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Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera


by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

Analysis: Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

Christopher Booker is a scholar who wrote that every story falls into one of seven basic plot structures: Overcoming the Monster, Rags to Riches, the Quest, Voyage and Return, Comedy, Tragedy, and Rebirth. Shmoop explores which of these structures fits this story like Cinderella’s slipper.

Plot Type : The Quest

Love in the Time of Cholera is, in a weird way, kind of a whacked-out version of a quest story. The problem is, we're not really sure if we can get behind the hero's journey. Let us explain.

The Call

Florentino is smitten. Zing!

Consider this: Florentino falls in love with Fermina Daza at first sight. He knows, no matter the obstacles, that he has to marry her, or life will be intolerable. In fact, he seems to have some sort of preternatural assurance that the two of them are destined to be together.

The Journey

Waiting…and waiting…and waiting some more.

OK, so Florentino's "journey" to true-love-wedded-bliss with Fermina Daza doesn't involve very much actual journeying. In fact, it's sort of the anti-journey, since it involves Florentino staying in one place for a really long time, as she marries Dr. Urbino and Florentino waits for the man to kick the bucket. Florentino resolves that "never again would he abandon the city of Fermina Daza" (3.134). Think of Florentino's journey as a temporal one – all he has to do is wait for her husband to die.

Arrival and Frustration

Florentino can't hold it in any longer! (No, we're not talking about his chronic diarrhea.)

After more than fifty years, Dr. Urbino finally dies, and Florentino is free to remind Fermina Daza of his undying devotion to her. Unfortunately, this does not go over as well as he had hoped. Fermina is outraged and kicks him out of her house.

Final Ordeals

There is nothing Florentino won't do to change Fermina's mind.

Still, Florentino doesn't give up. He buys a typewriter, learns to type, and then spends a year writing letters to Fermina about his philosophy of love. Eventually, he manages to get her to agree to take a river cruise with him.

The Goal

Creepy, morbid, decaying, eternal true love.

On the boat, Florentino finally gets the girl. Though the atrocities of real life – including a society that does not approve of their relationship, Fermina's attachment to her dead former husband, and the suicide of Florentino's teenaged former lover – threaten to intrude on their romantic bliss, Florentino manages to persuade Fermina to sail up and down the river with him forever.

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