One Hundred Years of Solitude

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” is a novel written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, published in 1969. This novel is considered to be the best piece written by this legendary author, as the plot displays the events from the imagined Colombian town during the last century observed through the characters of seven generations of the Buendia family.

Marquez described all the amazing events of this family as something daily and common,at the other side, enriching some of the ordinary natural phenomena with fantastic elements. Marquez got inspired by his grandmother’s way of telling stories, as she was telling her stories without any changes in her facial expression, convinced that everything she says was true.

Marquez described all the amazing events of this family as something daily and common,at the other side, enriching some of the ordinary natural phenomena with fantastic elements. Marquez got inspired by his grandmother’s way of telling stories, as she was telling her stories without any changes in her facial expression, convinced that everything she says was true.

Marquez described all the amazing events of this family as something daily and common,at the other side, enriching some of the ordinary natural phenomena with fantastic elements. Marquez got inspired by his grandmother’s way of telling stories, as she was telling her stories without any changes in her facial expression, convinced that everything she says was true.

“One Hundred Years of Solitude” is a novel told through the vision of a storyteller who is well informed about all the details. Consisting out of twenty chapters, where the writer on a distant, yet close way displays for the readers all the actions, impressions and thoughts of the characters. With the narration flowing freely, and plot becoming supernatural due the often interweaving of events.

Neither one of the actions described ends as characters travel around the world, returning home without any consideration for the passing time.It is interesting to point out that the chapter of this book doesn’t have any names or enumeration, remaining true to Marquez’s theory of time being the only circulation of the important events, possible for unifying with space in a single dot. Over this period of hundred years, a lot of events take place, as the reader gets the feeling everything is happening simultaneously.

The novel describes a large number of human destinies within the Buendia family, as their affections, passions and sins are described under the same principles.

Genre: Novel

Time: Unspecified, as the hundred years mentioned in the title, were used in a metaphorical way because the plot repeats, disappears or the events happen simultaneously

Place: the imaginary town of Macondo, Colombia

Book summary

After the long years of wandering the jungle in the search for sea, Jose Arcadio Buendia founded a little town called Macondo with the help of a couple of friends. He decided to leave his hometown, Rioacha, after murdering a man who remains on haunting him as a ghost.

The two families, Buendia and Iguaran, were tied with the family and business affairs for ages, but despite that Jose Arcadio and Ursula Iguaran decided to get married. Their parents warned them about getting the iguanas in lieu of children, as they already were informed about a case of Ursula’s aunt who gave a birth to the son with a pork tail.

Macondo was in the center of the jungle, without any connections to the outer world, becoming a place of work and order. Soon the Gypsies led by Melquiades started coming in March every year, bringing the new technology as e.g. magnets, ice or magnifying glass. Jose Arcadio was spellbound by those inventions, deciding on finding something new himself. He bought an alchemy laboratory from Melquiades who soon became his close friend, moving in his house as well.

He brought a suitcase full of scrolls written in some mysterious letter, promising to reveal their secret at the right moment. Soon, another people started coming and opening shops and workshops. The town kept on developing so fast even the state authorities started showing interest, sending their own mayor. Jose Arcadio let the mayor stay, as long as he kept out of their affairs.

While Jose Arcadio was rapt in his inventions, Ursula maintains taking care of their home and children. After some time, their house became one of the most beautiful in entire town. Their firstborn son, Jose Arcadia 2nd was as impulse and strong as his father. He gout into a relationship with Pilar Ternera, the local fortune-teller. She soon got pregnant and he left Macondo joining the Gypsies. Ursula took care of their son, Jose Arcadio 3rd.

Soon, a girl named Rebecca came with another group of newcomers as an orphan sent by their parents for Buendias to take care of her. Ursula raised her the same way as her ow daughter Amarante. The both girls fell in love with the young Italian merchant, Pietro Crespio. Pietro chose Rebecca over Amarante, who swore she will do everything in her power for stopping this wedding.

The younger son of Ursula and Jose Arcadio, the colonel Aureliano inherited the affinity for mysticism from his father. He was in a short relationship with his older brother’s mistress Pilar Ternero, having a son with her, Aureliano Jose. After ending that relationship, he fell in love with mayor’s younger daughter Remedios. Remedios was too young for getting married, so they had to wait for her to enter the puberty in order to set the wedding date. She surprised everyone with her maturity despite her young age, as she was loving and caring wife who took care of Aureliano’s son as well.

Soon after the wedding she dies from complications during pregnancy, as she was carrying the twins. Jose Arcadio 2nd returned out of sudden, claiming he was a sailor. He fell in love with Rebecca at first sight, who left Pietro and married him. As they decided to marry each other, Ursula gave up on both of them as they were supposed to get married during the time of grief for the late Remedios. The couple decided to move into another home, and after they married . Amaranta decided to refuse every man who asked for her hand in marriage, including Pietro Crespio who ended his life committing suicide.

Amaranta devoted her life to caring for her relative, Aureliano Jose. The civil war starts, lasting over the next two decades. Macondo sent their troops led by the colonel Aureliano Buendia for fighting the conservative government. When the colonel arrived back home during his military leave, he finds out that Jose Arcadio lost his mind in search of the Sorcerer’s Stone. Jose Arcadio was convinced that the time stopped passing last Monday and kept communicating on Latin.

He got tied to the chestnut tree where he spent his days in the state of unconsciousness until Ursula set him free before his death. Jose Arcadio the Third was a teacher. The Colonel’s wish was to take care over the town,as he did, becoming dictator and oppressor, as he used his students as his private army. He was madly in love with Pilar Ternera, not being aware she was his mother, as she somehow found a way for getting him marry the Santa Sofia de Gracias. Sofia soon gave a birth to their daughter Remedios.

As the citizens of Macondo received the news about the government’s approaching army, Jose Arcadio the Third decides to fight back, as resulting in Macondo being occupied and his own death as well. Soon after his death Sofia gave birth to the twins- Jose Arcadio Segundo and Aureliano Segundo.

The Colonel Aureliano was being held in captivity and the government decided to shoot him. His brother, Jose Arcadio the Second saved him and got killed himself soon after, under some mysterious circumstances. Rebecca withdrew herself out of the social life, remaining in solitude until her own death.

The Colonel’s son, Aureliano Jose decided to join his father in fighting the war but soon he returns to Macondo because of the great love he felt for his aunt Amaranta. They started an obscene sexual relationship which ended with Amaranta becoming aware of consequences of their actions. Aureliano Jose returned to the battlefield where he dies soon after.

During the thirty-two of armed conflicts, Colonel Aureliano became a father of seventeen sons who all had different mothers. Sending of the young women to the bed of warriors was a custom, so they all visit the Buendia’s home within the next years in order to baptize their sons. Those children all ended being named Aureliano, but every one of them having his mother’s last name.

The war continued until a point where fights became pointless until the Colonel decided to declare peace. Macondo started developing fast, also getting electricity, phone lines, and traffic connections via railroads. The strangers founded the banana company a bit further from the town. The banana fever took place, bringing a lot of new people in town in their search for a job.

In one of the following years, at the anniversary of the peace proclamation, all of the seventeen Colonel’s sons came to Macondo. During the mass ceremony, all seventeen of them got the symbol of the cross imprinted at their foreheads, becoming that way recognizable as the Colonel’s son.

Led with those signs, the government organized the action of killing all of the Colonel’s son, as his family line couldn’t be continued. The new generations of the Buendia family were raised, and the rumors about Remedios’s incredible beauty kept on spreading. Remedios remained forever innocent and naive as a child, as the beauty of her physique already caused a death of a couple of men who were madly in love with her. One day she got lifted to the sky as some kind of a saint.

Ursula spent her life believing that the twins Jose Arcadio Segundo and Aureliano Segundo switched their places early in their childhood, and were raised using the other one’s name. Aureliano Segundo married Fernanda who was raised far from Macondo and couldn’t adapt to living in the town.

Fernanda inherited Ursula’s role of the main housekeeper. Her husband, Aureliano Segundo brought his mistress to live with them after he married Fernanda. While he made love with his mistress,the animals in their possession kept propagating at an incredible speed, resulting the Buendia earning enormous wealth.

The two of them had three children together, Renata Remedios (Meme), Jose Arcadio the Fourth and Amaranta Ursula.Jose Arcadio joined the strike at the banana plantation, remaining the only survivor after the army was invited to end the strike. The army killed all the workers in organized shooting at the main square, throwing their dead bodies into the sea.

Jose Arcadio testified this event, but no one believed him.The banana company left, leaving Macondo to fight the rain who kept on falling over the next five years, bringing the lethargy and forgetfulness among the people. Ursula died after the rain ended, and Fernanda decided to send her children to European schools, as a way to keep them away from the decay of Macondo and their own family as well.

Meme, their firstborn daughter fell in love in Mauricio Babilonia during the holidays. When Fernanda found out about their love,s he organized Mauricio’s murder, accusing him of stealing the hens. Meme kept mute for the rest of her life as a sign of protest, and Fernanda considered the putting her away in a convict should be the best way of solving this problem. Seven months after, Meme’s son has been brought home from the convict and Fernanda named him Aureliano Babilonia, yet resentful on giving him their last name.

Aureliano Babilonia grew up locked inside the house, communicating only with Jose Arcadio Segundo. Jose Arcadio Segundo and Aureliano Segundo died at the same time, both exhausted from life. At their funeral their bodies got swapped, being buried in each other’s grave. After Fernanda’s death, Jose Arcadio the fourth returned home from Rome and kept company for Aureliano Babilonia . He was soon murdered so the Aureliano Babilonia spent his days trying to understand the old Melquade’s scrolls.

He soon began understanding some of them, as the Amaranta Ursula appeared. They started a relationship, unaware of them being related. The city of Macondo was declining as Amaranta Ursula announced her pregnancy. She died while giving birth to their son Aureliano, who had a pork tale. The child got eaten by ants. Aureliano Babilonia spent the rest of his life solving the text from the scrolls Melquiades left them.

He soon translated the part about the first one who will be tied to a tree and the last one will get eaten by ants. He found the destiny of the entire Buendia family, including his own, written on the scrolls as it was predicted by Melquiades a long time ago. As he ended translating,a terrible storm hits Macondo, revealing the prophecy about the entire town being ruined at the very moment Aureliano Babilonia finishes his work.

Characters: Jose Arcadio Buendia, Jose Arcadio Segundo, Aureliano Buendia, Remedios, Amaranta, Rebecca, Fernando, Ursula, Jose Arcadio the Third, Santa Sofia de Gracias, Jose Arcadio the Fourth, Jose Arcadio Segundo, Aureliano Segundo etc.

Character analysis

Jose Arcadio Buendia

Patriarch of the Buendia family, the man who divided from his family in his search for philosophical mysteries. he was a founder and a leader of Macondo town when he was younger. Although he was the main character at the beginning of the novel, his influence fades gradually together with his common sense when he starts to follow traces leading him towards the Sorcerer’s Stone.

He kept on losing his mind until he was only able to communicate in Latin. Since that moment on, he spent the rest of his days tied upon a chestnut tree as his wife saves him right before his death. She takes him inside their house, but he reruns to die under the tree.

Ursula

One of the main characters, besides her husband Jose Arcadio Buendia. Her life follows all of the members of the Buendia family, as she was considered the one with the long lifespan, dying between her 114th and 122nd year of life. At the moment of her death, she already got shrunken to the size of a fetus. She was taking care of her family, house, and husband, Jose Arcadio Buendia for her whole life.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez Biography 

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was born in Arachataca, Northern Colombia in 1928. He was a journalist, writer ,and a political activist as well. He was raised by his mother’s parents who had a huge impact on him. Later he got to study law and journalism at the Universities of Bogota and Cartagena.

From 1947 ,until 1952 he writes stories under the influence of Kafka, later published under the title “The Eyes of the Blue Dog”. At 1948 he begins his journalistic career, moving a lot within the next decade and even becoming friend with Fidel Castro while he was working in Havana. He begins working at the Mexico City in the sixties, founding the HABEAS foundation in 1979 as a way for freeing the political prisoners  from South America.

He receives the Nobel prize for literature in 1982. His most popular novel was “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, published in 1967. Although many of the readers were waiting for the second part of this novel, the author never had any intention of writing it. In 1986. he returns to romantic storied, writing the novel “The Love in the Time of Cholera”, inspired by the love story of his parents.

His most popular novels are “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, “The Funeral of the Big Mama”, “Love in the Time of Cholera” and many others. He dies in 2014. in Mexico City in a deep state of dementia.