What Is the Theme of "The Handsomest Drowned Man?"

The theme of the short story "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" is the power of an outside force to turn narrow dreams into grand, spectacular imaginings. "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" was written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and published in 1968.

In the story, a drowned man washes onto the beach of a desolate fishing village. The man is more beautiful and taller than any the villagers have ever seen. They name the man Esteban and decide to hold a funeral for him. His mystical presence makes the villagers desire to make their homes and land more beautiful to match the beauty they see in him.

The story is an example of magical realism, a style Gabriel Garcia Marquez used in "Love in the Time of Cholera" and many of his other stories.