FL 380: An Archaeology of the "Boom": Modern Latin American Prose Fiction

An Outline of Our Discussions
100 Years of Solitude

  1. READING GUIDE #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. READING GUIDE #2 : 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


  7. The final incestuous union: Los primos se exprimen = Cousins smooch each other or Cousins get it on with each other

  8. 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?

  9. Aureliano Buendía: The solitude of lovelessness: pride/fear
    A. 318 A mystery revealed: "José Arcadio Segundo reached the conclusion that Colonel Aureliano Buendía was nothing but a faker..."

  10. Amaranta: The solitude pride/fear
    A. 282 Amaranta's solitude: "She had reached old age with all her..."
    B. 285 Her solitude: "The world was reduced to the surface of..."

  11. Remedios the Beauty: The solitude of beauty

  12. Meme: The solitude of rebellion/hate:
    A. 422 "a woman who was giving herself out of rebellion."

  13. Fernanda: The solitude of pride, class, bashfulness:
    A. 370 Fernanda's epiphany: "Her heart of compressed ash. . . nostalgia."

  14. Aureliano Segundo and Petra Cotes: The shared solitude of love
    A. 345: "and they lamented that it had cost them so much of their lives to find the paradise of shared solitude."

  15. Santa Sofía de la Piedad: The solitude of servitude and selflessness
    A. 364 "who dedicated a whole life of solitude and diligence to the rearing of children..."

  16. José Arcadio (The Pope): The solitude of guilt
    A. 378: He remained that way, wrapped up in himself, thinking about the bitterness of his equivocal pleasures..."

  17. Aureliano Babilonia and Amaranta Úrsula: The shared solitude of love, passion, and incest

  18. 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?

  19. The gringos
    A. 231 One gringo: Mr. Herbert: "Among those theatrical creatures, wearing..."
    B. 231 "Later on Mr. Jack Brown arrived in an extra coach..."
    C. 233 "The gringos, who later on brought their languid wives..."
    D. 233 "No one knew yet what they were after..."
    E. 233 "Endowed with means that had been reserved for Divine..."
    F. 234 "Look at the mess we've got ourselves into... some bananas."
    G. 315 Mr. Brown and the rain.

  20. The Massacre & The Official Story
    A. 307 ¡Entre abogados te veas!: (May you fall prey to lawyers!) "It was there that the sleight-of-hand lawyers proved that (...) the workers did not exist."
    B. 308 An army for its people: "...they were all identical, sons of the same bitch..."
    C. 311 The massacre: "Many years later that child would still tell..."
    D. 312 A curious death: "Colonel Gavilán, who still held wrapped..."
    E. 314 The official story: "The night before he had read an extraordinary proclamation to the nation..."
    F. 316 "You must have been dreaming (. . .) This is a happy town."
    G. 318 A mystery revealed: "José Arcadio Segundo reached the conclusion that Colonel Aureliano Buendía was nothing but a faker..."

  21. 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
              c. 395 "...he was closer to Gabriel than to the others." (Cf. p.396)

  22. The women of 100 Years:
    A. Úrsula:
         1. 340 Úrsula's final prophecy: A "If we go on like this we'll be devoured by animals."
         2. 341 "...and once again she shuddered with the evidence that time was not passing, as she had just admitted, but that it was turning in a circle."
         3. 347 Úrsula's solitude in senility: "She finally mixed up the past with the present in such a way..."
    B. Pilar Ternera:
         1. 402 Pilar Ternera's wisdom: "...a century of cards and experience had taught her that the history of the family was a machine..."
    C. Petra Cotes
    D. Santa Sofía
    E. Meme
    F. Amaranta Úrsula