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Tuesday, September 04, 2007

blunder in gabriel garcia marquez’ i only came to use the phone

In the terrifying story I Only Came to Use the Phone, a philosophical question emerged: is it the husband or the wife who was at fault?
Personal bias served as the main conflict in the story. With this, I mean that an individual’s biased opinion regarding another individual could lead to the development of an incorrect judgment, which then creates an error in opinion. Using this as basis, I think it is Maria’s husband and not she who was guilty of Maria’s subsequent, mad-like decision never to leave the mental hospital. He had a biased opinion against his wife, which led to his error in opinion and judgment.
Maria’s husband was biased against her actions since the very beginning. When Maria failed to return home, he immediately concluded she had left again as she had previously done to him as well as to other men before him. He was at fault since he did not even thought that she must have met some trouble along the road, which indeed was what happened when her car broke down in the Monegros Desert. Instead of worrying about a possible disaster that must have befallen her, he believed that she just ran off with a new man. When Maria finally got the chance to contact her husband for her real condition and whereabouts, he went to the mental hospital and spoke to the doctor, who confessed that Maria had a mental illness. Here, the husband again wrongly assumed that there must be some truth since Maria was behaving rather oddly. Upon deciding that she should stay longer in the hospital instead of being freed, he had judged against his wife.
Our idea of truth gets distorted because of the human error of personal bias. Our distance from truth even contributes to this distortion, because we can only approximate truth but never reach it. As a result of this farness and personal subjectivity, we have different ways of seeing truth. Maria says the truth that she was not crazy, but her husband has his own brand of truth based on the accounts in which Maria manifested her seeming madness.
This is a flaw on the husband’s part because his manner of philosophy was lazy and incomplete. He philosophized lazily because he believed truth to come only from an authority, such as the mental hospital expert. Against the truth of a professional, that of Maria’s would not carry weight, so her husband wrongly assumed she was crazy. Also, he philosophized incompletely because he did not consider all sides of possibilities. Her past actions made him believe she had ran off again, while it was possible too that she might have met some trouble along the way. He did not even see through her enraged protestations when she could not convince him that she was not crazy. Instead, he decided that her agitated behavior was characteristic of the mental illness she was suffering from.
Being at fault, the husband has caused the ruin of Maria’s life when she decided to stay in the mental hospital as a result of his error in opinion and judgment. It may be seen as a devastating decision on the part of Maria, but it may actually be a right one, especially that no one believed the truth about her sound mentality.


  1. Anonymous5:03 PM

    i have not read the story but it sounds like she was a victim of her past.

  2. Hey, I am writing a post about this story too. But I can't find a link to read it online. Do you know where I can find it?
    Thank you so much.

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