The short story The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a perfect example of marvelous realism, which is filled with references of mythological elements, two legendary characters and a strong feeling of melancholia. Gabriel Garcia Marquez is an acknowledged master of mixing everyday routine with imaginary elements in such a way that readers don’t even think to question whether it is true to life or not.
The villagers are the protagonists of the story. Let’s have a look at them! The said villagers live on the seashore and – understandably – their lives depend on the sea. The men put their lives at stake to provide their families with food, the women do numerous household chores, every day looks just like a previous one. It becomes clear that their lives as bare as the cliffs their houses stand on. That is absolutely uneventful life, absolute dependence on destiny. They are unenterprising, obedient, almost indifferent. They don’t even try to change a thing in their lives. One might think that they are content with it, but it is not true. The villagers just don’t know other live. It is like to leave on a different planet. There are them and the sea and there is nothing else.
It is possible to argue about who Esteban is for hours. There are many theories and each of them is based on numerous proofs, so it is up to readers to choose the version to their liking. However, one of the most plausible expiation is that Esteban is Quetzalcoatl, the Aztec god of wind and learning, for he brings changes into the lives of the villagers. His magnificence helps them to realize that they live poorly, that they could have done a lot to transform their village and, consequently, their lives. Although Esteban is a stranger, they recognize him and start worshiping him. If Esteban is the god, why is he dead? The answer is that the cult of Esteban or Quetzalcoatl is replaced by the Catholic Church. In spite of the fact that his people are converted into a different religion, he is still important. Esteban’s story is also an example of complexity of any culture.
The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is a must-read for everyone. This short-story is definitely going to leave a long-lasting impression and, maybe, even teach its readers a valuable lesson. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s work shows how important it is to know how to notice “magic” in everyday life. So let’s be curious and eager to learn more about this world in order to avoid the fate of the villager who wouldn’t chance their lives it waves and a wind wouldn’t bring them Esteban. To look at his world with the eyes of a child is the main lore everyone has to master.