magic realism

Topics: Gabriel García Márquez, Latin America, One Hundred Years of Solitude Pages: 10 (2903 words) Published: April 21, 2014
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In my essay I want to talk about Gabriel Garcia Marquez two famous works “One Hundred Years of Solitude” and “Love in the Time of Cholera”. Gabriel García Márquez was born in 1928, in the small town of Aracataca, Colombia. He started his career as a journalist. When One Hundred Years of Solitude was published in his native Spanish in 1967, as Cien años de soledad, García Márquez achieved true international fame; he went on to receive the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. One Hundred Years of Solitude is perhaps the most important, and the most widely read, text to emerge from that period. It is also a central and pioneering work in the movement that has become known as magical realism, which was characterized by the dreamlike and fantastic elements woven into the fabric of its fiction. Even as it draws from García Márquez’s provincial experiences, One Hundred Years of Solitude also reflects political ideas that apply to Latin America as a whole. Latin America once had a thriving population of native Aztecs and Incas (of the many complex civilizations to arise in the ancient Americas, the Aztecs, the last ancient Mexican civilization, known for their huge city-on-a-lake of Tenochtitlan and for the practice of mass human sacrifice; and the Incas of Peru, whose rigid state structure and many golden treasures so amazed the Spanish invaders.) but, slowly, as European explorers arrived, the native population had to adjust to the technology and capitalism that the outsiders brought with them. In addition to mirroring this early virginal stage of Latin America’s growth, One Hundred Years of Solitude reflects the current political status of various Latin American countries. Just as Macondo undergoes frequent changes in government, Latin American nations, too, seem unable to produce governments that are both stable and organized. The various dictatorships that come into power throughout the course of One Hundred Years of Solitude, for example, mirror dictatorships that have ruled in Nicaragua, Panama, and Cuba. One Hundred Years of Solitude is the history of the isolated town of Macondo and of the family who founds it, the Buendías. For years, the town has no contact with the outside world, except for gypsies who occasionally visit, peddling technologies like ice and telescopes. The patriarch of the family, José Arcadio Buendía, is impulsive and inquisitive. He remains a leader who is also deeply solitary, alienating himself from other men in his obsessive investigations into mysterious matters. These character traits are inherited by his descendents throughout the novel. His older child, José Arcadio, inherits his vast physical strength and his impetuousness. His younger child, Aureliano, inherits his intense, enigmatic focus. Gradually, the village loses its innocent, solitary state when it establishes contact with other towns in the region. Civil wars begin, bringing violence and death to peaceful Macondo, which, previously, had experienced neither, and Aureliano becomes the leader of the Liberal rebels, achieving fame as Colonel Aureliano Buendía. Macondo changes from an idyllic, magical, and sheltered place to a town irrevocably connected to the outside world through the notoriety of Colonel Buendía. Macondo’s governments change several times during and after the war. At one point, Arcadio, the cruelest of the Buendías, rules dictatorially and is eventually shot by a firing squad. Later, a mayor is appointed, and his reign is peaceful until another civil uprising has him killed. After his death, the civil war ends with the signing of a peace treaty. More than a century goes by over the course of the book, and so most of the events that García Márquez describes are the major turning points in the lives of the Buendías: births, deaths, marriages, love affairs. Some of the Buendía men are wild and sexually rapacious, frequenting brothels and taking lovers. Others are quiet and solitary, preferring to...
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