Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Hiding the harm

As we discussed the different sections of the book today in class, we talked about the play in pill boxes during the Tin Drum. While the play is going on, Lankes open fires on a nun. (which is just morally wrong.) But Grass uses the play to diminish the tragedy of the murder. I thought this was similar to the Massacre in 100 Years. Both authors use magical realism to cover up horrible events. No one believed that the massacre even occured in Macondo, and they all thought Segundo was just making up the whole story. While in the Tin Drum, although we know the murder did happen, Grass tries to make light of the situation by adding the element of the play to distract us from fully understanding what just occurred.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

There Was Once A Drummer...

Here is a trailer for the 1979 movie The Tin Drum.

Oskar is a small child who has the tin drum and glass shattering voice. It depicts scenes from Oskar's life such as his schooling, his two "presumptive" fathers, his affairs with mistresses, the fizz powder scene, the Nazi rallies, and his traveling troupe. The scenes with older women are really weird, because Oskar is a little boy and he is in bed with a grown woman. From what I can tell, it looks like a really disturbing movie. I think it does, however, accurately portray the insanity of Oskar.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Lost in Translation?

After today's class, I became intrigued by translations of literature, particularly for The Tin Drum. So, once again I began looking around on the internet and found this video of Gunter Grass and Breon Mitchell:

It's a bit hard to understand Grass in the beginning, but if you listen carefully you can hear him comment on the problems of translating the Danzig slang he uses in the novel. For example, later in the video Mitchell begins speaking about how he had a lot of trouble trying to place his finger on a synonym for the Danzig word "girl" other then "girl," because it didn't sound quite right.

I think this really poses the question of how true translated literature can really be compared to its original form. We can't possibly learn every language of the world so translations will just have to do. A citation regarding the novel says, "Mitchell makes us aware that even good work, such as Ralph Manheim's respected earlier translation, bears improvement..."( This just goes to show that translations can never be one hundred percent like the original.

Friday, August 26, 2011

All About the Symbols

So I was looking around online for something interesting related to One Hundred Years of Solitude and came upon this video:

It was a project created by a student for a graphics class. Other then the technical specs, what really impressed me were the simple symbols the creator used. Although text was used, not a single word was spoken and the artist managed to represent many of the key characters through a symbol or significant event the Marquez has linked with the character. For example, Aureliano was, quite obviously, represented by gold fish but more creatively, Meme was portrayed with her lover and a flow of butterflies.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

If I Were Going to Write an Essay Topic

If I were going to write an essay I'd probably pick biblical themes/symbols. I think these symbols are important to the novel especially because religion is important to many of the characters (like Ursula and Fernanda in particular), to the culture of Macondo and the culture of the region it represents. I'd write about Macondo as Eden with Jose Arcadio (I) as Adam like we mentioned in class. In the beginning it all seems pretty ideal in the beginning especially with that line about the world "being so recent it was necessary to point" which goes back to Adam naming everything. Also Jose Arcadio is similar to Adam again when his search for knowledge ends in his eventual madness with him tied to a tree. The next point might be Amaranta's virginity and her connection to the Virgin. When death visits and speaks to her near the end of her life when she's sewing her shroud, Death comes to her in the form of a woman in blue and white (Mary's colors) and I think this is probably a symbol for Mary and fate. On her deathbed Amaranta says she has nothing to confess which may be because she feels sort of vindicated by the specter of Death that visited her which would maybe hint at some intervention by the Virgin herself. The third biblical theme might be the allusions to the bible through out the book. The years of rain are similar to Noah and at one point I think one of the characters said something about it felt during the rains as if he 'married Noah's wife' (I think it was Aureliano Segundo...) Anyway another allusion was made about Aureliano (Meme's kid) when Fernanda told everybody in the house that he was found in a basket floating down the river. Finally I think Remedios the Beauty's ascension is pretty important symbolically. I think the reaction Fernanda and Jose Arcadio (the one who was supposed to be the Pope but turned out to be kind of a creep) is pretty important to note. Those who, who claim to be the most pious in the entire family, are the only two that resent the ascension (maybe out of secret jealousy); Fernanda is indigent that she took her sheets with her to Heaven and her son, the one who was supposed to be Pope, even tried to use his priestly powers to ask that she be sent back to earth at one point. What's kind of ironic is that the characters most closely connected to organized religion seem to be less religious than the ones who don't go to Church like Jose Arcadio (I) for example (with the exception being Ursula.) This is a much longer post than I thought it was going to be....

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Essay Topic

To me, the most interesting aspect of the book is the magical realism.
The author has no boundaries and can really get a point using magical realism. One example is that was mentioned in class is Remedios ascending to heaven versus the massacre. The author makes a strong point by using a fantastic event to show how history alters human perception.

My essay topic

I would write my essay about the house as it's own character. It goes through changes as the people change. The house starts off as small just like the other houses but it becomes a mansion. This is reflective of the Buendia family's rise to power in Macando. Also, the furniture that goes into the house brings in western influence. Lastly, I would discuss that in times of poverty the house becomes decrepit and in times of wealth the house looks almost regal.

If I were to write an essay...

I would write about Ursula and her many roles within the novel. Ursula in a way is the backbone of the Buedia family. She is the more level headed member of the family and counter acts Jose Arcadia's (the patriarch) free spirit. I would analyze her behavior and how she maintains a stable home for the rest of the Buendia family. This would lead me to the topic of Ursula and Jose Arcadio's love. I feel that even though Jose Arcadio is mostly isolated due to his scientific experiments and search for new things, Ursula still loves him and cares about him. Specifically when he stays out by the tree for long periods of time; she still takes the time to go out and tell him about everything that is going on the families life, and she still wishes he would help guide the family. One example of Ursula's level head is on page 13. Jose Arcadio wishes to move away from Macondo and Ursula takes charge and does what is best for the family.

If Ursula was not as strong willed as she is, I feel like the family would have fallen apart long before it did.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

If I were to write an essay...

If I were to write an essay right now, I would probably examine the idea of Macondo being a microcosm. Specifically, I would focus on the techniques that Marquez uses to maintain the microcosm effect such as: the portrayal of time, incest...

Both of these factors really do the same thing. By skewing time, and having characters that seem to live for ever, surviving near death experiences, and overcoming old age, the story stays constant character-wise. It's the same with incest. Because Marquez's character breed amongst each other, it narrows the character base down significantly. It keeps Macondo small, and it focuses all the attention down to a single, in-bred family, making it very obvious whenever there is an outsider in their midst.

I also would touch on the why Marquez would choose to employ a microcosm in his writing. There are lots of reasons: to have a clean slate (it gives the author total power over their story), to be able to mimic latin american countries without having to include all the historical factors that Mrs. Quinet talked about today, to be able to mimic a creation story...

It's late. I hope this made some sense...

100 Years to Live

So, I am making the second blog post of the year in response to Ms. King's question about writing an essay on One Hundred Years of Solitude.

My first thoughts about writing an essay about this novel would be to write about the outside influence, such as technology, into Macondo. I believe that Marquez wanted to negatively portray the West to show that it does not always bring positive influences and can lead to the end of a civilization. The gypses represented the first contract that the Buendias had with the outside world. They are the links to the outside world and bring new technologies to the town that drive some men crazy such as Jose, the patriarch, and also his son Colonel Aureliano, who retreats to his workshop towards the end of his life. I would also talk about the railroad and the banana plantation’s impact on Macondo. The railroad’s era is the duration of when Macondo is very closely connected with the outside world. The railroad represents the turning point for the town, because before it the town was “progressing” and after its creation the town began to degenerate and start to crumble. The banana planation also shows that industry can lead to death and turmoil. The workers eventually revolt against the imperialism and they are killed and unfortunately are forgotten. I believe that the modernity trumps the tradition that characters like Ursula tried to maintain in the home. I could probably also include other symbols such as ice, the English encyclopedia, or even the piano (it is a positive part of the West). Also, I thought of the townspeople as similar to the Native Americans and their fascination with technologies that explorers brought over to the New World, such as metals, clothing and horses. But, the explorers also brought about diseases that the Indians couldn’t handle and caused many of them to die out. These diseases could be compared with the insomnia that Rebeca brought to Macondo. Just some thoughts…

- Ravin

[There’s never a wish better than this when you only got a hundred years to live...]

If I were to write an essay...

Alright, so I guess I'll go ahead and make the first blog post of the year in response to Ms. King's question about writing an essay on One Hundred Years of Solitude.

If I were to sit down right now and write an essay, I think I would choose to analyze the characteristics and traits of each of the characters and how these play into their repeated names and relationships among each other. For example, I would describe the distinct nature of the "Aurelianos" versus that of the "Jose Arcadios" except of course for the Segundo twins. This would lead me into discussion about how most of the "Aurelianos" such as the Colonel isolated themselves from the world. Colonel Aureliano avoided forming emotional relationships such as when Ms. King mentioned that he did not even seem effected after Remedios' death. Furthermore I would discuss the boisterous nature of the "Jose Arcadios." For example, Jose Arcadio Buendia (the patriarch) exhibited characteristics distinctive to his namesake when he hot-handedly slayed Prudencio Aguilar. His son, Jose Arcadio also displayed such characteristics when he quickly ran off with the gypsies and returned with a disruptive nature and married Rebecca who was still engaged to Pietro Crespi.