Of Love And Other Demons Summary and Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

Of Love And Other Demons

  • 75-page comprehensive study guide
  • Features 5 chapter summaries and 5 sections of expert analysis
  • Written by a professional writer with an MFA in Creative Writing
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Of Love And Other Demons Summary and Study Guide

SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides for challenging works of literature. This 75-page guide for “Of Love And Other Demons” by Gabriel García Márquez includes detailed chapter summaries and analysis covering 5 chapters, as well as several more in-depth sections of expert-written literary analysis. Featured content includes commentary on major characters, 25 important quotes, essay topics, and key themes like Forms of Love and Faith and Superstition.

Plot Summary

Set in the seaport city of Santa María de Antigua, in colonial Spanish Colombia, at the end of the 18th century, Gabriel García Márquez’snovel Of Love and Other Demons tells the tragic story of Sierva María de Todos Los Ángeles. The only daughter of the American-born Marquis de Casalduero, Sierva lives with her father the Marquis, and her mother, Bernarda, in a decaying mansion.Neither parent takes an interest in their daughter, so she’s raised by Dominga de Adviento, the household’s head slave woman. Sierva spends most of her time in the slave quarters, where she feels welcomed. She learns three African languages, how to sing and dance, and is both baptized and consecrated to Yoruban deities by Dominga de Adviento. When Sierva was born with her umbilical cord wrapped around her neck, Dominga promised the girl’s hair to the saints in exchange for her life, and so, it has never been cut. Márquez bases Sierva’s character on the corpse of a girl with hair “twenty-two meters” (4) long, and a legend his grandmother told him about a girl with similar hair who performed miracles on the Caribbean coast.

The first chapter begins shortly after a rabid dog bites Sierva on her twelfth birthday. Though she doesn’t contact rabies, she begins to act strangely. Sierva becomes believed to be possessed by a demon. Under the advice of the local bishop, Sierva is imprisoned in the Santa Clara Convent, where she awaits her exorcism. However, Father Cayetano Delaura, the priest set to perform her exorcism, falls in love with young Sierva, and the two begin a passionate, though chaste, love affair.

When Father Delaura confesses this affair to the Bishop, the man takes Delaura off the case, strips him of his title, and sends him to the Amor de Dios Hospital to work with lepers. Miserable without Sierva, Father Delaura hopes to contract leprosy and die, but he doesn’t. The Marquis regrets sending his daughter away but is helpless to stop the proceedings. Though Father Delaura tries to free Sierva, he never succeeds. In the end, the Bishop takes on the exorcism himself, and in the violent process, Sierva passes away.

True to its title, the novel depicts many kinds of love, including familial love, religious love, and romantic love, each more torturous than the previous. The novel, a prime example of Márquez’s brand of magical realism, also deals with topics central to the decline of the Spanish Empire in the Americas, including the Catholic Church, the viceregency, the slave trade, and the effects of the Enlightenment.

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