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Skip to 0 minutes and 7 secondsOne of the most interesting aspects of No One Writes to the Colonel is its use of language. The Colombian critic, Hernando Téllez, has said, for example, that a fundamental characteristic of the book is the simplicity of its design, almost the ease with which the reader can go from episode to episode in the book. When it comes to language, what interests us in this MOOC is the fact that the question of violence is not specifically present in the novella, but is merely suggested. We know, for example, that the colonel’s son has been murdered at the cock-fighting pit.

Skip to 1 minute and 1 secondWe know that the presence of this son is felt not only in memory but also in the figure of the rooster that appears throughout the book. Given this simplicity, or rather the ease with which the book seems to have been written, the purpose of this module of the MOOC is to carry out a careful reading of the way in which, for example, certain objects with clear symbolic meaning are presented. It is very important to bear in mind that fundamental to this novella, as also to all great literature, is its polysemic nature. That is, the artist imbues it with many senses and many meanings.

Skip to 1 minute and 58 secondsWe present a relevant or faithful interpretation, but that does not mean ours is the only possible view. There might be many other interpretations too. Given that one of the principal virtues of the novella is the ease with which it appears to have been written and the transparent way it is presented to the reader, this module will carry out a careful analysis of the title and, for example, of the first paragraph. In addition, in our analysis of one of the most intense passages in the novella —the meeting between the colonel and his son’s murderer— we will attempt to carry out a detailed analysis of the rhythms of the prose that is used to describe the event.

Skip to 2 minutes and 53 secondsAll these nuances in our analysis of the novella are intended to bring us to the fundamental point, and that is to recognise the depth with which the central character is presented and, above all,

Skip to 3 minutes and 5 secondsan aspect that we believe to be of great importance in this connection: the compassion that Gabriel García Márquez appears to invest in the story of the colonel.

Presentation of No One Writes to the Colonel

In this video, Professor Hugo Ramírez presents some of the aspects of the novella that make it one of Gabriel García Márquez’ masterpieces. No One Writes to the Colonel seems to have been written with great ease, not only because of its rhythm and the simplicity of its design but also because of the depth with which its central character is drawn.

However, the novella is polysemic in nature. In other words, the content provided by the author has a wide range of different meanings. We examine an example of this aspect in the analysis of the symbolic value of objects that appear in the novella.

We also examine the title and the first paragraph, as well as the way in which García Márquez deals with the question of violence, which is merely suggested.

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This video is from the free online course:

Reading Macondo: the Works of Gabriel García Márquez

University of Los Andes

Course highlights Get a taste of this course before you join: