Love in the Time of Cholera

Love in the Time of Cholera Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Love in the Time of Cholera opens with the death of a minor character who does not even die for love. Why does Marquez open the novel this way? Is Jeremiah de Saint-Amour's double identity important?

  2. 2

    What are the differences between love among the young and love among the old in the novel? How do these differences play out between Florentino and America?

  3. 3

    How and why does the novel conflate love and sickness? In what ways are the concepts related?

  4. 4

    Consider two or three of Florentino's relationships against the backdrop of his feelings for Fermina. Does he experience real love with these women? What do the relationships have in common?

  5. 5

    Is the novel's narrator reliable? Why or why not? Does he understand each of the protagonists with equal depth?

  6. 6

    Florentino's love for Fermina often seems over the top--is this intentional? Is the reader meant to admire, mock, or pity Florentino's undying devotion?

  7. 7

    Given that the novel prioritizes the concepts of illness and love, what is the significance of Juvenal Urbino's role as a doctor? Why does medicine play so strong a role in the novel?

  8. 8

    One finds in the novel a claim that a man's death is an important statement about his character. If this is true, what does Dr. Urbino's death say about him? More generally, assess Marquez's treatment of the subject of death.

  9. 9

    Letters are the most important mode of communication in the novel. Why does the reader never see any of the letters? What does the theme of letters suggest about writing in general and about the plan of this novel in particular?

  10. 10

    How do the novel's winding chronology and multiplicity of perspectives enhance the story?

  11. 11

    Throughout the novel, there is almost always a war of some sort in the background. What is the significance of this pattern? Why is it always at such a distance from the characters? Why are war and sickness often connected, and what does this have to do with love?

  12. 12

    The majority of the novel rests on Florentino's decades of waiting. How does his waiting reflect his character? What is Fermina waiting for?