Sunday, August 25, 2013

Time Loops in 100 Years of Solitude

When we began discussing the cyclical nature of the Buendia family and the repetition of days, I couldn't help but think of the movie Groundhog Day. The correlation between the movie and 100 Years of Solitude were strikingly similar. For those of you who haven't heard of it, Bill Murray plays Phil Connors, an egotistical weatherman who finds himself stuck in a time loop. When he realizes this he begins to take advantage of everyone he meets, since he doesn't need to worry about any long-term consequences. However, as the days repeat over and over again, he slowly becomes despondent. It is only after he tries to commit suicide multiple times that he re-examines his life and priorities. He learns to become a better person, and falls in love with a woman he keeps failing to acquire. When the time loop is broken he emerges not only with the love of his life, but also as a better person.

So now you might be wondering, how does this relate to 100 Years of Solitude or the Buendia family? Well, I found that just as Phil was stuck in an almost "eternal" time loop, so were the Buendia's. When Jose Arcadio Buendia states, "This is a disaster. Look at the air, listen to the buzzing of the sun, the same as yesterday and the day before. Today is Monday too." I interpreted the Buendia family as being stuck in this time loop that could only be broken by a some type of change, whether that be in personality, actions, or both. Phil becomes stuck in the same day because he is, in a way, being taught a lesson for his past actions. Similarly, the Buendia family becomes stuck due to the various sins they commit (incest, murder, etc). However, unlike in Groundhog Day, the Buendia's never really break their time loop. Although their days are not repeated literally, their history is. They find themselves making the same mistakes generation after generation, and it eventually leads to their downfall. It seems to me as if Marquez is trying to make us realize that by passing on the knowledge of our past mistakes, we can avoid creating the same future.

1 comment:

Kincy GIbson said...

As you compare the movie to the book, the reader realizes the book doesn't have a feel- good ending. Most movies, like this one, end in a solution where the characters learn their lesson and their problems are resolved. By the end of the book, I could predict what was going to happen between each character and how it would lead to their downfall. This drove me crazy because I kept on expecting the family to learn their lesson or at least attempt to listen to Ursula's sparse bits of advice. By the end of the last chapter I was disappointed that the Buendia line had ended, but I knew they would never have had their "movie" ending.