Tuesday Siesta by Gabriel García Márquez
In Tuesday Siesta by Gabriel García Márquez we have the theme of determination, respect, social opinion, connection and control. Taken from his Collected Stories collection the story is narrated in the third person by an unnamed narrator and after reading the story the reader realises that Márquez may be exploring the theme of determination. Mrs Ayala has traveled some distance in order to see her son’s grave. Also while she is at the priest’s house she is determined to see him in order to get the keys of the cemetery. Despite the priest’s sister suggesting that Mrs Ayala should come back later. At no stage in the story does Mrs Ayala turn backwards. She is constantly moving forward which may be symbolically important as it suggests to the reader that the Mrs Ayala is determined. Regardless of people’s opinion of Carlos (as a thief) Mrs Ayala herself does not judge her son. It might also be important that there is no proof that Carlos is a thief. He has robbed nothing. The matter of him trying to enter the old woman’s house could be an innocent mistake. If anything the reader has to be open minded when it comes to Carlos. There is not enough evidence to suggest that Carlos was a thief.
The priest also appears to have judged Carlos and even goes as far as criticizing Mrs Ayala by suggesting that she should have kept Carlos on the right track. This may be important as one would expect a priest to be removed of opinion when it comes to an individual’s character. That a priest due to their beliefs would not judge a man (or woman) based on their actions. If anything the priest should be open minded and more intelligent about his consideration of Carlos. He like those in the town believes the old woman’s version of events. The title of the story is also interesting as one would expect everybody to be indoors for a siesta. However when those in the town realise that Mrs Ayala is with the priest they want to see her. In all likelihood to scorn her for the manner in which she brought up Carlos. This too could be important as just as the priest may have judged Carlos and Mrs Ayala those in the town likewise have an opinion on both. An opinion which may not necessarily be correct.
Mrs Ayala’s daughter is also an interesting character. She is told by her mother not to cry while they are in the town and she doesn’t cry. Similarly she doesn’t question anything her mother tells her. She is obedient to her mother’s advice and wishes. Which may leave some readers to suggest that Mrs Ayala is able to control her children. Despite what those in the town, including the priest, may think. Mrs Ayala cannot be held responsible for Carlos’ actions. Her own circumstances are dire and in all likelihood she has reared her children to respect others. Something that is noticeable when Mrs Ayala tells the priest she told Carlos to never rob another person’s food. This statement should not be taken literally. It is possible that Mrs Ayala simply meant for Carlos or any of her children not to rob another person. Which he may have never done. As mentioned there is no proof that Carlos is a thief. Despite Carlos’ death and the circumstances she finds herself under Mrs Ayala still has a strong connection with Carlos. Something that is clearer to the reader by the fact she travels to the town to see Carlos’ grave within a week of hearing about his death. Likewise there is a sense that Mrs Ayala’s daughter has a strong connection with her mother. She honours each request her mother makes of her.
It is also clear to the reader that Mrs Ayala does not shy away from the responsibilities she has as a mother. Even though there are people outside the priest’s home waiting to challenge her. Mrs Ayala is determined to go directly to Carlos’ grave. This may be important as not only does it suggest that Mrs Ayala is strong-minded but she also knows that she has to pay respects to Carlos. Regardless of what others might think about either Carlos or her. She will not allow other people’s judgement or perception of Carlos deter her from what she feels she must do. As mentioned previously throughout the story Mrs Ayala moves forward on all occasions. She does not allow anything or anybody to get in the way of what she feels she must do. Rather than taking on board the social opinion of others Mrs Ayala is driven to do what she thinks is the right thing for not only her but for Carlos too. The reader is also left to imagine how difficult Mrs Ayala’s journey might have been. Knowing that she was going to be confronted by hostilities she still nonetheless perseveres.