Wednesday, August 20, 2008

100 Years of Solitude


Incest, anyone? How does incest drive the plot in this novel? (Or just post your random observations about the novel here.)

24 comments:

Taylor Michals said...

I thought the incest was really gross yet slightly humorous at the same time, with Ursula's whole pig tail myth and what not. I really liked how in the end, the child was actually born with the pig's tail. I'm not really sure what this blogging thing is all about, so let me know if i did it right.

Dean Elazab said...

Well yes, but the family had a long history of incest. So this was just the one who had a birth. the tail thing is showing the family going full circle with the guy at the beginning dieing from cutting his off

puddlewonderful said...

May I just say how thoroughly pleased I am to see this topic?

With comrade Sigmund on my shoulder I'd like to point out the Freudian implications of the Buendias' incestuous tendencies. It was always aunts and nephews (Amaranta/Aureliano Jose, Amaranta Ursula/Aureliano), and in both cases the aunts acted as maternal figures to their nephews. Freud believed that all male children naturally "desired" their mothers, but grew out of it, with aid from a father figure they could first hate, and then aspire to be like. Both boys had no real father figure, which may partially explain their feelings/actions. Of course I'm no expert in Freudian psychology, but one must wonder if Marquez was at all influenced by our dear friend Freud...

Also I think in a way the first Arcadio and Ursula set the incestuous tone for the novel. They are cousins and had fears (well, Ursula did) about the effects their incest would have on their children. Like Taylor said, the pig tail on the last Buendia was neat, in a way-- it gave the novel a nice circular close-- like Dean said.

El Paco said...

I agree with the Freudian scrupulousness with which you analyzed the incest. When I was reading the novel I never made that connection, but after reading "puddlewonderful's" post, it all just sort of snapped into place. The Wikipedia page on Marquez didn't mention any particular influence of Freud, but wikipedia could always be wrong (though I highly doubt it). Either way, I believe the connection between the Buendia's incest and Freud's philosophy is incredibly astute - unless, of course, it was made by Mrs. Scandurro or Dr. Mooney, in which case, nevermind, you've been doing this for years.

joel derby said...

I agree that Marquez certainly appears to have been influenced by Freud, but I don't understand what happened and what was imagined, the Massacre for example, did it actually happen?

dean said...

The massacre happened, in a "1984" way the government covered up the event and erased it from history. The people of macondo believed the government, but when one aureliano was a child, he said that the massacre did happen in his "prophetic" tone that has been passed down the family line.

El Paco said...

Maybe Marquez was interested by Joyce, too. Incest creates mutations, mutations are genetic, the field of genetics was discovered by Gregor Mendell, Gregor Mendell worked with peas, peas are sometimes green, and green represents Ireland. Therefore, the incest of the Buendias' is really just a commentary on the repression of early 20th century Ireland.

El Paco said...

and by interested I meant influenced

Ehren said...

I though Marquez used incest to point out some of the dirtier aspects of life that occur but get ignored because they are taboo.

Mr. Plainview said...

It seems to me Gaston could have saved Macondo. If he had only left and taken Amaranta Ursula with him, Aureliano may not have been conceived. Thus, of course, no little piggy would fulfill any prophecy and Macondo would have survived well past a mere 100 years.

Dean Elazab said...

I think Gaston was merely a pawn for Amarmanta, who literally pulled him with a string. I think he would never have had the drive to do anything for a dying town.

puddlewonderful said...

Mr. Plainview touches on a really interesting point-- are there aspects of predestination to this novel? Melquiades predicts the future-- which means that the future is inflexible-- which means that it is predestined. Yesterday Doc asked if the incest between Ursula and Jose Arcadio (the first) damns the Buendias. In an sense, it must; Melquiades predicted early on the consequences of their first union, the long resulting family tree that would terminate with the pig-tailed Aureliano.

Dean Elazab said...

But is time predestined? or is it simply repeating for macondo and meleiquandez realizes it and flows with it.

puddlewonderful said...

Time in the book is cyclical, right? But Ursula and Jose Arcadio determine the events that repeat themselves. Circular time doesn't negate predestination.

Stephen Gieger said...

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Stephen Gieger said...

I agree with Taylor's comments about the pig tail myth and believe that it was incorporated into the novel to add to the mystical apsects of the novel. Marquez incorporated incest into the novel to enhance the apsect of solitude as it pertains to the Buendia family and the macondo city as a whole.

john posin said...

It seems to me like the mystical nature of life in the early days of Macondo gets replaced by the new technology brought into the city later by the railroad and civilization: no more ghosts, no more spontaneous ascension into heaven. I mentioned this in class before - it's as if technology takes the place of mysticism, as man wields the power that before, as I think Ursula put it, was "reserved for the gods." Here I think Marquez is implying that any strong outside influence, not necessarily just technology, can often squelch the traditions and folklore of a more solitary culture that has developed in a bubble, such as Macondo, or possibly even Marquez's native home of Colombia?

Expanding on that, I think it's pretty clear that Marquez intends for Macondo to be a metaphorical representation of Colombia. Many of the wars, conflicts, and events in 100 Years of Solitude mirror events in Marquez's life, such as the massacre of the banana workers. Maybe not so much the incest, but well... actually, I don't really know how they do it down there in Colombia. Maybe that's how they like it... not judging anyone, just sayin'.

puddlewonderful said...

I agree with John! And to add a bit to what he's saying, perhaps the incest is a commentary, or a critique, of Latin American isolationist sentiment.

san agostino said...

Precisely.

michelle scandurro said...

spike? is that you?

Margaret said...

I agree with John. When I was reading the book, I thought it was technology that was the ultimate downfall of Macondo. The Garden of Eden stuff is like plain as day, and it seemed like Melquiades (spelling?) introduced the technology that would drive the first Buendia insane and then set the next events in motion. Technology here pretty much symbolizing the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil (I think someone said that in class). But after Dr. Mooney discussed the incest issue, I started to think it was really the incest that started it all. It was like the Original Sin. There was fault in them to begin with, before they got to Macondo. They were trying to begin anew because they were running from their past (Buendia unable to live with the fact he murdered that guy). So, I suppose technology was the downfall of Macondo, but not of the Buendia family.

I really loved how the child in the end was born with a pig's tail. It completed the novel beautifully lol. I agree with everyone else when they say it was Marquez showing that history is cyclical. And I agree with Michelle when she pointed out that the incest reflects Columbia's xenophobia in a time of rampant colonialism. But really, how else is a country supposed to act? It's only natural to want to protect what you already have. Marquez shows how detrimental the Western influence was on Macondo, and therefore Columbia as a whole, and maybe even on all oppressed countries with foreign influences.

Margaret said...

When I was reading, I also thought that the ants were like nature/Garden of Eden retaking what was theirs from the beginning. But now, I think it's Macondo reverting back to pre-settlement, pre-colonialism, and therefore pre-corruption times. Also, it showed the whole cyclical time thing.

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