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Characters that Inhabit Fantastical Elements 

There are a couple of confusing elements in this story.  First, the characters have the same names.  Secondly, 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 the 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 repeat the very same actions and make the very same mistakes that their family members have previously done in the past .

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 the “undeniable proof of the infinite power of God” because of the experiences of “levitation by means of chocolate.” Since Father Nicanor believes that God’s presence is undeniable due to chocolate levitation, this appears to be a child-like thought.  Religious leaders, particularly Christian missionaries have said  similar things to gain followers in colonized countries.

Ursula Iguaran realizes her inability to see “the truths that her busy life in former times had prevented her from seeing,”  after she loses her eyesight. This idea is similar to the idea that people are often so busy with their lives so much so, that they neglect to appreciate the small things until they no longer have those small things. 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 

The story is also 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. By using the magical elements in the story, Garcia Marquez is able to talk about the events played out in such a matter, 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.  However,  instead of focusing on what we normally focus on when thinking of insomnia, Garcia Marquez 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.  Garcia Marquez talks about the people in Macondo who are suffering from lack of memories.  He takes this real-world problem and dramatizes it into the fantastic that we often neglect to think about.


Time is considered one of the key ways that Garcia Marquez plays with the idea of history and a person’s perception of history in the first sentence of the book. History is usually written by the people who have the privilege of telling it. In this story, 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 simply because ice was not invented by humans or any living thing. However, 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 can 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.”

Melquiades writes a story in Sanskrit on parchment paper that 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 part of the story defy “man’s conventional time,” but 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. This part of the story as well as the rest of the book relates back to how we often remember events from our past.


Gabriel Garcia Marquez also goes further normalizing violence which often happens in colonized countries. He does this 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. Colonel Aureliano was a young boy when the magical events in the story took place. Therefore, the book is about how Colonel Aureliano coped with his family history and his 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 how he used that to tell the story of a fictional made up town that goes through similar things.  However, 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.

s downfall. 

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