One hundred Years of Solitude

Some introductory notes

1. The origins of Macondo and the beginnings of Solitude:
A. Foundation
B. Expansion
C. Recognition of Macondo by the civil authorities
D. The dementia of a patriarch

2. Conflict between desire and:
A. social mores
B. value systems
C. biological complications in generation of progeny
D. religious prohibitions

3. Some examples:
A. José Arcadio & Úrsula: Prudencio Aguilar & Macondo
B. José Arcadio & Rebeca: Ostracism & death
C. Amaranta & Aureliano José: Death
D. Amaranta & José Arcadio: Disillusion & Death
E. Aureliano & Amaranta Úrsula: Death and disintegration

4. Incest is opposed by social, ideological, biological and religious injunctions
A. Incest must be read in a multi-layered fashion: it is a metaphor, but it also real.
B. The Buendías will to find each other through incest can be seen as an attempt to escape from solitude. But this is risky and, perhaps, doomed to fail given the power of the injunctions that weigh so heavily on all of us.

5. An abridged course on Latin American history through the lens of realismo mágico
A. The civil wars
1. Aureliano Buendía's solitude
2. Arcadio's solitude
3. Amaranta's solitude / Pietro Crespi's death
4. José Arcadio's mysterious death
B. The boom years of the train
C. Aureliano Segundo and Fernanda del Carpio
D. The immaculate ascension of Remedios the Beauty
E. The arrival of the gringos
F. Aureliano Buendía's death

6. The final incestuous union: Aureliano Babilonia and Amaranta Úrsula: The shared solitude of love, passion, and incest

7. The shapes of Solitude:
A. In how many different ways is it portrayed?
B. Is it always bad?
C. Is there something there that has to do with us, readers?

8. 100 Years of Solitude:
A. As a fairy tale: What are its lessons?
B. As a mythical representation of mankind's history?: What is our curse?
C. As a fantastic summary of Colombian and Latin American history: What are the failures therein?
D. As a book about literature (metafiction)?: What are its implications?
1. 394 A revelation of some importance: "It had never occurred to him until then to think that literature was the best plaything that had ever been invented to make fun of people..."
2. 405: The Wise Catalan: "His fervor for the written word was an interweaving of solemn respect and gossipy irreverence..."
3. 408: A piece of advice: "that they forget everything he [The Wise Catalan] had taught them..."
E. As a novel of the Boom?: How is it typical?

9. How is this book written? How do we make sense of the text?
A. Melquíades writes the manuscripts
1. In Sanskrit verse & coded
2. A simultaneous time
B. Is 100 Years (the novel) the same as the manuscripts?
C. Who/What appears inside 100 Years (the novel)
1. Lorenzo Gavilán & Rocamadour: Other fiction (Fuentes and Cortázar)
2. Erendira, No Letter for the Colonel,: GGM's fiction
3. The treaty of Neerlandia, Sir Francis Drake: History
4. Gerineldo Márquez: GGM's family tree
a. 394 Aureliano and his 4 arguing pals: Álvaro, Germán, Alfonso, and Gabriel...
b. A revelation of real importance: "It had never occurred to him until then to think that literature was the best plaything that had ever been invented to make fun of people..."
c. 395 "...he was closer to Gabriel than to the others." (Cf. p.396)

 

back