Tuesday, March 2, 2010

reading it over one hundred times before it makes sense

This is my second attempt reading One Hundred Years of Solitude. I unfortunately fall into the category of people who started to read the story and only got three quarters of the way through it. I stopped reading it not because I didn’t enjoy it, but because everything I thought I understood about the storyline and the characters was starting to contradict itself. Better to try it another time. Little did I know I would get my chance half a year later. Luckily my wikipedia project is on this realism novel, so I have had no choice but to do some pre-reading research. With a not yet extensive collection of research and background information the revolutionary work is no longer all Greek to me. There is still so much I do find confusing. I think Marquez makes a point in the confusion and the duality in the story because if reflects the characters attempt to establish a home in Macondo. Everything is unknown to the charactes and the author creates a similar atmosphere and feeling for the reader. This connection is important because it draws a closer relationship between the characters and the readers who have become adventures along side the characters of the story. The purpose of this base, the development of a relationship between the characters and the reader, draws to the realism in the novel that is juxtaposed by all the magical elements. Jose Buendia begins to immerse himself in the archives of invention and modernization. It almost seems as if he rbegins to lose his sense of self and purpose, the reason why he first established himself in Macondo. I small part of me sees this to have great ambiguity because while surrounded by discovery, invention, and redefinition, Jose slows down the time and the development of Macondo. The necessary work that needs to be done around the house and the cultivation of the land is ignored. The fundamental and practical necessities in establishing a new settlement are put on pause and therefore there is a back track in advancement contrary to forward motion. The second generation, Buendia’s children are able to represent a greater sense of self and identity, but the static and security of home and family is again faltered by the arrival of the nomadic gypsy women. These women display characteristics of freedom but freedom at the price of a loss in duty and the entrapment of obsession. The relationships and affairs between the characters begin to get kinda twisted and weird. At first all I could think about is how messed up it all is. However, there is a greater meaning, or at least I’m sure that has to be. The more I read the more I hope to make sense of it all. I really am enjoying the book a second time…. Perhaps this time because I have a better understanding or at least I think I do  I’ll be in class tomorrow just waiting to hear what the actual reasoning is!


  1. Hey Laura,
    I agree with your thoughts that the novel turns the readers into adventurers as well, as we are also discovering the world of Macondo at the same pace as the characters are, and I think this is probably done by all the detailed descriptions that Marquez includes in all the discoveries and places Jose Buendia or Melquiades goes to.
    Also, as with most Spanish literature, I also think that this novel is kinda hard to understand, mainly because we have no idea if what is written is actually what they mean. Hmm.. I guess this is one reason for why we study literature, as opposed to just reading :)

  2. Yes, I think you make a good point when you say that the book has a lot to say about home or about making a home. Indeed, we'll see that the physical house occupied by the Buendía family is an almost constant presence. Different members of the family occupy it in different ways, and make it habitable or (sometimes) inhabitable. Of course, home is about more than simply houses, but we'll see the importance of the town's physical infrastructure as time goes on.

  3. I also thought it was interesting how you pointed out the fact that Marques perhaps wants the reader to feel a bit lost on their path to discovery (aka understanding this extremely complicated novel!) to reflect how the settlers of Macondo felt when first creating the town, and also how the townspeople feel as Macondo evolves and changes as time passes. This relates to the theme we talked about in class, about how Marques is well aware of the fact that he is writing a novel, and reflects this in his writing. Hopefully that makes sense, I wasn't quite sure how to word that last part =P

  4. I also liked what you had to say regarding the feelings of alienation that the Buendia's had when founding Macondo and how Garcia Marquez has been able to transpose that feeling onto the audience. I think that those feelings of alienation, as felt by both the characters and the readers, are intentional throughout the novel, hence the title One Hundred Years of Solitude. I find it interesting, too, that Marquez has found a way to make his audience feel as though they are almost a part of the story through the lost feelings that the story creates.