Unreliable narration is a technique where the
narrator makes outrageous claims and gives endless justification for shocking
acts. The writer employees the unreliable narrator because readers trust them
for a while as the story proceeds before realizing that something is amiss.
Garcia Marquez is an unreliable narrator because he has incomplete information
and is also dishonest. Where can these narrators be useful? Probably to create
horror or supernatural fiction. Mostly because readers make conjectures based
on clues that are given by narrators who do not always accurately interpret
events. Garcia tricks the readers in a way that the readers wonder increasingly
about the truth of events described by him. The report of events on the day of
the murder provided by Marquez is ambiguous and he leaves the judgment up to
the readers. The readers thus fail to understand that the narrator is not the
final voice of truth, authority and confuse the narrator with the author.

Garcia recollects the
past in relation to the events through a technique called “back grounding” due
to which he shifts the story back and forth. It is also due to this that the
story is not in a chronological order. The first chapter concentrates on
Santiago’s final minutes of life (line) while the second talks about the
wedding night of Bayardo and Angela and her return to the house, the third
concentrating on the decision of Vicario brothers to kill Santiago, the fourth
dealing with Santiago’s autopsy, report of the murder and leaving of Bayardo
and Angela’s family from the town while the fifth deals with the neutral
reactions of the townspeople regarding the murder. To fictionalize the story
from the beginning, he clarifies what personality and features characters have
and talks about their relationship with one another, the kind of life they live
and eventually supporting events of the main event. 

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In literature, the
narrative I is neither stable nor unified rather it is split and fragmented.
One can read or “hear,” this disintegration in the multiple voices through
which the narrator voices in the text. Garcia wasn’t an eyewitness to the crime
which inevitably means that he would have to combine autobiographical and
fictional elements. He would thus shift the focus from what happened to how it
happened. We see that the narrator has exact details about minor things like
the time as far as Santiago’s movements are concerned. He gathers minor bits of
information, which do not contribute much to the story. As the book progresses,
a new voice adds to our composite knowledge of the events of the day of the
murder, also revising and undermining the information which has preceded it.

            The narrator tricks the readers by
repeating and diverting towards minor things that do not actually contribute
much to the development of the crime revelation. He also uses memory to trick
the readers. He admits that “I had a very confused memory of the festival
before I decided to rescue it piece by piece from the memory of others”
(Marquez,43). The evolving narrative I combines both the factual and fictional
details that belong to felt history and in turn dominates Garcia’s
autobiography because what interests him is not the description of the event
but the subjective impression it made on him and how he looked at it and lived
it. The novella is structured according to open pluralities of temporalities.
The narrative moves back and forth, mixing interviews with the accounts of the
narrator, who returns to the town only after 27 years of the murder, to “put the broken mirror of
memory back together from so many shards.” (Marquez, 5)

From the beginning till
the end, it is evident that something is going to happen, Santiago had to be
killed by Angela’s brothers as he deflowered her which appears to conform to
the journalistic style of narration that is commonly characterized as ‘what,
who, when, where, whom, how and why’ technique. This means that the readers are
informed in advance about what is going to happen for instance the opening…,
when, where and to whom will it happen. However, it is ironical that Santiago
himself is unaware of the fact that he is going to be killed. This means the
why of his death is not very clear. This prolepsis adds to the narration of the
story at a point before the mentioning of the early events.

            The narrator, Santiago Nasar , Luis Enrique, and Cristo
Bedoya are very good friends , it is ironical that nobody observe anything implicating
about Santiago’s demeanour. Santiago spends most of his last hours with his
friends trying to compute the exact cost of the wedding celebrations. The
narrator reminisces: “I was with him all the time in the Church…all the more so
such a big secret.”  The narrator’s
observations cannot be considered decisive. As we proceed, it is revealed that
the narrator has a sensual connection with Maria Alejandrina Cervantes.
However, this was kept a secret from Santiago as the narrator didn’t want to
wound his friend’s feelings. The novel repeatedly dents the authority of the
narrator through such observations. However, the narrator does not realize that
if he can keep a secret from his friend, the obverse is also possible. Marquez
exaggerates the happenings. The narrator manages to locate 322 pages of the
original 500 page brief prepared by the investigating magistrate. He appears to
be a man well versed in literary texts and undermines his legal document with
notes in the margin that verge on the lyrical. The magistrate is “perplexed by
the enigma that chance had touched him with.” (Marquez, 100)

            Like a good portion of investigative journalism the story
creates inquisitiveness about the way in which the murder will be carried out.
The narrator collects details which convey the imprint of a thorough document
list: “After their sister revealed the name to them… a half inches wide.”
(Marquez,50-51) However, the collection of details is never unintentional. The
description about Ibrahim  Nasar’s house,
descriptions about the gifts brought by guests at Bayardo and Angela’s wedding,
are suggestive of the lofty position relished by both Bayardo and Santiago .
The callousness of Santiago’s killing is brought to the forefront by the
realistic autopsy report.

            The narrator keeps up the reportorial style by recording
the exact time and every movement of Santiago on the day of his murder:
“Furthermore; all the many people…a beautiful day.” (Marquez,2) “The public
spree…with Santiago Nasar five hours before killing him.” (Marquez,45)

            Does this vigilant documentation of facts help the
narrator decode Santiago’s demise? Or does this tactic of Marquez divert
readers’ attention from the real cause? The journalistic style is prudently
cultivated only to uncover its complete scantiness as a way to comprehend
Santiago’s demise. The narrator undermines his own attempts by uniting the
idiosyncratic impression of the characters. However, his own observations are
also recorded. When he finally encounters Bayardo about whom he read in his
mother’s letters, he writes: “I met him…he seemed like a very sad man to
me.”(Marquez, 27). Most of the time, the subjectivity edges on the surreal for
instance, when Santiago dressed in white clothes, crosses the square on his way
to the docks so as to welcome the bishop: “Clotilde Armenta, the proprietress
of the establishment…He already looked like a ghost,” she told me.”
(Marquez, 13)

            Garcia utilizes magic realism in relation to a suspension
of disbelief. He vividly describes events that do not contribute much to the
story, suspending the reader’s belief.  For
instance, the description of the rifles that he kept in his closet, the
description of how “the bullet wrecked the cupboard in the room” passing
“through the dining room” all lead to the suspension of disbelief. Another
particular event which exemplified this was when Santiago exclaims “Don’t be a
savage,” “Make believe it was a human being” upon seeing Victoria Guzman
throwing the insides of the rabbits to the panting dogs. This scene is meant to
bring the reader into the story and have us feel what the character was
feeling. Therefore, by doing this it suspended our disbelief. Thus, by doing
this Garcia is successful in making his readers believe in something surreal.

             Marquez’s writing
is so complicatedly fastened with surreal concepts that it has defined the
genre of Magic Realism. He illustrates a world so implausible that it is impossible
to understand what is real. Nonetheless, questions of discerning the truth in
his novel will never stop being asked. However, Marquez achieves his original
intent of using opinion and perception to create ambiguity.

Though “There had never been a death
more foretold” (Marquez, 50) it could be claimed that the statement would be well
read as There has never been a death more muddled.