Friday, April 12, 2013

The Cyclical Aspect of Time

Reading The Unbearable Lightness of Being and talking so much about the repetition of time or its cyclical nature, reminds me a lot of the novel we read over the summer, 100 Years of Solitude. In his novel, Marquez demonstrated a lot of incidences wherein time seemed to repeat itself through many different characters and through the establishment and decline of the Macondo civilization. Nietzsche's "Myth of Eternal Return" or "Myth of Eternal Recurrence of Actions" basically says that history is bound to repeat itself, just like time does in Marquez's novel. This concern with time is seen in TULB and Kundera really investigates the way time can affect a character's lightness or heaviness.

7 comments:

wkuehne said...

I agree. There are more thematic similarities between 100 Years of Solitude and ULOB though. Many characters in both books obsess over death. In 100 years of Solitude, the Buendia's seem to be eternal- they never die, they simply become ghosts seperated from their bodies. Sabina's obsession with the dead is obvious- she is fascinated with cemeteries, and believes she can communicate with the dead in one way or another. The idea of soul body duality is explored in both novels as well. In the Buendia's world, sould can become seperated from bodies in the form of ghosts, and in ULOB people posit possible forms of the soul after death.

Austin Falk said...

I agree that there is a lot of repetition in 100 Years of Solitude and ULOB. Both of these novels also talk about a lot of sexual themes. Tomas likes his affairs with women while the Buendia relatives often are having affairs with each other. Neither Thomas or the Buendia's learn from their mistakes which sadly ends up leading to both of their downfalls.

TSHAH said...

That's an interesting comparison Ian, and I agree with you Austin. The characters in ULOB do not really learn from their mistakes in the same manner that Marquez's characters fail to learn from their mistakes. However, in ULOB, characters like Tereza recognize and begin to learn from their mistake. Tereza eventually recognizes that she is not content with the womanizing life that Tomas leads, and thus leading her to have an affair of her own in which she attempts to find herself. In Marquez's "Hundred Years of Solitude", the characters never lean from their mistakes until it is finally to late.

Grant Reggio said...

I totally agree with what everybody has said up until now, and I do find myself thinking back to 100 YOS when considering it. Additionally, I find even more thematic repetition in the form of Kundera's novel. Having each character essentially present the same story through their own perspective is thematically reminiscent of both this idea of repetition and a cyclical nature of time.

Linz A said...

I actually didn't even think about 100 Years of Solitude until I read this, but there are a lot of similarities. I find it interesting that both authors think of time as a cycle that cannot be broken. Cycles in time are not viewed as a positive aspect either. In 100 Years of Solitude, the Buendias are incapable of breaking from their old mistakes, and now in ULOB, Tomas and Tereza are unable to break for the problems of there relationships. Both authors point out the problems with time, but (so far) neither one of them have proposed a solution to the cycle of time. So is the cycle a good thing? Or is it something we are supposed to accept?

Laura N said...

One example of this eternal return is Teresa's life. She left her mother who habitually humiliated and devalued her as a person. When she left her home, Teresa entered into a similarly painful and similarly conflicted relationship with Tomas. Teresa constantly sought approval from these 2 people, and tried to seek something higher for herself, but ultimately her mother and Tomas where centered on heaviness and recognized her for her body and not an individual with a unique soul. Perhaps tereza's life puts herself in similar situations and repeats these painful relationships because they are all she has known as a child. She can't break the cycle because she doesn't know how and if she did she makes a change, she might feel lost because relationships to her mean pain, humiliation and disappointment. I guess this is a just an individual experience but it could inform the greater scheme of things.

TSHAH said...

In “One Hundred Years of Solitude” Marquez is able to tell his story in a non- chronological because he wants to bring focus to the cyclical aspect of time. Personally, I was quite confused as I read Marquez’s novel because events often blended together. I faced a similar situation in “Unbearable Lightness of Being” given that Kundera’s sections do not really follow a chronological order as he too attempts to emphasize the cyclical nature of time. We mentioned in class today that Kundera’s novel feels as if it is never going to end because we as the readers have to piece together the plot from different perspectives told at different times. I believe that the repetition in both novels brings attention to human nature being incapable of change.