100 Years of Solitude Essay

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100 Years of Solitude

"…Races condemned to 100 years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth."  These powerful last words of the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude ring spot on.  The book demonstrates through many examples that human beings cannot exist in isolation.  People must be interdependent in order for the race to stay alive.

            Examples are found of solitude throughout the one-hundred-year life of Macondo and the Buendia family.  It is both emotional and physical solitude.  It is shown geographically, romantically, and individually. It always seems to be the intent of the characters to remain alone, but they have no control over it.  To be alone, and forgotten, is their destiny.

            The novel begins with geographic isolation.  Jose Arcadio Buendia shouts, "God damn it!  Macondo is surrounded by water on all sides!"  Whether it is, in truth, an island is irrelevant.  The town believed itself to be cut off from the rest of the world.   In addition, Jose Arcadio Buendia and Ursula are looking for solitude.  The founding of Macondo was a result of escaping Jose Arcadio Buendia's murder of Prudencio Aguilar.  Aguilar's ghost haunted them, eventually forcing them to retreat. 

            The family remains very involved within itself.  Much of this is Spanish culture.  In Spanish-speaking countries, it is not uncommon to find many generations of the same family living under one roof.  The Buendia house always has various relatives within it.  Yet, this is not the only explanation.  The incest of the family is a theme throughout the novel, and is a significant factor in the solitude of this family.  If a family rarely turns to others to branch out, it eventually becomes completely turned in upon itself: secluded and detached. 

            Occasionally, the family poisoned with the fate of solitude does reach out.  Those who interact with this family share in its unfortunate fate.  Firstly, Pilar Ternera, the...
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