Victims of the System

Well I see you’ve come to haunt my conscience, Santiago Nasar. But you are unwelcome here.
Don’t be difficult. You know the truth. I have nothing to apologize for. You took my virginity. You had to die. That is my story. Dead men tell no tales. And we all know that stories untold are secrets well kept. I was only looking out for myself. It’s survival, self-preservation. You knew that well enough, didn’t you? You spent your entire life in caution, separating the ammunition from your revolver, always going through the back door. This was simply me, going through the back door, like you.
Don’t even try to get me to apologize, Santiago Nasar. I have paid my debt. I may have taken your life, but I paid for it. Twenty-seven long years of loneliness, paid for. Fair and square. Yours, at least, ended a long time ago—all your vanities, all your troubles. Gone. Mine magnified and continued on for what seemed an eternity.  You have me to thank for. I have relieved you from all the chains that have bound you. The same chains that bound me.
Oh you know we were both victims in this, Santiago Nasar. Don’t play around; don’t act like you were the only one who suffered. I have nothing to apologize for. You knew perfectly well what I had to go through. You had it easier. I was born and raised to be a bride. You know what it felt like to be me? I felt like a pig, fattened up to be slaughtered. I was meant to do one thing. And the only thing that could ever be worse than having a pre-defined purpose is not being able to fulfill it. My life means nothing now. Yours and mine never did, because people always told us what we should be. Did you really want to be with Flora Miguel? I didn’t think so.
Haven’t I paid enough, Santiago? Haven’t I given enough? I’m used up, and there’s nothing left of me. They’ve taken everything. You know how I feel, don’t you, Santiago?  Or perhaps, no one ever would.
You’re dead now, Santiago. I killed you.
Angela Vicario

This was an interesting bit to our literature class, after having read Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. We had to write and deliver a monologue, embodying the characters from the novel. The entire issue we had to address in this monologue?

What if Santiago Nasar came back to life?

And you had a chance to talk to him again.

Everything had already happened.

What would you say?

Well, then.

We were required to have someone embody Angela Vicario in each group, and I was the unlucky one to take the role.

The challenge around Angela Vicario was that if you make her innocent, and say that it really was Santiago who took her virginity, then you’re protagonizing her. But, if you make her apologize to Santiago’s ghost, then you’re basically saying that Santiago never had to die. Which was wrong in both cases, because that’s literary butchery altogether.

So what I tried to do was show that Angela and Santiago were the same. They were all on the same level.

I’ve had this theory that in life, everyone receives the same amount of good fortune and misfortune, only in different intervals of time. These may be random, or in some calculated pattern which we do not know of. It’s irrelevant. What matters is that everyone has the same amount of joy and suffering. Some experience it longer, shorter, now, later, tomorrow, two years from now, you get the picture. It’s a system of balance.

And I also believe that acting rudely towards others is simply a reaction to pain. There’s no such thing as a bad person. But there is such a thing as a jealous wife intent on murder because she’s been cheated on. There’s also such a thing as a young thief stealing bread from a store because he’s been hungry, because the government’s feeding program is total bollocks. There’s such a thing as a rebellious teenager because she feels like her potential is being undermined, or her worth as a daughter was under-appreciated and unrecognized.

Combine those two together, and I’m basically saying that everyone is a victim of the system. And that is exactly what Angela Vicario was. She was like an animal, like cattle, raised to bear children and produce milk. Santiago was but a pig, fattened up to be slaughtered one day–raised to be rich, a man of power, so he could be of use. They were both strangled by the same system, and if anything, Santiago should be able to understand Angela for what she had to do. Angela didn’t find the need to apologize for his death.

She didn’t mean to. She was a victim of the system too.


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