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One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez Essay (Book Review)


Marquez’s work titled “One Hundred Years of Solitude” gives an account of Buendías family, who found the isolated town of Macondo (McMurray 113). For days, the township did not get in touch with the outside world, apart from gypsies who passed by, at times, selling goodies like telescopes and ice.

The founder of the family unit, José Arcadio Buendía, was curious and inquisitive. He was, also, a head, who was extremely introverted, as he separated himself, from other people, in his obsessive inquiry into mystifying affairs (Márquez 5). Buendía’s character traits get passed on to his offspring throughout the novel. Aureliano, his younger child, inherit his extreme, mysterious focus. José Arcadio, his oldest child, inherit his physical might and impetuousness.

Ahead of establishing contacts with neighboring towns, Macondo loses its innocent state. Civil warfare begins, bringing bloodshed and fatality to calm Macondo, which, formerly, had experienced neither of them, and Aureliano becomes the head of the broadminded rebels, attaining distinction as Colonel Aureliano Buendía.

Also, Macondo changes to a township permanently linked to the outside humanity through the disgrace of Colonel Buendía, during and after the warfare (Wood 7). At one point, Arcadio rules authoritatively and finally becomes shot by gun men. Later on, a mayor gets chosen, and his supremacy remains calm until another civil rebellion gets him killed. The civil warfare ends with the signing of a peaceful accord, subsequent to the demise of Arcadio.

Marquez’s work, in the novel, is realistic in spite of its magical and fantasy aspects. The novel covers the happenings of a whole century. Hence, much of her work revolves around the actual events, such as, work, births, deaths and marriages of the Buendía lineage.

Marquez does not shy away from the portrayal of sex and brutality, although she is a woman. She portrays a number of the Buendía men as sexually promiscuous, through explaining how they frequent brothels (Márquez 198). Other men get portrayed as brutal and introverted. Such men apt to stay indoors, as they make minute golden fish (Márquez 199).

Besides, Marquez portrays the sexual promiscuity of ladies through Meme, who once takes home seventy-two of her friends from boarding school, and Fernanda Del Carpio, who get dressed in a unique nightdress with a hole at the crotch, when she consummates her matrimony with her spouse (Wood 34).

Marquez, also, tackles social and political matters with confidence. She explains the exceptional realism of a Latin America that became trapped between industrialism and modernity, and, also, devastated by civil war and imperialism.

In this setting, what might or else appear unbelievable begins to appear real both to the author and to the reader. Marquez explains how her homeland saw a mass execution much like the mass murder of the employees in Macondo. The mass murder of the employees occurred after capitalism penetrated Macondo.

The Americans established a banana plantation, in Macondo, and constructed fenced settlements, inside the plantation. Americans possessed the land of the community and further, exploited workers, who provided labor in the plantation (Márquez 79). As a result, the banana plantation workers decided to put their tools down (Márquez 82). Many of them were mass executed by the army, which sided with the Americans, who owned the plantation.

This incidence demonstrates that Márquez does fear to expose the mistreatment of the Macondo people by the Americans. Besides, Márquez portrays the image of a family through Ursula Iguarán. Ursula Iguarán works loyally to keep the family unit as one regardless of its differences. However, the the Buendía family, as well as, the entire town of Macondo becomes influenced by modernity, which disregards some moral aspects, such as marriage.

Also, García Márquez’s reconstructs and confines horror and beauty of the country, using her encounters in Latin America, into the novel (McMurray 115). Hence, the novel blends indigenous Latin American fairy tale and real happening to create a novel with a sense of real life. Also, the novel is receptive to the fascination that religion and myths inculcate into the globe.

Thus, Márquez’s work is realistic because it stresses on unity between fantasies and the truth. For instance, she argues that magic is real and powerful, which is a common belief among most people. Hence, she tells people what rhymes with their existing knowledge. Thus, the general tendency of the narrative is factual, with events represented candidly, as if they occurred.

The novel One Hundred Years of Solitude include both modernity and tradition. Modern expertise and culture, together with the capitalism linked with them, often weaken Macondo “the entry of the train reduces the town to mayhem” (McMurray 115). Thus, modernity drivers are shocking, to the Buendía relatives and the entire Macondo society (Wood 78).

Tradition, in García Márquez’s work, becomes seen as a source of wisdom and comfort, and, also, a basis of the narrative’s formal inspiration. Marquez work has an immense impact to the native Latin American folkloric and legendary civilization. However, the partition amid modernity and tradition is not fairly easy.

For example, the ethical policies assumed by the narrative’s most esteemed characters are not traditional standards but are rather quite progressive. For example, Aureliano Segundo receives an incentive for having an affair with Petra Cotes, outside matrimony (Wood 78). Conservative Catholicism becomes regarded as oppressive, as the narrative’s own account of modern moral codes reigns.

Lastly, certain elements of the novel’s plot become related to the Bible. The novel begins with two characters in an unsophisticated region of the globe, a globe so novel that several items do not have names for identification. These Characters can be compared to Eve and Adam, in the Bible, since they represent descendants who fill the earth and introduce pain and death, in the world (Márquez 37). When the monstrous mass murder occurs, in which three thousand people lose their lives, the region experiences rain for almost half a decade.

This demonstrates purification of the world using water, similar to the event of Noah, in the Bible, when God sent water to cleanse the earth. Also, the novel ends with massive destruction of the world. The community becomes introverted and secluded, again (Márquez 412). The small number of existing Buendía kin members turns in upon themselves incestuously, separated from the outside humanity and destined to an introverted ending.

In addition to the aforementioned elements of the plot, stylistic traits of the work make the book act in a manner that can be compared to the Bible (McMurray 114). Buendía, in the last part of the novel, interprets a set of prehistoric prophecies and discovers that all the happenings became prophesied.

The prophecy said that life of the community and its residents became predetermined. Similarly, Melquíades predicts the whole course of happenings, although the difference between Melquíades’ prophesies and the real text, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is unclear (McMurray 114). From this perspective, the narrative resembles the Bible, which is a book of prophesies. However, prophesies of the novel do not essentially work for the inhabitants of Macondo as the Bible does for persons who read it.

This is because the novel seems to be indistinguishable with Melquíades’ prophesies, which became written in Sanskrit language. Hence, persons who live in Macondo cannot use Melquíades’ prophesies to forecast events in the future, as Márquez’s work is accessible only to Aureliano, who decodes the work. Hence, when weighed against Biblical prophesies, prophesies in the novel are unattainable to persons who require them most.

In conclusion, Marquez’s work, in the novel, is realistic in spite of its magical and fantasy aspects. The general tendency of the narrative is factual, with events represented candidly, as if they occurred. Besides, the novel embraces both modernity and tradition. Tradition, in García Márquez’s work, is a source of wisdom and comfort, as well as, a source of motivation for the work.

Lastly, several elements in the novel can be related to the Bible. For instance, the two characters at the start of the novel, similar to Eve and Adam, represent descendants who fill the earth and introduce pain and death, in the world. Also, the novel contains some prophecies, thus, resembling the Bible, which is a book of prophesies. Márquez’s novel, to suffice it all, can be argued from different perspectives.

Works Cited

Márquez, García. One Hundred Years of Solitude, London: HarperCollins, 1967.Print.

McMurray, George. Critical Essays on Gabriel García Márquez, Boston: Hall & Company, 1987.Print.

Wood, Michael. Gabriel García Márquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990.Print.

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IvyPanda. (2018, November 8). One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Retrieved from https://ivypanda.com/essays/one-hundred-years-of-solitude-by-gabriel-garcia-marquez/

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"One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez." IvyPanda, 8 Nov. 2018, ivypanda.com/essays/one-hundred-years-of-solitude-by-gabriel-garcia-marquez/.

1. IvyPanda. "One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez." November 8, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/one-hundred-years-of-solitude-by-gabriel-garcia-marquez/.


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IvyPanda. "One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez." November 8, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/one-hundred-years-of-solitude-by-gabriel-garcia-marquez/.

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IvyPanda. 2018. "One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez." November 8, 2018. https://ivypanda.com/essays/one-hundred-years-of-solitude-by-gabriel-garcia-marquez/.

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IvyPanda. (2018) 'One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez'. 8 November.

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