Love in the Time of Cholera

Fundamental Needs in Love in the Time of the Cholera

In Marquez’s Love in the Time of the Cholera, the relationships of the three main characters are predicated upon the different fundamental emotional needs they have. For example, Florentino needs love from Fermina, while Fermina needs not love but companionship and security from her husband Juvenal. In turn, Juvenal needs understanding and stability from Fermina, so what we have in the end is a rich tapestry of needs that govern each character’s actions and interactions.

Florentino’s basic need is the simplest to gauge, for it remains constant from the moment he sets his eyes on Fermina. His basic motivating need is love; all his actions speak to that inner drive. When he has Fermina’s love, “Requited love,” he has “a confidence and strength he had never known before” (74). Conversely, without Fermina he is only a shadow of himself, an object of pity. He “hunt[s] the abandoned little birds of the night for several years, still hoping to find a cure for the pain of Fermina Daza” (174). He rides the trolley and stalks the Carnivale looking for love, and other women are drawn to him because they sense his innate need. Even the cleaning woman at the transient hotel realizes that “he was just like her: someone in need of love” (78)....

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