Literary Analysis of Gabriel Garcia Marquez ‘One of These Days’
‘One of These Days’ is a short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. The piece depicts a situation wherein the powerful mayor of a town forced a poor local dentist named Aurelio Escovar to perform an extraction of a tooth. Given that the mayor has been suffering from severe toothache for numerous days already, he was desperate for the procedure. By using threats, the mayor is able to force Aurelio to perform the procedure but without anesthesia. Putting these elements together, Garcia Marquez masterfully tells the story to readers and by careful use of words is able to convey a deeper meaning to the interaction of both characters in the story.
Looking closely, one of the essential themes pointed by Garcia Marquez in the story corresponds to the concept of power and the negative impact it can create to people. At the beginning of the story, readers are able to understand the situation of Aurelio Escovar wherein he is poor and his office lacks the necessary sanitation and supplies. On the other hand, there is the mayor who currently holds political power and control over the town and its people (Marquez 1). Even if these individuals have contrasting status, power arguably forces each one to have and exercise control. As for Aurelio, it is in the brief moment that he is performing the procedure of tooth extraction that he recognizes power over the mayor. Despite having this control for over a brief period, readers are able to recognize its ability to corrupt people and use it to their advantage. For instance, the choice of Aurelio to not administer anesthesia is one way to demonstrate this approach. After the procedure, readers again recognize the shift back of power to the mayor as he regains control of the situation, including the dentist’s life.
Another striking theme that the story explores is the professionalism of the dentist in fulfilling his role. Despite having limited credentials, it can be argued that he remains to be qualified to administer the procedure. Also, being forced and coerced at the expense of his life further prompted the dentist to do the tooth extraction. Though the dentist had complete control of the mayor’s life, he did not use it to advance revenge or the interests of political resistance (Belling 1). Rather, he recognized the necessity of fulfilling his duty to the patient. Even though he had the power to do damage to the patient, the dentist decided not to and instead fulfills his obligation and role effectively. Clearly, this is one way of showcasing professionalism from the viewpoint of the author.
Lastly, Garcia Marquez also puts forward the theme surrounding the cyclical nature of corruption as it occurs in society. This message is depicted by using the rotten tooth as a symbolism. Central in the argument is the reality that unless people stand up against corruption, the cycle would continue (Dark Party Review 1). Like the mayor who exploited the people by using the power vested on him, the same can also be seen with how the dentist manipulated his position to his advantage and did his best to make the mayor feel the pain of the procedure. Altogether, the process remains to be cyclical because either parties sought to change the status quo happening.
Overall, Garcia Marquez ‘One of These Days’ provides a simple yet thought provoking piece about power and its nature to corrupt people. The characters in the story have contrasting positions and viewpoints surrounding power but nevertheless show instances where abuses and corruption of their roles are exercised. As readers dig deeper into the lessons, they are able to gain an understanding about the metaphor of the rotten tooth and how it remains difficult to extract something that has been so ingrained in our system. Clearly, it is one of these days that the dentist was able to do so both literally and figuratively.
Belling, Catherine. ‘Literature Annotations: Garcia Marquez, Gabriel: One of These Days’
Collected Stories. New York: Harper Perennial. 16 Jan. 1998. Web. Accessed 2 September 2014.
Dark Party Review. Literary Criticism: Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s “One of These Days”. 16 Jan. 2007. Web. Accessed 2 September 2014.
Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. ‘One of these days’ Classic Shorts. n.d. Web. Accessed 2 September 2014.