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The main theme of the novel is the power of romantic love. The protagonist, Florentino Ariza, devotes his entire life to the pursuit of a woman he has only spoken to briefly and has never been alone with. He waits for fifty years for Fermina’s husband to die so that he can finally have the woman of his dreams.
The minor theme of the novel explores the reality of married life. Fermina Daza and Dr. Juvenal Urbino are married for almost fifty years, characterized by petty power struggles, mundane acts of kindness, practical love, and infidelity. Although the romance goes out of the relationship, as it often does in married life, they still need and love one another.
The Mood of the novel is generally comic. The narrator treats the epic passions of Florentino Ariza with a wry humor that undercuts the seriousness of his emotions. The struggles of marriage are also treated in a farcical manner. In spite of the prevailing comic Mood, Garcia Marquez gives the characters emotional depth. As a result, the reader both identifies with the characters in their struggles and stands back smiling at their foibles.