Circularity and Linearity: Interweaving Fates in 100 Years of Solitude

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100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marques is a novel which revolves around the establishing, flourishing and eventual destruction of the village of Macondo. The novel also focuses on Macondo’s founding family, the Buendias, who stumbled upon the land after their patriarch, Jose Arcadio, felt forced to leave their native village. The novel serves as a representation of early post-colonialist Colombia, which is the author’s native country. Among other literary elements such as magical realism and contrasting tragic and comedic effects, Marquez flawlessly incorporates the usage of linear and circular time-plot perspectives in a binary approach in order to produce both a sense of stasis and inertia within the prize-winning novel, which is essential in the creation of his allegorical epic and the delivery of the polemic underlying his entire narrative.

Throughout the novel, the author uses two facets of historical time, linear and circular. The interweaving of these brings to life some of the novel’s most vivid events. Beginning with the former element - the utilization of a linear plot progression, the narrative follows the chronological growth of the town of Macondo. Marquez depicts events from the time of its inception by the Buendias through its slowly flourishing prosperity, followed by its predestined decay and eventual obliteration. The town’s history can be broken down into four sections. Firstly, Macondo’s birth as a settlement, which is surrounded by an Eden-like innocence and virginity, where not a single soul has ever perished and many objects have yet to be named. Secondly, this is followed by an epoch of military strife and political instability wherein foreign governments constantly endeavor to take hold of the ...

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...t and progress that the outside world brings through the use of a linear timeline. Thus, this furthers the contrast between the static Macondo and the inertia forced upon it by life’s natural advancement. Macondo’s destruction is hence spelled by these opposing factors; while fate forces it to change and evolve, its essence remains fixed and immovable due to the singular force anchoring it – the Buendia family. Hence, Macondo and the Buendias are obliterated, because their internal inadaptability is effaced by an ever-changing external landscape. In the end, it is exactly as Melquiades’ manuscripts ominously reveal, “that everything written on them [is] unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth.”

Works Cited
100 years of solitude by gabriel Garcia Marquez
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