100 Years of Solitude Key Passage - Pages 1 to 5

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The passage under consideration is from the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez pages 1 - 5 beginning with “Many years later...” and concluding with “...the laboratory of an alchemist”. Gabriel García Márquez was born in 1927 in Colombia, Spain the shared setting of this world famous novel (The Modern World). The extract begins as a flashback with Colonel Aureliano Buendía recollecting the years immediately following the founding of Macondo. José Arcadio Buendía, the founder of the town, is obsessed with the ‘magical’ devices brought to the isolated village by a band of gypsies. Making use of the supplies given to him by the leader of the gypsies, Melquíades, he becomes immersed within his scientific studies, frustrating his more practical wife, Úrsula Iguarán. As this extract is contained within the introduction of the novel, it plays an important role as it establishes the essential theme of time, marking the beginning of the one hundred years to which the title refers. This is achieved through the use of key ideas and stylistic features of Marquez’s writing, such as metaphor and symbolism of major characters and foreshadowing of events, aiding the reader’s understanding of the forthcoming tale.

Marquez introduces the setting of the village of Macondo with,

“At that time Macondo was a village of twenty adobe houses, built on the bank of a river of clear water that ran along a bed of polished stones, which were white and enormous, like prehistoric eggs. The world was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point (Márquez, p1).”

This quotation is found in the very first page of the novel, establishing Macondo as an Eden-like village by recalling the biblical tale of Adam naming the plants and animals. The representation of José Arcadio Buendía and Úrsula Iguarán as Adam and Eve, who were exiled from the Garden of Eden after eating from the Tree of Knowledge, emphasises this...
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