Exploring Gabriel García Márquez’s Epic Masterpiece: One Hundred Years of Solitude

A Study of Marquez’s World Famous Novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude”

Gabriel García Márquez (6 March 1927 – 17 April 2014) was a Nobel Prize-winning author and literary figure. His early childhood years were spent in Aracatá, a small town on the Caribbean coast of Colombia’s northern coast. Here he was brought up as an only child with his Grandfather, Grandmother and three cousins. 

His childhood spent in Grandfather’s house seems to have given birth to his creative world. He attended his first year of high school at the Jesuit school in San Jose. It was at that time that he started publishing poems in magazines. He then received a government scholarship to study at the Liso Nacional de Zipaquira near Bogotá. There he received his bachelor’s degree and began studying law at the National University of Columbia. Marquez’s ambition was to become a writer. In 1947, he published his first short story in Spectre. In 1950 he gave up his law degree to practice journalism. 

He was then a correspondent of the Spectator in Rome and Paris. While working as a journalist, he became familiar with the works of modern writers such as James Justice and Virginia Woolf. In 1957, he reached Caracas, the capital of Venezuela, and worked as a journalist there for about 2 years. In March 1958, he married Mercedes Barcha. They had two children, Rodrigo in 1959 and Gonzalo in 1964. Marquez quickly became famous as a journalist, but it took him a long time to establish himself as a writer. After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, he started working for the Cuban news agency Prensa Latina. From 1959 to 1961, he worked for the Cuban Communications Agency in Havana and New York. Along with journalism, he also wrote film scripts. 

He was banned from entering the country by the US and Colombian governments due to his left-wing ideology. After receiving threats from the CIA, Marquez and his family moved to Mexico City. They made their home in the Aztec lands and spent most of their lives in Bogotá, Cartagena de Indias and Paris. His first story collection, Leaf Storm and Other Stories, was published in 1955: No One Night (1961), To the Colonel and Other Stories and Eyes of a Dog are excellent story collections. His novel Hundred Years of Solitude was first published in Spanish in 1967. It received the Nobel Prize in 1982. He died in Mexico City on 17 April 2014 at the age of 87.

Gabriel Gracia Márquez was one of four Latin American novelists who were first placed in the literary Latin American boom of the 1960s and 1970s. The other three were Mario Vargas Llosa of Peru, Julio Cortázar of Argentina and Carlos Fuentes of Mexico. One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) gave García Márquez international fame as a novelist of the magical realist movement within Latin American literature. The novel was stylistically influenced by modernism (European and North American) and the Cuban vanguardia literary movement. Considered to be García Márquez’s masterpiece, this novel is widely acclaimed and recognized as an important work in world literature.

Reflection on One Hundred Years of Solitude

Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude is a world-famous novel. The author took 18 months to write this novel. The novel became a worldwide bestseller and was translated into more than 50 languages. The novel was first published in Spanish in 1967. This novel is considered Marquez’s unique work of magical realism. This novel is not just a story of a city and its many generations, it actually presents a broad realistic magical narrative of its time and society. 

Through long and interesting stories of cities and generations, the author also presents the story of the existence and destruction of society, country and civilization. The main story of the novel is constantly progressing through sequential stories and subplots, exaggeration, mystery and fantasy. This novel is an interesting story from the rise to the fall of a town called Macondo. The city was founded by Jose Arcadio Buendia and several of his descendants. Along with the city, it has the story of seven generations of the Arcadio family. Based on the story presented in it, 

Marquez is known as a magical realist in world literature. It is such a reality, which comes in a non-conventional form that confronts the reality as interesting, fascinating and many times unbelievable as the stories of generations. In such a story, Marquez creates an ornament and it is unmatched. His style and implicit references have made him the world’s greatest novelist.

In the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude, the epic story of several generations of the Buendia family spans one hundred years. Colonel Aureliano Buendia fights for his society and people against the looting and conspiratorial activities of the big companies involved in the production and trade of bananas. He emerges as a hero and later becomes a dictator himself. Several Latin American countries are an important part of the main plot of this political narrative novel. The story of the city of Macondo, devastated by insomnia, poverty, war and a tropical storm that lasts for nearly five years, brings forward the events of seven generations of the Buendia family. And, Marquez reveals it by making it an ornament of society and civilization. 

Finally, the story unfolds from the mysterious manuscripts of Melquiades. This is the magical reality of Marques, which has more storytelling than any traditional story and where the complexity and dynamism of the ups and downs of society and civilization, struggle and development seem to be intertwined within the story. This epic human saga has many bizarre plot twists, which, while magical and exaggerated, present the reality of their time in an interesting way.

This novel gives information about the Iberian culture, social life and other things connected with it in Portugal and Spain. It also provides information about the character of people, pirates, nomads, etc. in the era of transition from feudalism to mercantile capitalism. It explains how people came from different places to settle in Latin America during the Spanish colonization and how different cultures clashed and mixed. In the same way, the novel also provides information about how the Spanish, English and American colonists dealt with Latin America. One Hundred Years of Solitude is the story of the birth, rise and fall of the fictional city of Macondo. Its most important residents are the Buendía family, whose story of seven generations is intertwined with the city’s rise and fall. It proceeds as a historical narrative saga. 

Like other epic works, this novel has a direct relationship with the historical reality of the people of a particular region. It chronicles the development of Colombia, a Latin American country, from the beginning of the nineteenth century to its independence from Spain (1810-1825). The endless series of civil wars described in the novel is considered to be directly based on the civil war in Colombia from 1855 to 1902, and there are many parallels between the character of Colonel Aureliano and Colonel Rafael Uribe. 

The author’s grandfather fought under their command. Uribe’s struggle ended with the Treaty of Neerlandia in 1902, the novel states. Between 1900 and 1928, the United Fruit Company of Boston took over Columbia. The workers’ struggle against this company reached its climax in October 1928. 32000 labourers went on strike. Later, the government sent troops to quell the protests. This army carried out a massacre at Siege on 5 December 1928.

This novel is not a historical novel. It also warns readers that it is fictional. History is not present here with the chronological accuracy of realist novels, but rather figuratively through a magical cover built from a series of images, myths and miraculous events. Throughout the novel, entertainment, fantasy and reality are mixed with each other and this is a special feature of the novel. One cannot enjoy this novel by refusing to appreciate it or by demanding a more realistic rationale. This style of expressing reality in an entertaining and imaginative way is called magical realism. This novel is a representative example of this. Magical realism is generally associated with Latin America and its natural, geographical, political, and cultural mysteries, and has established its own distinct identity from the more conventional style of realist novels.

Thus the novel Hundred Years of Solitude maintains a dialectical attraction between different dimensions. This novel proceeds in an entertaining and imaginative manner. This book takes up the task of rewriting the history of Latin America, and in the end it tells the reader that it is a fictional structure. Unable to accept traditional realist writing’s reliance on man’s ability to perceive and describe reality, Marquez adopted a style outside of the documentary method of the realist novel. This was called magical realism. 

The novel One Hundred Years of Solitude reveals the extraordinary dimensions of Latin America’s natural environment and the exaggerations of political life. Every event described in the novel, no matter how amazing, has a purely logical explanation. Even though the events presented in the novel did not actually happen, the people there understood and experienced them.

This novel is an illustration of the history of the Buendia family. It illustrates the socio-cultural history of the entire America. It appears in a brief version of the history of human progress. Aiming at developed societies, this novel presents to us a blueprint of the colonial stages of Latin America in a linear progression of history. The novel shows how the Macondo family gradually established French, English and Spanish colonies. Macondo was originally founded by Colonel Buendia with 21 associates, the first generation being patriarchal and it is magic, tuna and mysticism. 

After this society comes in contact with the outside world, the tribal life discipline system is replaced by the colonial rule system. With this, the struggle to maintain the tribal life discipline system and establish colonial rule began, which came to be known as a civil war. This war lasted for twenty years. After a major civil war, a colonial government system of municipalities was established there. Along with this, the technology of the outside world enters here. In which, modern trains, instruments, electricity, gramophones, movies, telephones, etc. come forward as new signs of wealth and development.

When the banana company of North America came here, a historical change took place and Macondo became a special type of colonial center as a symbol of colonial foreign power. Meanwhile, another business group arrives here. Then social conflict is created and along with it comes natural calamities. All these conflicts and situations like natural disasters bring the Macondo family to the last stage of their history. As a symbol of prehistoric society, the entire Macondo enters into historical progress and acquires the status of a sense of artificiality. Prehistoric society evolves into modern society, with well-organized institutions and elaborate mechanisms. Then the question arises whether it is creation or faith. The social geography here is bound by blood relations. Despite being a free family society, loneliness is prevalent in that environment and society. This loneliness eats away at that family and society. 

This is what weaves the story of this novel. It is written free from the interference of history or the interference of history. It is such a society, which is very different from the rest of the world and civilization. This society has reached the depths of its family world but is still in a terrible depression. There is a sadness that runs deep. The source of loneliness in this family is a lack of love. That is why the final result of this novel is love, which was not in this society. A hundred years of solitude ends with this culmination. The last generation of the Buendia family falls in love with it. Even after everything is over, this generation forgets everything and continues to love, which was never possible here before. In addition, this family is freed from all kinds of bonds, seclusion and colonization. After this, both Aureliano and Ursula begin to live in a loving empty world, free from bonds, completely free and loving.

The events of the novel in brief

A man named Jose Arcadio Buendia lived in Colombia. He marries Ursula. Ursula brings a garment that prevents them from having sex for a year. After that, Buendia’s talk starts to be cut in the society. Because of his wife, he is very disgraced. Then one day he goes to his wife with a spear and says – take off your clothes or else I will kill you. Then physical contact is completed between them.

Once while the rooster was playing jousting, Buendia’s friend Prudencio mocked him by telling him that he was a eunuch and had no sex. This insult makes Jose very angry and starts hitting him. During this battle, the man dies. Then the dead man’s spirit wanders and chases Jose. After this Jose runs away with his wife Ursula. After an overnight journey through the jungle, they reach the bank of a river. There Jose has a dream in which he builds a city in that place. He tells Ursula about this dream and then there he builds a city called Macondo. Gradually Macondo becomes a full-fledged city. And seven generations of Jose live there. Buendia lives with his family in Macondo. At first, Macondo had nothing to do with the outside world. And, people were away from technology, etc. Jose was the leader of the people there.

As time passed, Jose and Ursula had many children. Their eldest son was also named Jose, who was strong and serious like his father. But the youngest son Arcadio was very agile, small and ambitious. He used to help his father with his work. There was also a daughter, Amaranta. The rest of the family also had different personalities. Some were eccentric, some were drug addicts and some were calm and patient. The eldest son was of a strange type, with a huge body, a large penis.

Once some gypsies (wanderers) came to Macondo. Then they start coming there often. They show people things of technology like telescopes, ice, magnets, etc. Their leader, Melquades, becomes Jose’s friend. His words were full of mystery. Josh also became interested in solving the mysteries of life. Gradually he stopped meeting people. And, he started reading books on magic, life and death, etc. But one day he became mad.

After Colombia’s independence, a cold war broke out between the Conservative and Liberal parties, the flames of violence reaching Macondo. Aureliano joined the Liberal Party and took an active part in this fight. He became very famous because of the terrible beatings and beatings. Aureliano marries the daughter of the governor of Macondo. Before that, his brother and he had a child from a relationship with Pilar Ternera. Aurelian’s father-in-law, Remedio Muscote, was the governor, but the real power rested in the hands of the Buendialis. As Jose Arcadio grows old, one day he goes mad and disappears. Then the government manoeuvres begin in Macondo. Seeing the trap of the antiquarians in the elections, Oroliano supports the liberals and goes to war with them. After a bloody battle, Oroliano declares himself colonel.

Several governments came and went in Colombia during this period. Arcadio, one of the two children born to Pilar Ternera, takes over the government of Macondo, but he misrules it, and is then assassinated. Due to this, the fight started again. After many years a peace treaty was signed and finally, the war ended. Lost Jose Arcadio comes suddenly one day. He has travelled all over the world. He then marries Rebecca. Amaranta fell in love with musician Pietro Crespi. But when Amaranta gets the chance to get Peter, she lets him go. Peter dies because of this pain.

Many incidents have happened in the meantime. A train arrives at Macondo. The colonel returns to his old profession and one day he too dies, and Amaranta also dies. The beauty of the beautiful Remedios cannot be described, but one day, to the surprise of her sister-in-law, she flies into the sky. Banana cultivation begins in Macondo and José Arcadio Segundo starts working as a laborer. And one day more than three thousand people are killed. From that day on, it rained continuously for four years, eleven months and two days in Macondo. After another ten years of drought, people forget the Buendia family and the death of three thousand people.

Aureliano Segundo and Jose Arcadio also died. Fernanda also dies, as her son Jose Arcadio arrives from Rome finds a bag of gold coins buried by Ursula and starts having fun. But he is also killed. Sometime later, Amaranta Ursula also arrives from Belgium with her husband Gaston. Until then, Aureliano was the only one in the house. He slowly falls in love with Amaranta, but because he cannot tell, he spends most of his time with Negromantas. But one day, suddenly everything is enough to tell Amaranta and the relationship deteriorates. After that, Aureliano Pilar goes to Terneraco and tells him to find out about his future. 

Pilar Ternera knows the entire future of the Buendia family and tells him to go back home, where Amaranta Ursula will be waiting for him. At home, the husband is reading on the one hand, while on the other hand, Aureliano reaches to hold Amaranta. A fight ensues but she does not make a sound and Amaranta becomes pregnant. Meanwhile, Gaston returns to Belgium and keeps in touch only through letters. Aureliano’s four friends also leave the village and gradually become out of touch. But by now Arelliano was fed up with all this. He returned to Macondo and now he only makes goldfish in his house. During all this, he had 17 illegitimate children from different women.

The Buendia family had many deaths and births during the Cold War. There were many love affairs and scandals. Some interesting facts were as follows – Once a girl brought home 72 friends from her boarding school. One girl was so ritualistic that she even celebrated her honeymoon wearing clothes. For her husband, she only made a hole in the cloth near her vagina. Many of the men in that family often went to brothels, etc. Despite all this, he loved his old mistress Ursula very much, who kept the whole family in chains.

Gradually, American capitalists began to notice Macondo. A railway track was laid there and banana cultivation was started on a large scale in the fertile land there. More and more people got jobs from this. But the capitalists used to exploit the labourers a lot. They used to do more work for less money. Also they were not given any facilities. The capitalists built their luxurious colonies on the other side of the river. And, he had a good relationship with the army and the leaders.

Once, all the workers struck together against exploitation. But the army shot and killed thousands of laborers. It is also known as the Banana Massacre, which took place in 1928. All the bodies were thrown into the river. After this incident, it rained continuously for 5 years in Macondo and everything became desolate. The capitalists left. Little by little, Macondo became the same again, as it had been when Jose was there. Once again it was cut off from the outside world and civilization.

Amaranta Ursula gives birth to a wonderful son. Meanwhile, Aureliano continues to search for the source of his origin but does not find it. After bleeding profusely, Amaranta Ursula dies and Aureliano wanders off. When he comes back with the memories of his son, he has died after being eaten by ants. Finally, he was reading an old book, which foretold that one day the entire Buendia family would be destroyed. Also it was written that this cycle of life and death continues in this universe. It means that we have been born many times before and died many times.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *