Tuesday, October 25, 2011
We discussed this a little bit back in August when we were talking about our summer reading books, but it seems to me that ants are a common symbol of decay and death in literature and art. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, the ants appeared as the house was decaying and as a symbol of ultimate decay at the end when they consume the last Aureliano. The Buendias have been destroyed by ants. Also in The Tin Drum, the ants appear when the Russian soldiers enter the cellar where Oskar and the others are. This is the scene where Matzerath dies, but Oskar is solely focused on the ants.
I am blogging about this today because we talked briefly about Dali's The Persistence of Memory in class today. Dali painted this in the mist of the turmoil between the two World Wars. I think it is interesting how most critics noted that Dali is emphasizing the relative nature of time with the melting clocks. Furthermore, I think that the ants on the clock could signify the end of "man-created" time. Ants are certainly a powerful symbol.