of the story and the time in which he's writing.  In Florentino's day, 56 is considered old.  In 1985 (when this book was first published) or today, we might consider that middle-aged.

Quote #8

It was a bad time for being young:  there was a style of dress for each age, but the style of old age began soon after adolescence, and lasted until the grave.  More than age, it was a matter of social dignity.  The young men dressed like their grandfathers, they made themselves more respectable with premature spectacles, and a walking stick was looked upon with favor after the age of thirty.  (5.107)

Might we consider old age to be more of a social construct than a biological fact?  Men in Florentino's society want to dress in an elderly "style" because they think it makes them appear dignified.  

Quote #9

For women there were only two ages:  the age for marrying, which did not go past twenty-two, and the age for being eternal spinsters:  the ones left behind.  The others, the married women, the mothers, the widows, the grandmothers, were a race apart who tallied their age not in relation to the number of years they had lived but in relation to the time left to them before they died.  (5.107)

Here it becomes really clear just how much perceived age depends on other social factors, like gender and marital status.

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