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Why the words of Gabriel Garcia Marquez in 100 years of Solitude Need to be read better, especially by European readers

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Without a doubt, one of the more reknowned Nobel Prize winning books of the last 50 years is the classic from Gabriel Garcia Marquez: One Hundred Years of Solitude. It is a mammoth novel set in Latin America but reaching out to European memory (as well), like no other prize winning work from Latin America.

Since FORTRESS EUROPE has again raised its head on the continent of the founders of much of the the last 5 centuries of Latin American history, it is time to ask Europe to rejoin and open itself to settlement and interaction with the rest of the world.

 Europe has created barriers between Latin America, between ex-African colonies, and against Asian peoples and tribes of whatever faith to a great degree in recent years. This is why I ask that readers in Europe of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and his many great works to look at their own history.

Is Europe only ready to take from the rest, like Latin American Magical Realist literature, while still not giving back any more of its wealth, its education and its sciences of peace (not war) to Latin America and the other continents? Whatever happened to real lovers of Latin America, like the Humboldt brothers? It is time for Europeans to reorganize and rescrambled their histories in time and in place to link themselves closer to their older colonies and potentiality of other non-European and future partners on earth.

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  1. How does the novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, transform the history of Latin America?

As revealed in the last few pages of the novel and as clearly emphasized in Monegal's review of CIEN ANOS or One Hundred Years of Solitude , Gabriel Garcia Marquez (like his own fictional author Melquiades) has telescoped time and given it non-linearity. This means that for Monegal, none of the events, histories or personages should be mistaken for real historical figures as described in this work by Marquez. On the other hand, I would certainly be forced to deny this supposed-lack of historicity in One Hundred Years of Solitude, i.e. as revealed by Monegal, because the history of Latin America revealed in Marquez's work is quite authentic as novels go--but with humongous exaggeration mixed with the telescoping or jumbling of time and traditional narrations.

Similar to his later work, The Incredible and Sad Story of Enrindira and Her Soulless Grandmother, Gabriel Garcia Marquez in writing One Hundred Years of Solitude could and would not deny the fact that some of the mechanics of life present in the Greek world of Homer's Ulysses are once again depicted in any number of his supposedly imaginary tales of multicultural Latin America. As a matter of fact, the character for the later Enrindira tale (1973) does, in fact, rise in the form of one of the female character's who was an object of Aureliano's early loves in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Likewise, in both Greek and Biblical times, there were temples of goddesses and families who had condemned their daughters to prostitution. The same has been true in Latin America and elsewhere--before and after the Spanish conquest.


As well, the traditional pagan traditions of a village (father or) mother's sending their daughters to marry or to have sex with the strongest leader in an invading army, i.e. in order to increase the strength "of the breed", is a concept that is likely older than written language. It was certainly once an acceptable custom in certain parts of the world until modern times. On the other hand, that this was always consciously practiced by so many peoples in Latin America as narrated in this tale is questionable (hyperbolic) to some degree. However, in certain parts of every kingdom throughout history, most of the scenes may appear to a distant visitor as being simply filled with hyperbole and verbiage as is normal in reading Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude the first time through.


Meanwhile, the characterizations of the excesses of war, of violence, of rebellions, of revolutions, and families of catholic-conservatism were, in fact, often of an even greater eminent reality in the lives and times of Latin Americans over these last many centuries that a Latin America has existed (post 1492) Further, the ideologies of federalism, liberalism, conservativism, nationalism, regionalism, localism, caudillismo, socialism, anarchy, and communism have played an even more authentic and (conscientiously) ever-present role in Latin Americans over 5 centuries due to the integrative developments and underdevelopment taking place through various colonial and post-colonial trends and invasions.

The story of one family in the town of Macondo, as found in this Nobel prize winning classic of Marquez, is a story that is set in a time period of 100 years and is loaded with strong, determined and inherent examples of caudillismo, hubris, pride, machismo and what-have-you. In many Latin American countries, taking Bolivia and Haiti as examples, there have indeed been turnovers in regime annually or biannually for decades or centuries. This tendency towards ungovernability was encouraged by the early history of enslavement of the Indians and blacks in the Caribbean and Latin American regions. This had incubated in the eras of indentured-servitude and long-term serfdomeven after slavery was banned. This was particularly true among various mestizo cand Indian castes throughout the Americas. Such massive numbers of serfs and slaves made it possible for huge latifundian estates to survive for centuries. Even today, in Mexico, Argentina, Chile, and in Brazil, which have become more industrialized than other LA states, the stratification of society has continued economically through to the present day.

Initially, the Jose Aracadio Buendia family was part-and-parcel of a simple and small migration (or movement) to build a new town (kingdom) separate from the landed conservative state interests within the already heavily claimed borders of an imaginary nation of Marquez. This creation of a town in one's own image and with the correspondingly important sense of control of one's destiny became possible once these internal emigres had moved (or gotten lost) in a swampy frontier, where the isolation from the capital city soon enabled these settlers of the town of Macondo to feel a sense of true independence plus a self-identity-free from crime and official police.

This sudden freedom to plan and develop a town without a central government and with no traditional patriarchs or powerful cauldillos telling the founders what to do was enriching to all the Macondon residents lives. Jose Aracadio Buendia and his fellow travelers, thus, set up the streets of the new community without outsiders or government officials telling them what to do, e.g. there were not magistrates demanding that all the houses or roofs be of the same color as often happened in colonial days. Over hundreds of years this sort of independence had become a vanishing dream for many new settlements (as well as for traditional native Indian settlements) throughout the Americas from the Tierra del Fuego to the Bay of Henry Hudson from the 16th century onwards into the 20th century. Local autonomy was cut down with the growth of nation states and the ideas on centralization of authority

Nonetheless, so-called civilization or nationalism (and even federalism) came to dominate the region eventually. This growth in greater ideologies was followed by decades of strife and disintegration of what had once been a fairly loveable and orderly world in Mascondo's earliest days. In fact, however, such ideals of living out "a wonderful life" or "dolce vita" were always fleeting, as many of these supposedly ideal generations in Latin American history, were actually founded [1] on the back of peasants to work the land of the wealthy, [2] on the backs of Indians who saw their dream worlds eaten up by diseases (and usurpation of public space and lands), and [3] on the shoulders of women and children who were exploited by adults and machismo. Especially, cynical was the treatment (and the divide-and conquer nature) of divisions and peoples into identified castes and classes of pure bloods, mestizos, mulattos, slaves, servants, blacks, bastards of the wealthy, and those various upcoming, falling, and rising groups of sons and daughters with powerful families (and tribes) behind their names.


With such a shared and divided Latin American heaven, it was easy to predict that days of judgment, days of rebellion, hours of revolt, hours of massacres, and decades of war would eventually destroy the differing paradises created and disfigured (by new waves of usurpers of) paradise again and again. Only occasionally did a more humanist approach to life and one's fellow man provide pauses and tolerance to swell in equilibrium. However, often these tranquil pauses ended in crushed hopes for those whose dreamt of better futures. These dreams for some were eventually buried in cemeteries. This is the very stuff that makes up a lot of content and heavy-hearted but humorous background to and in One Hundred Years of Solitude. The novel thus allows us to see a mirror of Latin American history that is not any less clear and inaccurate as the one revealed to us in Gabriel Garcia Marquez' own NOBEL PRIZE acceptance speech.

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KEVIN STODA-has been blessed to have either traveled in or worked in nearly 100 countries on five continents over the past two and a half decades.--He sees himself as a peace educator and have been-- a promoter of good economic and social development--making-him an enemy of my homelands humongous DEFENSE SPENDING and its focus on using weapons to try and solve global (more...)

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