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One of the fantastic themes of One Hundred Years of Solitude is the insomnia plague thatInsomnia_(Washington_EP)
runs through Macondo. I found this so fascinating because it is a common illness that people experience and yet Marquez takes it and turns it into a fantastic disease that spreads through the town. He also chooses to make the characters feel more productive and even become energized from the plague. This is vastly different from the typical symptoms that we would connect with insomnia and it’s something that makes it so fascinating and gripping. Another interesting choice that Marquez made was to keep the memory loss symptom of insomnia intact, but he accelerated it to a level that is quite fearsome. The method that is created to combat the memory loss is something that we as humans do on a regular basis. We use labels to organize things, but they are also in an odd way used to remember what is contained within. The absurdity of the plague mixed with the normality of the symptoms makes the whole passage seem terrifying. There is a level of connection that Marquez accomplishes by putting in simple descriptions, such as “…not from fatigue but because of the nostalgia for dreams…” (45), are quite brilliant because that is a common theme in people who suffer from insomnia. They have the fatigue, but there is also a wanting to enter a dream world. A world where everything is better. It is tempting to stay awake all the time if one could be highly productive and manage to complete tasks that they may not have had time for with sleep. But Marquez makes the readers take those thoughts and realize that as nice as that may sound, it is not a realistic way of living. The productivity would be useful, but what is lost would be worth more than anything. This choice also plays into the cyclical aspect of the novel because the story starts out with saying that the world was so new that most items did not have names, then as they come into the insomnia plague they have to label items so that they, once again, do not lose their names.

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