The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World Presentation by Trevor McFarlane

Gabriel Garcia Marquez

03/06/1927 - 04/17/2014
  • In 1927 he was born Aracataca, Columbia
  • Began his career as a journalist
  • Most of his work involves magical realism
  • In 1982 he won the Nobel Peace Prize in Literature
  • During the late 1990s he was diagnosed with cancer
  • In 2014 he died in Mexico City
Similar locations as the book.


"The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" starts with children playing on beach in a somewhat small fishing village. In the distance they see a large figure. Eventually it floats onto the beach and the children play with it; the play consisted of burying and digging the body. After peeling seaweed, stones, and dead sea life off of his body, the children take the body to the village in order to have a funeral for the man.

The villagers attempt to figure out where the man came from--they decide he is a stranger. The women begin to make clothes for the man. During the creation of the clothes, the women start to fawn and lust over the dead man; they assume that his wife must have been the happiest woman in the world. The eldest woman in the village names the man Esteban. The men come back and are livid about the fuss of the women. Until one thing changes their minds--Esteban's face.

The funeral that is thrown is one of grand splendor; flowers adorned his body, relics a top him, and strangers offering to be family. As his body falls back over the cliff they realize their lives have been changed. On the off chance he returns the villagers make changes to the home. The houses are given bigger doors and taller ceilings, they want to paint the walls brighter and with more color, and the village is much more happy overall.

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Literary Terms

Magical Realism

Magical realism blends the normalcy and logical of a realistic story with ideas of wonder and mysticism. Though magical and fascinating, the elements of the writing style are spit out in a blunt and straight-forward manner.

The men who carried him to the nearest house noticed that he weighed . . . almost as much as a horse, and they said to each other that maybe he'd been floating to long and and the water had got into his bones.


Throughout the short story is is made ever clear that the village has never been enthralled or enthused about much. That is changed by the appearance of the dead man; the dead man adds beauty, happiness, and love to the estranged fishing village.

[W]here the wind is so peaceful that now that it's gone to sleep beneath the beds, over there, where the sun's so bright that the sunflowers don't know which way to turn, yes, that's Esteban's village.


Sirens are referenced during the man's funeral. Though not literally sirens, the villagers crying was comparable; they assumed that the sobbing would be able to attract many from afar to visit for Esteban. The supposed volume of the tears also gives insight into the feelings of the villagers--they were distraught about the lose of the dead man.

At the final moment it pained them to return him to the waters as an orphan and they chose a father and mother from among the best people, aunts and and uncles and cousin, so that through him all the inhabitants of the village became kinsmen. Some sailors who heard the weeping from a distance went off course and ancient fables about siren.

Discussion Questions

Is it feasible that a group of people would react the same way in today's society?

Do you think the drowned man will make a return to the village, why or why not?

"Fun" Game Review


Created with images by Ronny Siegel - "Popeye Village" • MarcReverdi - "golyazı scholarship boat" • Alan Cleaver - "Fairy rock" • pellaea - "Laos Village" • DariuszSankowski - "knowledge book library"

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