Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Future And Death

So, I was reading "Autumn of the Patriarch, Forgetting to Live" and one part of it talked about the first line of the book. "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when hos father took him to discover ice." Well, according to Aaron Bady (I think that's his name), since the first thing we read about Aureliano is his death (well, what we think is his death) before the firing squad. Bady says at first we'll forget about the firing squad, but eventually, as Marquez keeps reminding us of the firing squad, it becomes ingrained in our minds that Aureliano is going to face the firing squad and die. Every time his name is mentioned, we know him as a dead man. So for a few chapters before we find out that he doesn't actually die, Aureliano is a walking dead man to us. Bady says, "...we will read the story already knowing the end. To the extent that we remember his death, he is already dead even before it happens." But, in my opinion, Aureliano's death is not the only one that is predicted. Amaranta predicts her own death and dies calmly and prepared, we are told before hand that Arcadio thinks of Remedios while he is facing a firing squad, and at far in advance Marquez tells us of the deaths of all seventeen sons of Aureliano. Throughout the whole book there is always at least one character who we know, or at least we think we know, how and when he or she will die. Which basically means there are a bunch of dead people walking around the Buenida house - ghosts in their own right. I think this just adds to the magical realism of the book, since we are allowed the glimpse the future and know the fate of each Buendia family member, but I think that makes us associate death with each character even though that character is still alive in the book. So even though there are ghosts wandering around the Buendia household, there's also the Buendias themselves who mix life and death.

1 comment:

Madeline Davis said...

Going off of this, the "living ghosts" would essentially make Macondo a ghost town. Perhaps Marquez used this as an extended metaphor and statement on post colonialism, implying that because the Buendias and Macondo are so closely linked, Macondo was always doomed to its tragic fate of corruption and destruction. The outside influences of the Banana company and new technological advances worked against the advancement of the town and accelerated the downfall and official deaths of the Buendia family and Macondo itself.