One Hundred Years of Gratitude: Magical Realism

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Throughout the book One Hundred Years of Solitude, the theme of magical realism is present. With the theme of magical realism comes the idea of looking at the extraordinary with a stone face, and treating the ordinary as extraordinary. Also, if one looks further into the magical realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude, there is a supernatural aspect that is common throughout the book. Melquíades, a gypsy who comes to Macondo, has supernatural qualities, knowledge and aspects, which he uses to push the other characters, more specifically the Buendia family, into a quest for his knowledge.

Melquíades is introduced to the reader in the first chapter, when his band of gypsies enter into Macondo, when Macondo was just founded. When Melquíades and his gypsies come into Macondo, they introduce many things to the people of Macondo. The first thing that was introduced was the magnet. Once Melquíades showed Jose Arcadio Buendia the magnet, Buendia is convinced that he would be able to get gold from the Earth.

That is just one example of the people of Macondo trying to further their thinking and knowledge of things. All of the different inventions, tools, and things that Melquíades brings to the people of Macondo are considered “magical” or extraordinary, even though to the reader, they are everyday objects. Melquíades introduces things like ice, and a telescope, which the people of Macondo pay to see.

Of all the people of Macondo, Jose Arcadio Buendia is most affected by the supernatural knowledge that Melquíades has. With every new invention, or object Melquíades brings, Buendia goes to great lengths to buy the items and to understand how it works, and to further the uses of the objects. Every item the gypsies bring give Buendi...

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...s. The fact that Melquíades wrote these manuscripts and gave them to Jose Arcadio Buendia almost one hundred years before the end of Macondo proves that Melquíades cannot be more supernatural.

Melquíades used his own supernatural knowledge to challenge the knowledge of the other characters. Furthermore, Melquíades displays his supernatural qualities by returning from the dead, and by predicting the future of the Buendia family, and Macondo. “But in spite of his immense wisdom, and his mysterious breadth, he had a human burden an earthly condition that kept him involved in the small problems of daily life.”(6) Because of his supernatural qualities, Melquíades had to challenge the other characters’ knowledge and he had to write the manuscripts. It was because he was supernatural; he had the burdens of involving himself in the rise and fall of Macondo.

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