Irony, Symbolism, and Imagery Reveal the Emptiness of War in One Hundred Years of Solitude

Irony, Symbolism, and Imagery Reveal the Emptiness of War in One Hundred Years of Solitude

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Irony, Symbolism, and Imagery Reveal the Emptiness of War in One Hundred Years of Solitude


While most scholars have agreed that war is a real and significant part of human history, these same scholars have yet not reached a consensus on the characteristics of war. History books often lean toward glorifying war with stories of soldiers dying for their honor and homeland; novels, on the other hand, tend to point out the emptiness of war with stories of soldiers losing their youth and contact with the world. The selected passage from Gabriel Garcia Marquez' novel One Hundred Years of Solitude adds to the debate over war's characteristics. Through the literary techniques of irony, symbolism, and imagery, this text reveals the major theme that, in reality, war is not glorious but empty.

            By having Colonel Gerineldo Marquez conclude his telegraph with the slogan "Long Live the Liberal party," the author successfully creates a sense of irony in the reader at the end of the second paragraph. While the first two sentences of the passage present Colonel Marquez as the civil and military leader of Macondo who has realized the emptiness of war, this party slogan presents words that carry no weight when written by a man who believes his commanding officer to be a total stranger. Positioned high on the military chain of command, Colonel Marquez received the opportunity to witness the war's progression from an isolated conflict of clear definition and predictable course, to a widespread conflict of augmenting intensity and uncertainty. Therefore, his words "I understand, Aureliano,...Long Live the Liberal party" become ironic. Colonel Aureliano Buendia will consider these words to be a patriotic affirmation of orders, when th...


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...magery, and irony, combine to create a successful introduction of one of the novel's major themes - the emptiness of war. By having Colonel Gerineldo Marquez realize the true nature of war and then referring to him as the first in line to make that realization, the author sets up the reader for a series of other witnesses whose testimonies should make the statement concerning war's characteristic emptiness even more valid. Later in the novel, Colonel Aureliano Buendia discovers the true nature of war only after twenty years of fighting along with a sad realization that the conservative regime he had been trying to topple all this time is good and in accordance with the people's wishes. Colonel Buendia then recognizes that war is not a conflict of ideologies, but an ugly and empty struggle for power, concluding a thematic thread started by Colonel Gerineldo Marquez.

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