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The Handsomest Drowned Man In The World by Gabriel Garcia Marquez explores a unique human response to a peculiar event. In this story, Marquez describes a deceased male who has washed up on the beach of a small village who both perplexes and wonders the people. For instance, the immense size of the man in the water lead the children to believe he was a whale or ship. Marquez illustrates the common tendency for humans to, when given few limits, create their aspired perfection. After cleansing the body, the villagers discover a robust man who’s handsomeness has no limits. Throughout the remainder of the story, the villagers are seen using an anchoring bias, in which his perfection of appearance illogically leads them to assume (although stated as a fact) that this man was perfect in attitude, assiduity, and modesty; essentially the dead corpse of a God.

The original response of the villagers, that of the men who carried him from the beach, was one within reasonable limits. After describing that “he weighed more than any dead man they had ever known,” the reason the cause of this within logical limits, that possibly “he’d been floating too long and the water had got into his bones.” This is before they discovered his absolute superiority over all of the other villagers. When the women encounter the body’s beauty, they explain its magnificence without logical boundaries. They explore and explain more than the body tells them. Furthering the earlier supposition of the children that the object is not human is when Marquez mentions that “only his shape gave one to suppose that it was the corpse of a human being.” The mention of Esteban being only anthropomorphic, in combination with the explanatory relationship of the women and Esteban’s waking life, inclines the reader to believe that he is in fact, God.

The realization of Esteban’s most valuable trait comes soon after the villagers discovery that he is a complete stranger, one with an unexplained origin. A key moment of the story, the discovery that he is “not only the tallest, strongest, most virile, and best built man they had ever seen, but even though they were looking at him there was no room for him in their imagination.” The interesting point made in this passage, as well as supported by the title and many other passages is that the villagers observe his other momentous traits (e.g. his height, strength, virility, and build) but choose his attractiveness to describe him. Considering their village consists of only “twenty-odd wooden houses,” their population is very small, and therefore one may assume that they are very similar in most traits. So, although they have seen men of great height and strength, but these men have been explained. Because he is an absolute stranger, everything behind what they can see is left to their imagination. This relates to the enigmatic nature of God in many religions.

The villagers replace their existing archetype of a great man, Sir Walter Raleigh, with Esteban. They reason this thinking that “there could only be one Esteban in the world.” This not only increases Esteban’s supremacy over all else in their mind, but it furthers the resemblance of this situation to a monotheistic religion.

The villagers complete the story with a complete renovation of their village. This is all in hopes that in the future they may be associated with him and become known as “Esteban’s village.” This growth shows that they aspire to accommodate men of his size. This shows that they hope that one day they will find a living Esteban, and they may cherish him and call him their own.