The similarities between the styles of Garcia Marquez and Allende are strongly linked to the culture, tradition and the psychology of Latin American people. Throughout history these countries suffered the same wars for independence, fought for human dignity and struggled to save the old traditions wiped by colonialism. Both authors relied on human heritage and artifacts to craft memorable characters. Similarly, they have experimented with various themes and topics that have touched the heart of readers around the world.
The magnitude of the themes and memorable characters is overwhelming. However, each of these characters has a unique mentality. Living in different areas of Latin America both authors represent their unique points of view. Since they represented the best of Latin American Boom, critics have eulogized their work throughout the years. The most analyzed works by the critics are The House of The Spirits and One Hundred Years of Solitude. In fact critics have praised the two works for the distinctive styles and magnitude of characters.
"Two Words" and "Death Constant Beyond Love" are excellent examples of short stories with similar themes, setting and even style. The characters in both stories have unique personalities and come from diverse backgrounds. The dominating themes are politics and corruption mixed with tones of wisdom and insight. Senator Onesimo Sanchez in "Death Constant Beyond Love" by Garcia Marquez is the opposite of El Colonel in "Two Words" by Isabel Allende. Even though, both candidates are running for office, they are far away from being ideal political leaders. Senator Sanchez is a corrupted politician who is around forty two years old and educated in Europe as a metallurgical engineer. He is not the stereotype Latin American leader who seizes power through war. Senator Sanchez is quite sophisticated. He enjoys reading Roman and Greek philosophy and tries to follow a "Stoic" philosophy in his daily life. Whereas, El Colonel is an illiterate rebel who had fought all his life in civil wars and is looking for a drastic change. Lacking eloquence, El Colonel is searching to fill in the gap by taking discourse lessons. Tired from warfare and violence El Colonel goes through a psychological transformation. Without openly announcing it, he is pro change in his country's life. He aims to be a true political leader with fame and glory. Despite his ability to overthrow any type of government, El Colonel refuses and wants a fair political election.
Both of these characters are very original. The past of El Colonel is the image of any dictator in Latin America whereas Senator Sanchez appears to be the complete opposite. In fact, he leans toward the version of a western politician. The complexity of both characters is reflected in their emotional turmoil. They are weak mentally, emotionally and both have given in to loneliness. As Allende describes, "She knew immediately that she was standing before the loneliest man in the world."(17) It is Belisa Crepusculario who explores his psychological condition and used it in her favor.
"In Death Constant Beyond Love", even though Senator Sanchez has a terminal illness he continues his electoral campaign to avoid loneliness before the end. His constant thoughts of death overwhelm him and he uses his electoral campaign as an escape. The irony is very poignant; before dying he found the love of his life Laura, a black girl living in the shacks of Rosal del Virrey, who would never had a chance of being noticed if the Senator wasn't ill.
The theme of women is touched by both authors but in a different scale. In Garcia Marquez the main character is a politician and the woman is complementary, in Allende, the woman is the protagonist whereas the politician plays the secondary role. This is a familiar technique used by Allende since her stories are told from a woman's perspective. In Garcia Marquez, the woman complements the hero and her development as an individual evolves around him. She is seen as part of the male character but not the nucleus of the story. The male characters in both stories come from dissimilar backgrounds. They are portrayed as powerful, yet deep inside they become weak and vulnerable in the presence of the woman. In the end is the woman who changes the course of the story. Senator Onesimo Sanchez, an eccentric politician, well educated, falls for a poor black girl living in a dry, illusionary village in Colombia.
Garcia Marquez represents the woman as an important force in his stories and uses her to manipulate the development of the story, but she is not the heroine. Laura Farina changes the fate of the Senator Sanchez. Even though he was sentenced to death by an illness, the relationship with Laura caused him to die in distress and repudiation. The disease destroyed him physically while Laura destroyed him emotionally. Allende sees the leader in women; Belisa Crepusculario is someone who struggles for survival. She is a mistress of her domain, quite capable of taking down the "wild puma" otherwise known as the rebellious Colonel. Using her gift of nature Belisa never fails; she carefully scrutinized the Colonel, exploited his vulnerability and loneliness and slowly destroyed him.
The similarities in character description are close but very authentic for each one of the writers. While describing Belisa Crepusculario, Allende writes: "The man smelled the scent of a mountain cat issuing from the woman."(18) Garcia Marquez, similarly describes Laura Farina "…for her body gave off the dark fragrance of an animal of the woods…"(19)
The events in both stories develop quite differently. The events in "Death Constant Beyond Love" develop rapidly as the illness of the senator. There are at least three parallel events that occur in a six month period. These three events, however, develop simultaneously in a fantastical way. First, the illness of the senator progresses rapidly as he travels through the desert. He guards a symbolic rose and tries to keep it alive throughout probably the hottest region of Colombia. Secondly, the electoral campaign; a farce, a futureless parade of paper birds, paper butterflies and paper ocean is not a political campaign anymore, without any doubt it is a puppet show distracting the senator from his illness. Thirdly, his love affair with Laura Farina, whose "beauty" is questioned as the egocentric senator uses it to distract himself from the constant thoughts of death.
In "Two Words" by Allende, the events seem to follow diachronic order. Belisa grows as individual, she is strengthen as person, and is able to survive violence. After all, Belisa in the eyes of the reader is not a seductress, but a fighter. Her strength is intensified gradually as she grows up from a little girl crossing the "desert of death" to a mature, wise woman.