Gabriel Garcia Marquez's "The Incredible and Sad Tale of Erendira" is a frustrating story. It is full of beautiful images, fascinating characters, and puzzling events. The frustration lies in trying to figure out why the characters behave they way that they do. Why does Erendira's grandmother prostitute her granddaughter instead of forgiving her debt? Why does Erendira stay with her grandmother after she has put her through such awful experiences? And why, when finally granted freedom by her grandmother's death, does Erendira not run away with her lover? The seduction of the text lies in attempting to answer these questions.
The text employs certain narrative techniques to confound and challenge the reader. The story's tone is very matter-of-fact. There is very little judgment placed by the narrator on any of the character's actions. This makes it difficult for the reader to know where to place one's sympathies. Whatever commentary there is, comes in the form of ironic descriptions. Erendira's forced prostitution is repeatedly referred to as "Erendira's love" throughout the story. The story never reverts to a tragic tone and that is one of its strengths.
Evil is hard to...
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