According to the “Crimes of Passion” article by Besse men were legally allowed to kill his adulterous wife along with her suitor, but it was generally accepted and unquestioned that husbands would cheat without repercussions. Gabriela exemplified the frequency in which these crimes occurred and the nonchalant attitude in both men and women at the murderous situation. One of the elements that Besse mentions that is relatively absent in the movie is the influence of the media. Newspapers that advertised these “crimes of passion” on the front page not only horrified, but glorified the killings. The media, similar to today, has the ability to take a shocking story and repeat it to the point of deadening the shock humans experience when they first read/hear it. This article claims that women killed in 1919 was one every 12 hours and by 1924, one every half hour. Perhaps it was the influx of urban-industrial force that weakened the family unit by both men and women working longer hours. Caulfield describes the police journals as “virtually every aspect of police activity… discussed in term of the need to protect ‘the family’ ” (146).
In Gabriela this idea of the family unit weakening is seen when Nacib works longer hours at the bar/restaurant because of the business increasing. In turn, Gabriela seeks attention from Nacib’s best friend. What’s weird to me is that Nacib didn’t kill the Gabriela or Tonico. What does that implement, state about Nacib, as both a male and as a representative of Brazil? Or better yet what does that say about Gabriela as a transition in the Brazilian society? Caulfield describes poor women in the “Women Getting into Trouble” article as women that “reject womanhood altogether, escaping their families by disguising themselves as men and taking to the streets.” Maybe Nacib doesn’t kill Gabriela because he took the risk marrying a girl with virtually no class: she had no birth date, knowledge of family, background, etc. Plus, hanging around a bar in scantily clothing would still cause attention from men regardless of her married status. In fact, they probably took that status less seriously because of her lacking identity.
Gabriela represented a larger picture of the gendered contradictions and limitations in the Latin American society in the 20th century. One of Caulfield’s sources says that “women’s cranial formation or menstrual cycles predisposed them to degeneracy more frequently than men” (148). Or basically, that their ignorance and emotional state of being caused infidelity resulting in crime. The fact that Nacib didn’t kill Gabriela or Tonica shifts the paradigm of Latin American men being rightful in replacing a crime with crime. I think he realized how absent he was from their marriage because of his work, and he limited her social actions to his group of friends (he being of the upper middle-class on the periphery of upper class and in the know regarding politics, scandal, and gossip). Even though I don’t necessarily agree with sex being the all-fix band-aid, I did like how the reputation of Latino men changed.