Parting thoughts on Cien años de soledad

 I certainly enjoyed Cien años de soledad, and I’m very glad that I’ve read it now, but I have to admit that it was one of the most demanding, difficult reading experiences I’ve had.  I don’t want this to sound like a completely negative thing, because, happily, it was ultimately also one of the most rewarding reading experiences I’ve had.  I would like to read the English translation one day as well, because it would probably help me understand the story and keep track of the characters better, and I would be able to get through it in about a quarter of the time it took me to read it this time.  I am definitely glad we spent so much time discussing the book and reading it in class, because it is such a rich work, with so many different themes and so much to say and discuss about it.  I like reading the book and thinking about Marquez’s own politics.  His friendship with Cuban president Fidel Castro is well-known and in Cien años, it seems as though he has sympathies with a communist outlook like Castro’s, as the scenes depicting the massacre of the banana company employees and depictions of their struggles for labour rights seem to betray a respect and sympathy for the working classes.  From reading the novel, Marquez also seems to distrust dictatorial regimes, such as Arcadio’s style of leadership when Coronel Aureliano Buendía puts him in charge of Macondo.  Marquez also seems to be wary of the potentially negative impacts that foreign influence in Macondo, especially the sort of American influence in
Colombia like we learned about in class.  This is represented by the banana company and especially Sr. Brown.

Published in: on April 4, 2007 at 9:05 am  Comments (3)  

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3 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Hi Dan
    Your comments actually put into words some of my thoughts on reading Cien Anos de Soledad. I agree that it was a difficult read and yet when I look back at the novel, it is rewarding to know that you have read it. I managed to read the English as well and it certainly helped. As someone commented on my blog, it is amazing that all that we read and discussed came from the thoughts of one individual. It is easy to respect and appreciate Marquez as an author and as someone who stepped outside the confines of what one might consider safe, to explore and challenge beliefs and perceptions of his day.

  2. Regarding the political dimension of 100 anos, perhaps Marquez is being faithful to his revolutionary politics in using literature as a way of bringing to consciousness the endless repetion of injustice in Columbian society, and by doing so, imagining the possibility of breaking the cycle of repetition. After all, Macondo is destroyed by a biblical apolcalypse and at the same times defies this fate, living forever as literature, as an analogy of Columbian society in all its violence. Perhaps it is in this way that Gabo, like Fidel, ha hecho la revolucion.

  3. I always find it hard to assume that a writers work reflects their present day thoughts or views about the world. Marquez’s work might reflect his political views, but it is hard to say that when he was writing this work that he was intending to make it a political statement.


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