The most prevent stereotype derived from Latin American literature is the despotic female, who is able to control and rule her household. To some degree, this portrayal is often supported by other stereotypes; for example, one can speak about female slaves and housekeepers. Gabriel García Márquez explores these images in his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. Females of Macondo remain exceptionally domestic in one way or another.
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Many of them are mostly limited to the status of sexual objects or housekeepers. Nevertheless, they can exercise control over the domestic realm. In this essay, I will discuss the way in which Marquez portrays female characters with the help of stereotypes that reflect the role of women in Colombia. The fictional town of Macondo is governed by the gender roles established in the society. In turn, Marquez depicts a community that is proportionately dominated by women and men.
The novel presents female characters who are usually less educated than males; this is why women is primarily supposed to perform her household chores. Moreover, their opinions are not usually taken into consideration by men For instance, Ursula is the first woman that readers interact with when they read the novel. He tries to prevent her husband from purchasing gadgets from gypsies. However, her arguments are disregarded.
The author depicts women as people who are confined to domestic chores. At some point, the author shows that Ursula can assist her husband to accomplish some tasks. For instance, they are responsible for keeping the family budget. In this way, the writer shows that women were also useful in performing important duties in Macondo. Ursula is described as a person who cannot neglect her household duties. Moreover, the role of mother is an inseparable part of her identity.
This is why she says, “we have the right to pull down your pants and give you a whipping at the first sign of disrespect” (Márquez 162). In fact, she tells Colonel Aureliano that, as long as she lives, she will be a great source of inspiration to her children. The assertion implies that women have the power and influence in the community.
While Ursula can influence the life of the household, Santa Sofia is described as a more subordinate figure. Unlike Ursula, who can express her opinions about different issues, Santa Sofia does not try to influence the decisions of males. One can say that she is very dutiful to everyone. She is a hardworking woman who aims at serving everyone in the household, including Fernanda. The fact that she often sleeps on a mat in the kitchen indicates that she is a very submissive person.
In fact, the author describes the character as a person who ” never seemed bothered by that lowly position”( Márquez 358). She is also shown as a sacrificing person who refuses to enjoy comfort for the sake of children who are not hers. Ursula dies at the age of 130. Unfortunately, Santa Sofia is unable to perform her duties and she leaves the family.
On the whole, the oppression of women is a part of the daily live in Macondo. Nevertheless, women are critical for the functioning of households. Thus, in this novel, the author shows how gender roles are negotiated. Yet, this negotiation usually leads to the victimization of women.
Marquez, Gabriel. Gabriel Garcia Marquez Ebook Library, London: Penguin UK, 2014. Print.