From his father he learned at a very early age the manipulation of firearms, his love for horses, and the mastery of high-flying birds of prey, but from him he also learned the good arts of valor and prudence.
As the narrator describes Santiago Nasar’s life up to the day of his death, he explains the qualities Santiago inherited from his father. In this passage, readers also learn that while Santiago’s parents married for convenience, Santiago enjoyed a happy and loving relationship with both of his parents. Santiago’s life and personality traits paint the picture of a man who does not deserve to be murdered.
By his nature, Santiago Nasar was merry and peaceful, and openhearted.
Here, the narrator describes more qualities of Santiago Nasar’s character. Even though Santiago had to leave school to take over the family ranch after his father’s death, he never complained and always lived as a kind person. Santiago demonstrated these qualities even on the day of his death, as he was likely the only merry and peaceful person in town.
Everything continued smelling of Santiago Nasar that day. The Vicario brothers could smell him in the jail cell where the mayor had locked them up until he could think of something to do with them.
The narrator reveals that after the Vicario brothers murder Santiago Nasar, they cannot get the smell off them even after they wash off his blood, showing their sense of guilt even though they believed they were doing the right thing in killing him. However, since most townspeople liked Santiago and believed him to be honorable, the Vicario brothers seem to now realize they have killed an innocent man.
Santiago Nasar was too haughty to have noticed her: “Your cousin the booby,” he would say to me when he had to mention her.
Here, the narrator explains why many people did not believe Santiago Nasar was actually the person who took Angela Vicario’s virginity. Readers learn that Santiago and Angela were never seen together, and here Santiago makes clear that he’s not attracted to her in the first place. Although Santiago behaved in a kind way and lived as an upstanding citizen, he also possessed an arrogant streak.
Besides, when he finally learned at the last moment that the Vicario brothers were waiting for him to kill him, his reaction was not one of panic, as has so often been said, but rather the bewilderment of innocence.
Here, the narrator recounts how Santiago Nasar is the last to learn of the Vicario brothers’ plan to kill him, and upon realizing their plans, his genuine confusion reveals his innocence. Unfortunately, because Santiago spends too much time wondering if the brothers truly want to kill him, he fails to protect himself in any way, and he dies.