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Characters that Inhabit Fantastical Elements 

One confusing element of this story is the fact that the characters have the same names and not only that, the characters have the same personality traits as the person they are named after. Though this is confusing it brings forth an interesting idea that there is no individual identity and that we as people are just like our ancestors from the previous generation. Garcia Marquez is playing with this idea that history will repeat itself, not only in society as a whole but also in families. We as the readers understand this idea because the characters continue to do the same actions done before by other family members and they make the same mistakes that it is made by their elders before them.

Melquiades haunts the family because “he could not bear the solitude of death,” which is a powerful statement about the loneliness that encompasses death.

Father Nicanor talks about “undeniable proof of the infinite power of God” because of the experiences of “levitation by means of chocolate.” Though this appears to seem quite child-like in the idea of God being undeniable because he allows you to levitate through chocolate, religious leaders, particularly Christian missionaries say similar things in colonized countries in order to gain followers.

Jose Arcadio Buendia ability to “increase his weight at will” while under the chestnut tree reminds me of the story of Sampson gaining enough strength to tear down the pillars before he died.

Ursula Iguaran who eventually loses her eyesight realizes through her inability to see that “the truths that her busy life in former times had prevented her from seeing.” This idea is similar to the idea that people are often busy with their lives that they neglect to appreciate the small things until they no longer have those small things anymore. By using her loss of vision as a way to realize what she neglected to appreciate, the readers are able to better comprehend the gravity of loss, not just through death, but in disability and the various ways, loss occurs throughout life.

Magical Realism 

This story also is framed with magical realism, which is the idea of using real, visible elements in the world and integrating it with fantasy elements. This idea allows people who are in isolated places to better understand various realities. Gabriel Garcia Marquez does this in One Hundred Years of Solitude by telling the history of Macondo through the eyes of the people who founded the city as well as the people who lived within the colonized city. By using magical realism Gabriel Garcia Marquez is no longer restrained by the typical literary functions of a novel like linear time structure. Because of the magical elements in the story, Garcia Marquez is able to talk about the events played out in the story in such a matter-of-fact tone that it makes it almost believable to the reader, which is what makes this novel so fantastic and intriguing.

One of my favorite parts of the story was when the people of Macondo were suffering from insomnia. This part of the story is an example of how Garcia Marquez uses a real-world problem, but instead of focusing on what we normally focus on when thinking of insomnia, he focuses on “its inexorable evolution toward a more critical manifestation: a loss of memory.” This is something that we as humans don’t think about when suffering from insomnia, but Garcia Marquez talks about in the context of the people who are suffering from it in Macondo as if this almost a mental illness that infects the memory part of the brain, which in some ways it does; he takes this real-world thing and dramatizes it into the fantastic that we often neglect to think about.


Time is considered one of the key ways that he plays with this idea of history and a person’s perception of history in the first sentence. History is usually written by the people who have the privilege of telling it. In the story, Gabriel Garcia Marquez distinguishes that those who tell the story may get it wrong. For example, when Jose Arcadio Buendia talks about ice being “the great invention of our time” this, of course, is not true because ice was not invented by humans or any living thing, but because of the setting of the story, Jose Arcadio Buendia perceives it to be an invention. Basically, he is saying that the way in which we perceive what we see and what we remember can be fantasy, but appear to be real to an individual.

“Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice.”  This sentence alone is fantastic because it shows the past, present, and future in one single sentence breaking the laws of linear narratives in literature. He does this many times throughout the book by starting off many sentences with, “Many years later” or “years later”. 

The story that Melquiades writes in Sanskrit on the parchment paper is not written: “in the order of man’s conventional time, but had concentrated a century of daily episodes in such a way that they coexisted in one instant.” Not only does this particular story on the parchment papers defy “the order of man’s conventional time” it is also the way in which One Hundred Years of Solitude is told throughout the story which is realistic in the way that we remember memories.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez also goes further by normalizing violence, which often happens in colonized countries. He does in his description of the electrified fence that is around the banana’s company’s compound and the assassins that shoot at 3,000 people. This idea is possibly influenced by the Banana Massacre which occurred in Garcia Marquez’s town when he was only six years old. If you think about the fact that Colonel Aureliano was a young boy when these events such as seeing ice, magnets, and flying carpets, the entire story is about how he coped with this history and his own understanding of the history of Macondo.This leads to an understanding of how Garcia Marquez took the history that he experienced during the Banana Massacre and he used that to tell the story of a fictional made up town that goes through similar things, but the history, memories, and nostalgia of it all are not remembered in the linear format that stories often portray. This allows the story to be more realistic and brings forth the fantastic elements to make us as readers believe in the town of Macondo and the events that took place before its downfall. 

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