Friday, August 23, 2013

Inception: Solitude within Solitude within Solitude

The most puzzling aspect of 100 Years of Solitude to me is the metaphorical meaning/usage of solitude. Literally I understand the use of solitude in the novel. Several of the characters seclude themselves after dealing with traumatic events. For example, Rebeca withdraws from society after the death of her husband, Jose Arcadio. I personally am not a widow, but I can see how loosing a spouse would lead a person to withdraw. However, the deeper meaning of solitude in the novel is not quite as clear to me. Miranda pointed out to me that essentially all of the Buendias die alone or in solitude. This rather depressing observation got me thinking about the cyclical nature of the Buendia family. Frankly, I find it rather frustrating how members of the Buendia family constantly make the same mistakes as their family members. For example, you'd think they would have eventually figured out the whole incest issue. Nope. They continue to reproduce with siblings, cousins, ect. until they finally pop out a kid with a pigs tail. Why can't they just learn from each other's mistakes? I mean, they basically have a collective memory. Did various mistakes and consequences just not make the collection?

Essentially the Buendia family faces its 100 years of solitude, until eventually they become extinct. However, maybe within the entire family's solitude, each Buendia lives within their own solitude. As Miranda pointed out, they essentially all die alone. Maybe they simply can't learn from each other's mistakes because they are prevented by their own personal seclusion.

This theory makes me question the overall "collectiveness" of the family. Yes, they appear to share memories. Yes, they share names like it's nobody's business. And yes, they share their own special, incestuous blood. Aside from these common threads, the family really only has one thing holding them together- Ursula. Each Buendia lives such diverse lives (except when various brothers decide to share lovers) that there's really no significant common thread. As we talked about in class, they're connected by the glue that is Ursula, at least until her death.
I mean, I don't seem to recall any mention of Buendia family Scrabble nights.

1 comment:

Miranda Martinez said...

I would also like to elaborate on my statement that they "all die alone." Each family member has their own form of solitude, as Brooke stated. However, through solitude each character finds their own version of tranquility. For example, Colonel Aureliano Buendia finds peace in the making of his little gold fishes, yet he is in solitude. I interpret solitude as the point in which the characters are isolated in their own contentment, whether that be having sex with Pilar, making gold fishes, lost in blindness, or dying alone.