31. 03. 2005 ONE HUNDRED YEARS OF SOLITUDE There are times when surreal is so naturally expressed that it becomes real. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Garcia Marquez perfectly combines extraordinary events with everyday life. The magic realism in Marquez's novel transforms the extraordinary into reality by the use of religion, myth and belief systems.
Although these themes make the novel magical, the story is a representation of the reality of Latin America before industrialism with a Civil War going on and the reactions of the people to modernization. The novel also clearly expresses how magic and religion overcome the realities of life - magic becomes more real than reality itself. The theme of religion and different perspectives on issue are introduced by different characters. The indigenous members of the Buendia family are very flexible toward religion.
For example, Jose Arcadio Buendia teases the priest. Most of the Buendias have incestuous relationships. Most of the Buendia men have affairs with prostitutes. These examples do not prove that the Buendias are nonreligious but on the contrary they believe that religion is an institution between God and man itself and no mediators are needed.
As a counter-example on the issue of flexibility on religion in the Buendia family is the newcomer member, Fernanda del Carpio, is strictly religious and an inflexible follower of Cat holism. She gains the control of the Buendia house by imposing her vain religious discipline. Fernanda's nonflexible religious side reaches its climax where she forces her daughter Amaranta Ursula to become a nun because of her relationship with Mauricio Babylonia which Fernanda disapproves and Mauricio is shot and becomes paralyzed in Fernanda's command and their illegitimate son Aureliano is locked into a room. Remedies the Beauty, the daughter of Santa Sofia and Arcadio, floats to heaven and Amaranta, the daughter of Ursula Iguaran and Jose Arcadio Buendia, dies as a virgin. These characters can be also counted as biblical symbols of heaven and Mary the Virgin. One Hundred Years of Solitude can be perceived as the Bible of Macondo since it outlines the genesis and apocalypse of Macondo in which the biblical myths are fulfilled.
Initially, Macondo is an uncivilized, innocent settlement and Jose Arcadio Buendia and Ursula Iguaran populates Macondo as Adam and Eve did the world. Besides, Jose Arcadio Buendia surely represents Adam since he is tied up to a tree because of insanity caused by his quest for knowledge similar to Adam and Eve being exiled from Eden after eating from the Tree of Knowledge. Next biblical figure is the five-year-flood after the massacre which washes away all the memories and evidences of the annihilation which is most likely to be the representation of the biblical flood in the time of Noah which cleansed the world out of evil. The book ends with the apocalyptic destruction of Macondo and Buendias as apocalypse is destined for the world by the Bible. The theme of magic is mostly represented by the prophecies of Melquiades and the novel is the Bible of Macondo for Aureliano who finally deciphers it because the prophecies become the real life of the Buendia family and even the reader of the texts is prophesied by Melquiades - Aureliano. The theme of religion is closely connected to the surrealist technique of Marquez.
Memory is seen as a burden to the characters and forgetting the past allows the story to go in a spiral timeline rather than forward and continuous timeline. At some points, it is impossible to separate the past, present and future as ghosts appear or prophecies are becoming real as Aureliano reads them. Marquez's hyperbolic approach in writing takes the readers into a fantastic world where real and extraordinary is perfectly mixed. Magic is so flawlessly penetrated into the ordinary lives of the characters that the imaginary becomes truer than reality itself.
Marquez does not withdraw from narrating the most terrifying scenes like the massacre that real life itself becomes fantasy. Marquez has the ability to turn bizarre into possible.