The Handsomest Drowned Man in The World


In the story “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World," the children of a small village discover a large man that washes ashore and the people of the village claim this man as one of their own. While taking care of this drowned man, the women of the village fall in love with him and image what he must have gone through being such an enormous person. They have great pity for this character and make him out to be larger than life. The men in the village have no time for him and want this nobody out of their lives. In the end, Esteban’s becomes some kind of hero, and his presence changes the people of the village forever. Gabriel Garcia Marquez the author, does portray Esteban the drowned man as a sympathetic character.

The author begins the story with children finding this massive bulge that washes

a shore that looks like an empty ship. They bury and dig up it up in the sand all afternoon not knowing that it is a dead man. The local villagers take him to one of their houses, they realize what an enormous man he is. They realize that this man is a stranger and he’s not from their village. “But only when they finish cleaning him off did they become aware of the kind of man that he was and it left them breathless. Not only was he the tallest, strongest, most virile, and best built man they had ever seen, they had no room for him in their imagination”(Marquez 567). He was so large that he did not even look like a human. They thought he was a whale or even a ship. But, when they cleaned off his face, they saw something spectacular in him that left them curious, about who he was and what he must have been like in life.

Marquez uses the women in this story to show the most concern for Esteban and to make the biggest impact on the village. “They could not find a bed in the village large enough to lay him on nor was there a table solid enough to use for his wake “(Marquez 568). The women feel pity for Esteban and his tremendous size. “It was then that they understood how unhappy he must have been with the huge body since it bothered him even after his death” (Marquez 568). How could his size bother him after his death? The women imagined about what it must have been like for him to have to live with such a large body. Not having clothes that fit, being unable to sit in an average size chair, and being a spectacle every where that he went. “They could see him in life, condemned to going through door sideways, cracking his head on crossbeams, remaining on his feet during visits…later on would whisper the big boob finally left, how nice, the handsome fool has gone”(Marquez 569). The author creates compassion for this character through the eyes of the women. They begin to see that this a regular man, with extraordinary obstacles. They understand what it must have been like to live with such an enormous body, and they truly feel sympathy for him. The sympathy that they have for Esteban is exaggerated and almost unrealistic. “Later, when they covered his face with a handkerchief so the light would not bother him, he looked so forever dead, so defenseless, so much like their men that the first furrow of tears opened in their hearts”(Marquez 569). The women began to see Esteban as one of their own men and feel tremendous sadness for his death. They see him as an ordinary man who needs a place to belong.

As the story progresses the men of the village have no pity for the drowned man.

They wanted to be done with this newcomer. They thought the woman were acting ridiculous over this nobody. The men wanted to tie an anchor to Esteban so that he would sink easily and not come back. “Since when has there ever been such a fuss over a

drifting corpse, a drowned nobody, a piece of cold Wednesday