One Hundred Years

There is always at least one student fascinated with One Hundred Years of Solitude. Today one such student said that in this novel, the characters are impelled to act according to a series of paradigms, with which they work but which they do not control. The containing and shaping influence of these paradigms does not give the desired results or indeed, any desirable results. The repetition of paradigmatic acts holds the characters together while at the same time isolating each.

The novel ends with a kind of return to its beginning. Ursula Iguarán’s fear that too many incestuous unions will cause the family to produce a child with a pig’s tail is realized. Yet at the same time the curse upon the family, if one wishes to call it that, is lifted. The tribe which was condemned to a hundred years of solitude, will not have a second opportunity on earth.

That is what the student said. And there is much to say about this novel, and much has been said. I myself have said a great deal on occasion. And yet in the end, I never really know what to do with this text.

As my student spoke today, I found myself thinking of Tarot cards. I saw the strongest characters accepting their cards, writing their roles large, and fulfilling them.

Axé.

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8 Comments

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8 responses to “One Hundred Years

  1. luisa

    there is always someone in my life fascination with one hundrend years of solitude as well. i have never read it (:cero spits coffee at computer screen:). i have read chonicles of a death foretold and in evil hour, so can can understand the fascination.

    some people go to columbia just to hang out in the little towns the books are based off of. they want to hunt down marquez and ask him a load of questions. now, that’s obsession.

  2. Like luisa, I’ve never managed one hundred years of solitude either, is it understandable and forgivable to say that although I have tried to chomp through the pages more than a few times — and have learned to appreciate this fact as something of value?

    Thanks for the references to the Tarot. You’ve reminded me of this book:
    Italo Calvino’s “The Castle of Crossed Destinies”:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Castle_of_Crossed_Destinies

  3. Somewhere in a box I have a copy of a very good essay by Walter Mignolo about how he teaches 100 years of solitude. I’ll see if I can dig it out, or look it up at the library.
    That’s a perceptive student!

  4. OK, it’s in the obvious place: the MLA guide book to teaching 100 yrs of solitude. See my latest entry for the history of the word “duh!”
    Mignolo, Walter D.
    Title: One Hundred Years of Solitude in Latin American Literature Courses
    Publication Details: In (pp. 69-78) Valdés, María Elena de (ed.); Valdés, Mario J. (ed.) , Approaches to Teaching García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. New York: Mod. Lang. Assn. of Amer., 1990. x, 156 pp.. .
    Series Information: ( New York: )
    Series ISSN:

    Publication Year: 1990
    Publication Type: book article
    Language of Publication: English
    Subjects:

  5. chasingmoksha

    I have the book that is about it. I just recently read after following a string of articles from a Jane Austen site that One Hundred Years is considered unfilmable. I have read Marquez’ short story, oh I cannot think of the name now, it is about a couple who find an “angel” in their chicken coop and they charge money for the town to view him. Yet he begins to die because he is kept in the coop. Only when they start to really love him and not just his earning potential he gets well. I think the wife or maybe the husband sets him free.

    I also had to peer review a paper on “Love in the Time of Cholera.” I read that paper so many times that I feel like I read the book.

  6. I love the way this stuff ZOOMS right over my head. But I’ll keep reading.

  7. Kanna

    Hi,

    I’m discussing One Hundred Years of Solitude with my book club this week and I was wondering what are some essential themes in the books. What kind of food should I associate with the book? etc…

    Kanna, thank you for your inquiry, but this site is not an academic advice service. There is ample information on this novel on the Internet and in libraries. Use your research skills, look up recipes from the region where it is set, etc. –Z

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