Analysis of short Story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the most prominent early writers. He has written a variety of literature works most of which are short stories. In his works, he handles various contemporary subjects in the society. His ability to discuss real life issues in style of fiction makes his work to be highly respected and loved. He has a unique style of writing that. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, he uses the character Jose Arcadio to highlight pillars of strong leadership especially at individual, family and government levels. Such important themes as family life, leadership and hope and presented using symbols and vivid narration. The story follows the life of seven generations Buendia family, currently represented by Jose. The story highlights Jose’s struggles and success as he strives to achieve economic and social success including providing for his family. The use of interesting plot helps readers to identify with the stories. In addition, Garcia’s use of mundane settings which audiences commonly interacts with in their real life helps in driving the message home. Garcia also use characters whose traits are not exaggerated therefore depicting the real life issues he addresses in the book. This assignment analyses the short stories written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez with the view of highlighting how he effectively uses characterization, setting and plot construction to highlight his message.
The works of Gabriel are hailed not only in Colombia where he was born but in the entire work by literature people. He submerged into the writing of short stories so as to present his ideas and words. Central and most significant among his short stories is the book, One Hundred Years of Solitude. This book is significant because it was the first work to be done by Gabriel Garcia. In addition, the book helped him rise and achieve stardom in the field of writing. The book is considered central because partly or to a great extent it reveals the life he lived in the state of Colombia.
The beauty of the short story is the context in which the story is depicted is a fictional setting with fictional characters. His fictional work makes him gain popularity in the Latin America’s magical realism. He contributes a great deal to the literature work that was first published among the Latin Americas. All his work reaches the public domain in the periods between the 1960s and 1970s. No work could have been more beautiful than this during this time in history. The major characters in this short story is Jose Arcadio who stands as a pillar of light on issues to deal with leadership and innocence of virgin world. This work of literature basically gives a summary of how leadership should be undertaken especially in a beginning group and association.
The book presents a story that is painted with beautiful metaphors that describe the antiquity of Colombia. The history is presented with a concise critical analysis and comparison between Colombia and the current global world. The story One Hundred Years of Solitude has been presented with a variety of myths. The myths are so succinct especially when one looks at the story of Buendia family. This family has a great spirit of adventure that makes them a unique family. They are therefore central in highlighting the various events that happen in the antiquity of Colombia. Some of the very important epics are the way of life as presented by the political reformation. This reformation is equally painted by liberal mindedness and liberty of speech. So many people in the Colombian government are presented to be debating about this freedom that is feared by the leadership.
The other event portrayed by the family of Buendia is the arrival and construction of the railway. Colombia is a mountainous nation, and so the inception of this great advancement in infrastructure proves to be a challenge. What a challenging venture to the government? This was indeed an important event in the history. Gabriel Garcia does a lot of good work in depicting this great advancement in the Colombian nation. Moreover, the book presents the Thousand Days War which is also important in history. The war is significant as it determines a lot of things in Latin America. At a point when people were struggling to free themselves from forces of dictatorship and slavery, the war was mandatory for liberty. Gabriel succinctly presents all these issues to the ready of his short story. Much of other issues presented in the short story are related to technology. These eventual issues include the growth of automobile industry, the striking of workers and subsequent killings done the striking workers.
A fascinating thing in this story of One Hundred Years of Solitude is the plot. The story is one of seven generations. The generations are presented through on family, Buendia family. The genesis of the story is seen when the Jose Arcadio who is considered to be the head of the family together with his beautiful damsel starts a journey of looking for greener pastures. His efforts resemble those of any father or husband who wishes to start a family. Providing for the wife is always the first priority.
The blessings of having a wife are presented to come with challenges that the husband must overcome to prove themselves worthy of their wives. The first challenge is that of always providing for the wife. This is never easy in situations where standards of living are low or rather environmental conditions make the life tiresome. Here Gabriel Marquez presents the struggle of starting life. He shows the challenges faced by newly wedded couples. Interestingly, he shows that not all is always lost despite the challenges. A couple that is starting life should know that they are destined for greatness according to Gabriel Garcia Marquez. After a long period of wandering and walking in the jungle, the couple finally settles on Macondo, and this starts the dawn of a new vibrant generation. Initially, this is seen as a utopic place, but it springs to be a haven for seven and even more generations (Erickson & Daniel 77).
The Patriarch of Macondo finds a home in a place that is surrounded by water. This brings about the mirth that he is the inventor of the world. His new place of aboard springs up so quickly and later becomes a good town or rather trading center. Here Gabriel indicates to the readers and anyone who cares to look at his work, that anything with a humble beginning, with proper nurturing, would be able to become anything. Important to mention is that becoming anything from the perspective of Gabriel Garcia is spiced and lively. Anyone who cares to look at this work automatically gets inspired and finds hope in knowing that which is seen as an impossibility is always possible. This hope is what Gabriel intends to give to his readers. The inspiration brought about by this part of the short story is so powerful. This is the intention and one of the purposes of this short story (Erickson & Daniel 87).
The rise of the town of Macondo is presented to be followed by so many so many events that are crucial to the growth and awakening of the Nation. Most of these events are extraordinary and unusual. The Buendia family is crucial in portraying these events. Initially, the town is presented to be a peaceful one. It is the expectations of anyone existing in this town expect peace and tranquility all the days of their stay within the town. This is not the case with Gabriel Garcia’s short story as it presents an ironic situation. This is contrary to what everyone expected since all the Buendia generations are expected to have a state of peace (Erickson & Daniel 90).
Gabriel Garcia Marquez presents the attachment that the Buendia family has had with the town. They are hardly hit with tornados and hurricanes that interfere with their normal life. Anyone who experiences this kind of environment conditions would have fled from this region first thing when the calamity his. This family is so much attached to the town, and not even death would make them leave their newly found motherland. What a unique people? What a strong attachment to their motherland? Can other people be like this unique family? These are among the questions the reader would ask themselves as they look at this story. The series of misfortunes that befalls this family cannot be comprehended. One wonders if staying in the town during this time of calamity was an act of fear or stupidity. Loyalty can sometimes be stupid. The family is stupidly loyal to their first ever land. Their loyalty comes with a price that is close to their lives.
The short story has been written by use of some of the greatest styles of writing. Some of the most used styles are Symbolism and metaphors. Starting from which is used to represent the entire nation. This style helps the readers to have a better and insightful understanding of Colombia as at the time the story was worked on. There is no better way of relating the story and the reality in the ground if not by using symbolism. The relationship between these small rising towns is thus best understood through the use of these styles of symbolism and metaphor.
One would have thought that this imaginary story has no relation to any real life situation. However, as you read through the work of Gabriel Garcia Marquez, you feel the relation it has with the real world situation. Moreover, one gets an opportunity of getting into the shoes of the characters from a real worlds perspective and understanding why they do what they do. The characters are the ones who help us to understand this masterpiece of fiction. Without the characters role, it would be nearly impossible to relate this work to the real world.
The author of the book also uses specially tailored themes to present his masterpiece of work to the entire world. In the story, Garcia presents a case where the complexity of moments makes the characters, protagonist to be precise, are forced to be under the direct control of their past and activities they do not have influence over. It is a clear manifestation of what happens, in reality, most of the time. More often people are entangled by the situation they have no control over. The world’s forces push and pull various people making them have certain behavior they were not born with. It is because of these external forces that some people choose to be cold in the heart. Such people stop to care about others and only think about themselves. Others stop caring and leave the forces of the world to control what they do. Here Gabriel Garcia shows how the world influences the behavior, characters, and feelings of the people in the world. It is never easy to have inborn features for as long as the world and nature are not under the control of a human.
The funniest part of this short story is that Gabriel presents it in glassy town. That is to mean that this town is frequently attacked by a ghost. It is important to realize that most people in the world today do not accept the popular belief that ghosts had existed. That, therefore, means that not many people would be able to accept the story by Gabriel as being true. It is no wonder many people treat it as fiction and have zero effort of relating it to whatever goes on around the world. The ghosts are believed to have existed during the early nineteenth century, and that explains why the story is in a town frequently visited by a ghost (Wood & Michael 16). By looking at the town as a ghost town and naming it glass town, do we not see Garcia painting a picture of ghosts being part of illusions?
The town is challenged, and no serious development occurs after the commencement of the ghostly attacks. The belief and fear that ghosts would appear anytime kill the moral to work towards achieving development. The ghosts are seen as illusions by anyone who wishes to have a critical look at the state of Macondo. This therefor indicates that Gabriel Marquez understands and believes that people do not progress because of their states of mind or illusion. The fears created by illusions make one not able to do what they ought to do for the sake of their development and improvement. He portrays clearly the dangers of illusions by using ghostly characters who sometimes also transform into humans. I would say that Gabriel Garcia Marquez has achieved his aim by the use of these ghostly characters (Wood & Michael 16).
The issues of alienation are also portrayed by the use of the ghostly characters. The town is seen to be desolate. It is also separate from the rest of the world. This is an indication of how someone can be separated from the others. Alienation comes with issues of underdevelopment. The family thus becomes victims of their history, ideological illusions and even underdevelopment. How best can such a group of people keep up with the rest of the world whose focus was none other than becoming better? How else could they be equal to the rest of the world which had focused on making better stuff and not imagining things that did not exist? How else could they get civilized and be part of the global village whose foundation was already lid at this point in time (Wood & Michael 20).
The style of metaphor is clearly indicated in the issue of fatalism. From the look of things, it is so clear that the fate of Macondo is already sealed. The destiny of this small town is seen to be that of doom even from the onset of everything. The people of Latin America, based on the issues presented in this story have been denied all the possibilities and alternatives they are supposed to have. Can such a people rise and develop? In order to indicate the trap in which these people have been put into by their environment. The entrapment is the entire mind, but it translates to what happens among these people of Macondo (Wood & Michael 23).
By the use of symbolism, he presents imperialism by the use of colors in his work. The colors Garcia frequently uses are gold and yellow. The color of gold is an indicator of the search of wealth. This story is at a point when every nation in the world was struggling to amass wealth so as to be able to be more powerful. In an effort to accumulate wealth, they had to interact with, control and steal from other nations (Bloom & Harold 20-38). These efforts often ended in fierce battles that resulted in the death of many. A similar case is presented in this story and so the use of yellow color. The color yellow symbolizes change, destruction, and even death. According to Gabriel Garcia Marquez, never again will the land of Macondo remain the way it is. He foresees a situation in which battles and wars will result in loss of life and subsequent destruction of property. This will ultimately result in great change, and this nation will never be the same gain. Change has been portrayed as being inevitable, and it must finally come to pass. The change is though seen as negative at the beginning; it later comes about with positive effects, some of which are enjoyed currently (Ian 67).
Moreover, the ill fate of Macondo is shown in the glass city. Jose Arcadio Buendia settles with his wife in near the river after a long walk because of the dream of glass city. A city made of glass should never have its inhabitants through stones, so says the wise men. Having the walls of the city made of glass and its inside having stones is ironic. The city later proves to be that of mirages instead of mirrors. There is nothing as easy as breaking mirrors and this explains the fragility of this city. The city is seen to be able to come down and crumble down anytime (Gullon & Ricardo 28).
It is important to note that Macondo has presented a city pregnant and heavy with great dreams. The nation of America is full of promises. The promising state of the America is presented by the mirrors in the city, so bright and crystal clear. The historical events that follow indicated how quickly the glass city is transformed into mirage city. All the dreams of America are pure illusions and are destroyed by cause of history. Gabriel Garcia Marquez uses glass city and ice factory to symbolize the short lifespan of the already predetermined fate of America. The short story clearly indicates that sometimes the plans and dreams of nations are too fragile to be believed in and upheld strongly (Ian 67).
The short story, One Hundred Years of Solitude presents the culture of Latin America as that which emanates from the people of Latin America themselves. They have dreams for their nation. These dreams are held so dear to the hearts, and nothing will make them lose sight of these dreams. Sadly, though, the dreams that these people have are too much for a dream. The author of the book uses glass and ice to indicate how fragile these dreams are. He presents a situation in which the dreams can be destroyed anytime by any stone thrown in any direction. Latin America is presumed to be in a position to yield into any pressure or external force for that matter. This is seen in how the factory, which is the core of development, can be destroyed by any external force (Gullon & Ricardo 30).
The Latin America is later hit hard by wars that destroy its economy. During the war, lots of lives are lost. Before the war, colonial forces try to ta take control of Latin America. They bring development and improve the status of the town. However, the force of racial differences and fight for power sets in and these people engage in very fierce wars. This war starts when workers strike and the leadership of the day decide to massacre all the striking workers. This is a sad state in the nation as presented by Gabriel Garcia. The factory made of ice is seen to be melting slowly because of the wrong choice by leaders. The mirrors have been turned into mirages, and this makes the city desolate (Gullon & Ricardo 32).
In conclusion, Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his short story, One Hundred Years of Solitude, has presented a beautiful story that tries to extrapolate the future of American nations. Using fiction, he makes his unreal story look and sound real. Moreover, he employs various styles and themes to make the readers of his piece of work try to relate the story to reality. There is no better way that fiction could be made to look real except by going through the work done by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. A clear look at this work shows how the works of art can be used to explain the contemporary issues that are there in the society. If the issues were presented in the form of facts and figures, maybe many people could not have gained an interest in going through the works of Gabriel.
Bloom, Harold, ed. Gabriel García Márquez. New York: Infobase Publishing, 2009.
Erickson, Daniel. Ghosts, metaphor, and history in Toni Morrison’s Beloved and Gabriel García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Springer, 2009.
Gullon, Ricardo, Gabriel García Márquez and Gregory Rabassa. “Gabriel Garcia Marquez & the Lost Art of Storytelling.” (1971): 27-32.
Johnston, Ian. On Marquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude. Vancouver: Malaspina University College (now Vancouver Island University), March 28, 1995.
Wood, Michael. Gabriel García Márquez: One hundred years of solitude. CUP Archive, 1990.