One Hundred Years of Solitude One Hundred Years of Solitude discussion


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Latin American Symbolism and metaphors

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message 1: by Letitia (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:23AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Letitia I think that my unfamiliarity with with Marquez's metaphors and similes inhibited my total enjoyment of this book. I am much for familiar with European literature, and was wondering if someone better versed in Latin American symbology might be willing to discuss with me. For instance, what is the significance of Rebeca's foot being stung by a scorpion on her wedding night, why did it rain for four years, why did Colonel Aureliano never see the ghost of his father, etc. Any help appreciated! Thanks.


message 2: by rati (last edited Aug 25, 2016 11:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

rati dont know abt latin american symbology....
n now tht u mention it...wud be delighted 2 hear u interpret it wid means of this novel!


message 3: by Masoud (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Masoud Enayati From wikipedia:
##The house — the color and overall status of the Buendía household embody the political and economical stance of Colombia at the time: its construction represents the settlement of the place, its upgrade to "mansion" represents the birth of the nation. Several characters try to paint the house either blue or red at different times (representing right and left political parties), even though the matron of the house wants to keep it white (neutral, or rather, political balance). At one time, Aureliano Segundo glues bills all over its walls, alluding to economical bonanza. There are times where things within the house are destroyed or nature creeps into its halls, embodying anarchy.

##The daguerreotype — a daguerreotype of the late Remedios is kept in the house through all generations. At first it is meant to be sacred and holy, as she has died young and innocent, but the picture loses meaning as time goes by and younger generations forget its importance. It is meant to embody tradition, or religion: its holiness is worn off and disrespected in the modern world.

##The Gypsies — the traveling Gypsy band represent creativity and progress - at first they visit frequently, and the people of Macondo marvel at the wonders of science. The inventions shown are of great use and help the people to live better lives. Later on the Gypsies change and bring amazing wonders, more incredible but of less use (portrayed as "magical" and not "scientific" artifacts) and the inhabitants are disenchanted.

##The red ants — the troop of red ants that constantly battle the Buendías in their household may represent time: many characters try to exterminate them and exile them from their mansion, but are always beaten and surrender to them. The last of the Buendías is carried away by ants, emphasizing this view. Another interpretation could be that they represent Communism (being characteristically red and forming part of a strictly structural society). This view is less likely, given the author's own political views.


message 4: by John (last edited Aug 25, 2016 01:16PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

John I'm not sure about all the wikipedia information, but I think the key of the book is Marquez's interlacing of the magical and concrete. The story itself is one of historical fact and historical fiction.
One of the reasons this book so lifts me up is that it brings me to a place where life is life but it is more than life. Where actions occur but are always more than they seem. The same qualities that bring fame to Tolstoy--a glorification of the everyday Russian way of life--give credence to Marquez--a beautiful and real picture of everyday life in Latin America. From my vantage point in America, I love it because it reminds me that ambition is not always the most important quality in life.

I find the same play of magical & concrete in "Pan's Labyrinth", the movie, which I also found amazing. The same sad but beautiful truth runs throughout the movie as well.


message 5: by Cathy (new)

Cathy Latin Americans have been influenced by different cultures and different religions. The part of Colombia where Garcia Marquez is from is very influenced by the culture slaves brought from Africa. The combination of all this cultures is what gives rise to Magical Realism.


Matt Dietrich I think another thing that would help anyone reading this book would be a quick read of Latin American history and the sheer lunacy that has marked many of its countries' leaders over the centuries. Marquez himself referred to this in his Nobel Prize acceptance speech. Some of the more surreal aspects of Latin American history are reflected in the book's construction and imagery.


Robin I think in all cultures there is an element of mysticism and imagery which Matt has touched on. This book was amazing, even Love in the Time of Cholera. Love knows no bounds.


Rachel Hirstwood Wow - that bit from Wikipedia explains a lot that went totally over my head. To me, this book was confusing and (probably because I was confused) rather long and dull. I got to the end thinking, 'that was long'. And agreed with a friend who, asking what it was about, suggested it was about 100 years of someone being on their own. I never could explain what it was about. ALthough there were bits of it - the less mystical bits - where I quite enjoyed it. I think I gave it 2 stars though.


message 9: by Ola (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ola Coudld someone explain the repeation of names and why thats so important? i mean i have my own ideas but i knda got confused telling who is who from who


message 10: by Caro (last edited Jul 18, 2011 02:16PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Caro Olaoluwa wrote: "Coudld someone explain the repeation of names and why thats so important? i mean i have my own ideas but i knda got confused telling who is who from who"

Olaoluwa wrote: "Coudld someone explain the repeation of names and why thats so important? i mean i have my own ideas but i knda got confused telling who is who from who"

Olaoluwa wrote: "Coudld someone explain the repeation of names and why thats so important? i mean i have my own ideas but i knda got confused telling who is who from who"

Hi! 100 years it the cycle so the names are repeated to complete it, the best thing you can do is draw a family tree to guide you with the names. I read this book every three years and I do it every time! I hope you'll find it helpful.


message 11: by Teralyn (new) - added it

Teralyn Pilgrim Olaoluwa: One of the main themes of the book (probably the biggest theme) is the repitition of history and how people are doomed to go in circles. That's why people tend to do the same things, make the same mistakes, and end up in the same place. One thing that helps illustrate this is they have the same names.


message 12: by Teralyn (new) - added it

Teralyn Pilgrim The Wikipedia stuff was very helpful. I studied this book online quite a bit and I think I "got" it, but I felt like I missed a lot of it. People said every single line was profound, but there was so much there that I kept asking myself stuff like, "Is the guy being followed by butterflies for a reason, or is this just part of the magic and it has no deeper meaning?"

Does anyone else have any more information like that Wikipedia article? I loved it and want to know more.

By the way, I couldn't find that page on Wikipedia. Could you send me the link or the title of the article?


Robin Usually I have found that people use names in each generation to venerate the deceased person's memory, that is why we do it here, especially Hawaiian names. That gives us clues to who we are related to. Much the same way that they do in Spanish cultures.


Gabbo Parra In Magical Realism the key is to materialize things that otherwise are just feelings, emotions or ideas.

Look at the things that happened to the characters and relate those situations to what that image could be if it were not actually happening.

The butterflies following Mauricio Babilonia are a projection of Meme's feelings toward him.

Use the father's name for the first son is usual in many cultures, but in Latin America sometimes it verges in extremist machismo. In the case of One Hundred Years of Solitude is just a way to show the redundancy of the situations they relive time after time.

I know a guy who had five children with 2 different women, and all five have his same name, which at some point in life is going to be very confusing for all involved.


Laura Elliott I think the beauty of magical realism is how the characters' perceptions create magical realities that give us a window into the shifting boundaries between the two.


Thomas Sr. Magical Realism is really the key to understanding the book. MR is a movement started in Europe, although it was embraced fervently in Latin America (which is why so many people think it started there). It's hard to explain in brief, but it helps to understand that some of what is seen as "symbolism" is in fact MR (although some is direct symbolism). You can look it up, but a decent visual of MR is the movie "Like Water for Chocolate". Maybe not the best movie, per se, but the representatin of MR sometimes helps understand what it is.

To echo a previous comment: re-read, the repetition is helpful.

Enjoy!


message 17: by Anita (new)

Anita Savio And here's some more symbolism: Aureliano has the root "aur" in his name, which is a Latin root referring to gold. Also, the name "Arcadio" contains the same root as Arcadia, which the Random House College Dictionary defines as "pastoral, rustic, simple, innocent."


message 18: by Allen (last edited Dec 27, 2013 07:50PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Allen Zheng The four years rain is connected to the story of Noah's Ark.It is recorded in Hebrew Bible and Quran. I think a lot of Márquez's metaphors came from European and Middle Asia literature, for example, those novelties in the beginning of the story like the flying carpet were connected to The Arabian Nights.


Allen Zheng Olaoluwa wrote: "Coudld someone explain the repeation of names and why thats so important? i mean i have my own ideas but i knda got confused telling who is who from who"

you can distinguish that all these men can be divided into two groups by their names. one presents sex, the other presents solitude.


message 20: by Lisa (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lisa S I think not all of it is just Latin American culture. The 4 year rain for example could be linked to the bible with the story of the deluge and could mean that Macondo has to be purged of its sins.
Actually, you find quite a lot of biblical references in the book...


message 21: by Touhidul (new)

Touhidul Islam what about the Solitude that Marquez is talking about, over and over again??
What and how is this much significant??


message 22: by John (new) - rated it 5 stars

John Farebrother Masoud wrote: "From wikipedia:
##The house — the color and overall status of the Buendía household embody the political and economical stance of Colombia at the time: its construction represents the settlement of..."


Excellent and informative comment. I had no idea about these metaphors, even though I've read and enjoyed the book three times!


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