People will do and say almost anything to protect their reputations. Their reputations become such a large part of their lives that their thoughts and actions revolve around protecting and maintain them. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, by Gabriel Garca Mrquez and "The House of Bernarda Alba", by Frederico Garca Lorca, the characters focus their lives on building and maintaining good reputations. Bernarda's life totally revolved around her reputation. The Vicario brothers got so caught up in trying to regain the family's honor they were even willing to kill a man.
Finally, In "In a Grove", by Ryunosuke Akutagawa, Tajomaru, Takehiko, and his wife all took credit for Takehiko's death. They did this to receive some honor and try to better their reputations in a tough situation. Bernarda dedicates her life to insure that her family has a good reputation. She acts like this because she cares so much about what other people think of her. Bernarda is constantly regulating the things that her daughters can and can't do. After their father's death Bernarda wants to stick with tradition so she tells her daughters", [d] using our eight years of mourning no wind from the street will enter this house!" She is forcing her daughters to shut out whatever social life they had to stay in Bernarda's "prison" for eight years and mourn their father's death.
She forces her daughters to stay in the house because she thinks that if she lets her daughters out people will think that they are not sad about their fathers death and Bernarda doesn't want to give people a reason to talk about the family. Bernarda is so concerned what the neighbors think about the family that she tries to make sure that none of the family's business leaks out of the house, so the neighbors won't have anything to talk about. During a dispute in her house she says", [t] he neighbors must have their ears glued t the walls". She is terrified that the neighbors may have heard something and now they will have something to gossip about. Bernarda is so concerned about the image of her family that other people see, she even tells her family what to wear. When Bernarda's daughter Martirio is going to go out into the courtyard, Bernarda says", [v] ery well, but don't take the kerchief off your head".
If Martirio took off her kerchief, it would seem as if she wasn't mourning her father's death and Bernarda doesn't want the neighbors to see this. These actions by Bernarda represent how she is run by her need to have an immaculate reputation. The Vicario brothers are on a mission to get back the family's respect, honor, and they will stop at nothing. When Angela Vicario marries a rich man like Bayardo San Rom, it is a great honor to the Vicario family. But when Bayardo returns Angela to her mother for not being a virgin, all honor and respect is lost for the Vicario family.
It is for this reason that the Vicario brothers are on a mission to kill Santiago Nasa, the man who took their sister's virginity. When they set out to kill Santiago they say, "We kill him openly but we are innocent". They think that killing Santiago is acceptable because it is for a good cause (re-attaining the family's honor). They believe that they cannot be held responsible for his killing; Santiago deserves it for taking advantage of their little sister. They said that they wanted to get back the family's honor and they claim that they are innocent, but when they went to kill Santiago they brought their best knives. The knives were "ten inches long by two and a half inches wide and the other for trimming, seven inches wide by one and half inches wide".
Their actions reveal that they didn't just want to kill Santiago, they wanted to slaughter him. It may have been a matter of honor, but for slaughtering Santiago they are not innocent. After the murder they say", [b] before God and before man. It was a matter of honor". They justified the killing as a matter of honor; they did it to protect the family name. To them this is acceptable; through their actions they show that it they are willing to kill a man to have a good reputation.
In "In a Grove", the three main characters take credit for the killing of Takehiko to receive some self-satisfaction and honor. Firstly, the villain of the story, Tajomaru says, "I killed him". By taking credit for Takehiko's murder he receives some honor and expands his ego. But this is not enough for him he has to boast some more. He goes on to give a miraculous recollection of events by saying, "I needn't tell you how our fight turned out, the twenty-third stroke... please remember this". He goes on and on bragging about killing this samurai in a sword fight.
This boasting gives him even more honor and he believes that he is getting a better reputation as a great swordsman. Secondly, when Takehiko's wife gives her confession she says, "I stabbed the small sword through his lilac colored kimono into his breast". She takes credit for his murder because she was just raped by Tajomaru and doesn't have any honor or self-respect. Therefore by taking credit for this murder she wouldn't have to deal with the pain of confronting her husband after she was raped.
Thirdly, (through someone who communicates with the dead) Takehiko takes credit for his own murder. "I took [the dagger] up and stabbed it into my breast". He takes credit for his death because he is already dead and it would help make his afterlife easier if he took his own life and died with some honor. Another reason is that he may not have been able to live with himself after just sitting on the ground and helplessly watching his wife being raped. So he dies taking what little honor he may have had left after watching his wife taken before his eyes. The characters of these three short stories are victims of caring too much about their reputations and honor.
They are in some sort of trance making them too self-conscious. Maintaining their reputations controls their lives. But, all of the characters end loosing something because of their addiction. Bernarda ended up loosing her youngest daughter, Adela; because she tried to break through Bernarda's wrath and was caught and didn't want to suffer anymore.
The Vicario brothers regained some family honor but ended up going to trial. Tajomaru got some self-pride but was captured by the police and probably ended up going to jail. Takehiko lost his life trying to keep what little honor he had left, but in this process he lost the privilege of being able to see his wife again. Takehiko's wife lost the chance to be with her husband and killing him still didn't solve the fact that she was raped. So in the end being overly concerned about their reputations had negative consequences. There was a struggle in their lives then a significant loss.
"House of Bernarda Alba", Lorca, Frederico Garcia, P (205) "House of Bernarda Alba", Lorca, Frederico Garcia, P (247) "House of Bernarda Alba", Lorca, Frederico Garcia, P (207) Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Mrquez, Gabriel Garca, P (55) Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Mrquez, Gabriel Garca, P (58) Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Mrquez, Gabriel Garca, P (56) "In a Grove", Akutagawa, Ryunosuke, P (23) "In a Grove", Akutagawa, Ryunosuke, P (27) "In a Grove", Akutagawa, Ryunosuke, P (29) "In a Grove", Akutagawa, Ry "In a Grove", Akutagawa, Ryunosuke, P (29) "In a Grove", Akutagawa, Ryunosuke, P (29).