Saturday, August 30, 2014

Márquez & Politics

While reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, I paid close attention to how Marquez revealed his political beliefs through the novel. I think that it is clear that Marquez is an anti imperialist and that he definitely sides and shows support for socialism. He criticizes the Conservatives greatly and speaks of their corruption. Marquez reveals his anti imperialist views through thr banana massacre and how it helped to lead and quicken Macondo's demise. However, it seemed to me that sometimes Marquez didn't always show complete support of the revolutionary forces.  Through colonel Aureliano Buendia, the reader is able to see how pointless these wars are because they don't always lead to progression. They become repetive. I think this definitely is Marquez trying to portray Latin American politics as a whole, for revolutions were iniated frequently during this time. Most of the revolutions had the same vision, which was to replace Conservative regimes with a more socialist government. They were very unorganized and many were seen as useless as Colonel Aureliano Buemdia did. Also, Marquez was a friend of Fidel Castro and supported the Cuban revolutionaries, which definitely tells us a lot about his political ideology. Despite his support for socialism, I think Marquez didn't side with revolutionaries always. I think he tries to make that point that the Conservatives needed to be overthrown but that revolutionaries did cause some corruption also and didn't always do what was best for the people, but instead often fought for pride.

Quote from Faulkner's Requiem for a Nun

"The past is never dead. It's not even the past."

Faulkner was one of Marquez's influences as a writer and I believe this quote from his Requiem for a Nun can be related to One Hundred Years of Solitude. The work was written in 1950, and the quote above is one of the best known. The idea that the past is never dead appears many times in One Hundred Years of Solitude, as the patriarch, Jose, is constantly haunted by the ghost of Prudencio. This ghost is even the reason that he decides to pack up and move from his town, planning to find another or make his own. The ghost of Prudencio appears in many parts of the novel, and becomes one of the only companions that Jose I (patriarch) acknowledges while tied to the tree. Another character, Melquiades, comes back to life from death. He can be seen shambling around the family's house and generally just hanging around. These instances prove that, in One Hundred Years of Solitude, the past and present often mix together and people who have died still seem to influence the the living characters. Since One Hundred Years of Solitude was written in 1967, it is possible that this quote and Requiem for a Nun expressed some of Faulkner's ideas to Marquez and are present in his work.

Friday, August 29, 2014

Rough Map of Macondo Area

While looking at this map and re-reading the part of the book which details the Macondo region, I noticed something, which I felt conflicted with what we saw in the movie about Márquez. After tireless exploration, José Arcadio Buendía discovers that “Macondo is surrounded by water on all sides,” and exclaims, “God damn it!” This upsets José because he feels that the water fences them off from the rest of the world, that their town is trapped in its own solitude and stuck with nothing interesting. The city does become more exciting, however, as it grows. I then thought back to Márquez’s thoughts on coastal and inland cities, as revealed in the video. The way Macondo is seen at the beginning of the book matches Márquez’s idea of boring, inland cities, while later on it reflects his view of fun, coastal ones. So, in a way, Márquez defies his own feelings and rules. Márquez does this constantly with literary “rules” throughout the novel, and makes every situation unique and different from what we would expect. For example, most of us thought the book would finish with the Colonel’s death because of the first line, but that turned out to be the middle, not the end. The strange, and sometimes seemingly random, turns the story takes make the novel interesting, and I think that they are a central part of Marquez’s writing style in One Hundreds Years of Solitude. What are your thoughts on Marquez’s ability to create the unexpected?

Link to picture:

Tribute to Marquez

Due to the recent death of Marquez, I attempted to find a tribute video honoring his death. What I discovered pleasantly surprised me. Columbia's President, Juan Manuel Santos, declared three days of mourning. In the video, citizen interviews show the respect and appreciation of Marquez and all of his work as an author and Poet Laureate. People everywhere mourned the death of Marquez, while still celebrating him and remembering his honor. 

Christian References

One Hundred Years of Solitude has numerous references and allusions to the Bible. Macondo as a creation story and the rain for days were some of the most prominent ones. One reference to Christianity that really stood out to me were the ash crosses that marked Colonel Aureliano Buendia's sons. The ash crosses, used by the Church to mark people's forehead on Ash Wednesday, announce the beginning of Lent.  Lent ultimately leads to the death of Christ, the crucifixion. I think Marquez uses the crosses to foreshadow Colonel Aureliano's Buendia sons' death as ashes are a symbol of preparing for death. Once the sons get the ashes on their foreheads, it is almost like a pronouncement of their own deaths. The crosses also serve as targets. The crosses make it very easy to identify the sons, and they are shot in the forehead on the cross. Another idea that came to me was that maybe the crosses signify that the sons of Colonel Aureliano Buendia are victims of the Church and of organized religion. Since Marquez fails to promote organized religion, maybe he is also saying these sons are examples of "victims" of the Church, which leads to death.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Pretty Hurts

Even though this is a famous song by Beyonce, many of the men who flocked towards Remedios the Beauty realized shortly after that her beauty was just a lead to death. Remedios' body screamed  stereotypical beauty. But my question to you all is what makes a person beautiful? Is it just mere physical appearance or is it something deeper? Many people of the family thought Remedios to be "retarded" while some thought she was intelligent in her own way. Do brains make a person sexy? I believe that it is in the eyes of the beholder because love is blind. But if you look just in Remedios' case it seems that it isn't love leading the men but another member that seems to do the picking. Does anyone really have beauty at all? Is it an idea made in the minds of men and women to describe why we are choosey in who we like? I

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Blurred Lines... What is Reality?

Today in class we discussed how Gabriel Garcia Marquez blurred the line between reality and fiction. in One Hundred Years of Solitude. We all admitted to not knowing whether the Banana Company riot was true or completely fictional. Considering this, I began to wonder what else throughout the story was real or not. As we study, I'm interested in discovering more about Latin American history and decoding the authenticity of events in the novel. When Marquez died in April 2014, his works and legacy were remembered and honored throughout the world. The Washington Post published an article about Marquez and his legacy. They refer to an article written by writer Paul West in 1970. An excerpt from the article reads "Above all, Garcia Marquez (via his translator) feeds the mind's eye non-stop, so much so that you soon begin to feel that never has what we superfically call the surface of life had so many corrugations and configurations, so much bewilderingly impacted detail, or men so grandiose movements and tics, bizarre stances and airs". The detail and stories that Garcia packs into One Hundred Years of Solitude blurs the line between reality and fiction. This quote really epitomizes that blend and sums up the essence of the novel. Thoughts?

Here's the full article:

Devil's Advocate

So, a lot of talk of how weird incest has arisen because of the premises set forth in Hundred Years of Solitude, and Isabel even did a blog post on it last week, however, I don't quite understand why it's so bad other than the fact that it's taboo. Typically people point to the higher risk for birth defects argument, however, that only becomes a really prominent problem if the incest has been going on for generations. Even so, if other people that have known genetic illnesses are allowed to breed, why shouldn't they be allowed to if love is truly there? So I pose the question to y'all, other than the fact that it's "weird," why is it so bad?
Here is a link to the article that I quoted from today.  I found this years ago, and honestly, I haven't read it in its entirety in a while.  Therefore, I can't speak with confidence to the article's credibility, but here you go.  The author even mentions Milan Kundera.  :)

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Photos, Responsibility, Guilt, and Suicide

Just a thought about Unbearable Lightness and Tereza's photos. We discussed how, in some ways, PHOTOS = proof of everything the Communists were doing and how CAMERA = weapon. But what if we took it further and said that the regime using Tereza's photos against her is kind of like the guilt of the Czech people for standing by. Tereza did not foresee the consequences of taking the photo, but she is still "guilty" of taking it. In the same way, the Czech people may not have know exactly what would happen if they chose to fight or not to fight the Soviets, but they are still partially responsible for the results.

Also, and this is definitely stretching it, it kind of goes to what I was saying earlier about the theme of suicides popping up in Czech film. Turning the knife on oneself by not taking action or by unknowingly providing propaganda for the enemy. Alex, do you call bull on this one or nah?

Why all the incest?

So today a friend of mine asked me, "Why does all of our class work have to be about either feminism, incest, or both?" This, of course, is false. About 5% of the time we discuss feces or wet dreams about the Virgin Mary (I'm looking at you, Stephen Daedalus). But I digress. Basically, it got me thinking about why incest is such a prominent theme in the literature we choose to study, specifically One Hundred Years of Solitude. With our discussion of the different meanings of "solitude" today, I considered how in a sense SOLITUDE = ISOLATIONIST = KEEP IT IN THE FAMILY. The incestuous trend in the Buendia family is their way of staying solitary even within the community of Macondo. Also, not too get too gross here, but the incest in the book in a sense is generations "coming together," playing directly into Marquez's mushed-together conception of time. As repulsive as the topic is to me, I also find it fascinating how Marquez uses incest to add layers of meaning to the themes and title of the book.

Sunday, August 24, 2014


As I do more and more research into the Prague Springs incident, I can't help but notice something kinda funny in my eyes. In Prague, progressivism is viewed as trying to create a more democratic society with more capitalist influences to help the economy. Meanwhile in the western world on the other side of the iron curtain, progressivism is viewed as leaning towards more socialistic policies. So my question is which policies are actually progressive? Is it a middle ground - a balance between the two theories of economy? Is there a third undiscovered theory that will arise? Or are we simply blindly following trends that will benefit us the most as they come and go as we fall into mob mentality? What do y'all think?

Fight the MAn

Protest music is key in inciting rebellion. I mean a killer guitar riff can truly incite strong feelings in anyone. It may not be the best vocals and such - but hey, its better than that brainwashed synthetic stuff the radio stations play, so I encourage you to listen to the Plastic People of the Universe (a punk czech protest band) and listen to it and to another rebellion band that really isn't that great but well known, that's right, the Sex Pistols. Who do y'all think would win this battle of the bands?

Links to songs:
Plastic People:
Sex Pistols:

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Macroscopic and Microscopic Communism

I enjoyed how Milan Kundera delineated all facets of communism by exploring not only the macroscopic, group-oriented aspects but also the microscopic, individual ones. For instance, he described at length the "band-wagon effect" that hypnotized the Czech public that communism would benefit their country and also their immediate regret when the command system had taken its toll. Further, he portrayed the psyche of Tereza's mother in great detail - she exemplified communism applied to everyday life by walking around naked (i.e. - the body could not be private because that would entail private ownership), reading Tereza's diary (i.e. - no such thing as "intellectual property"), and refusing to let Tereza lock the bathroom door (i.e. - the bathroom was to remain a public place at all times, no private places existed). Thus, through one person and one group of people, Kundera effectively revealed the fundamental aspects of communism to the reader.

Quote by Milan Kundera About Dogs

Dogs are our link to paradise. They don’t know evil or jealousy or discontent. To sit with a dog on a hillside on a glorious afternoon is to be back in Eden, where doing nothing was not boring – it was peace."        

I found this quote by Kundera interesting when I thought about Karenin, the dog in The Unbearable Lightness of Being, and how it relates to two quotations from the narrator in the book. The first quotation explains how “dog time moves in a circle like the hands of a clock, which-they, too, unwilling to dash madly ahead-turn round and round the face, day in and day out following the same path.” This is the only time in the book that the narrator, and thus Kandera, agrees with Nietzsche’s idea of eternal return but he makes sure to distinguish it from human time on earth, which he considers linear. Later on in the novel, however, Kundera does give an example of human time moving similarly to dog time. The narrator says, “Life in Paradise was not like following a straight line to the unknown; it was an adventure. It moved in a circle among known objects. Its monotony bred happiness.” So if a dog lives the way humans will live in Paradise, then they are truly our link to Eden, as Kundera has said in the quote above. Kundera even says that sitting with a dog is like returning to Eden. The novel also states, “Adam was like Karenin.” So, by inference, we can conclude that, in the Garden of Eden, man experienced time they way animals do now, in a circular fashion. We can also possibly say that, based on Kundera’s words, Adam was not fully human because he was “like Karenin.” He experienced time as a circle while in Eden and, since to be human is to experience time linearly, Adam was never truly human.

Exposing the Invasion

I think that this photograph represents two things. The fact that this citizen is willing to die for his country is powerful, but also think of him taking off his clothes. He is exposing himself to the officers. He knows what they want is his privacy. They want him to feel naked and reveal every detail of his being. I wanted to get you guys opinions on the thoughts that this photo brings to you.


The concept of vertigo is something that really struck me in unbearable lightness. Tereza goes through a period of time when she desires to be light towards, for she desires to have intercourse with a cook and to completely change her ways so that they carry less "weight." She claims she is experiencing "vertigo," the desire to fall. I thought it was interesting that in order for a person to fall they must have a sense of lightness. Therefore, vertigo represents living in lightness. As Tereza desires to be light and be more experimental as Tomas is, she longs to fall and experience vertigo. I think that vertigo represents not only a desire to fall but a desire to fall into a state of lightness. The title of the novel "Unbearable Lightness of Being" explains how human nature naturally desires to be light. Tomas constantly experiences this desire unlike Tereza, and he is able to live a "light' life most of the time because of his desire to fall. When one falls, one is free, light, and carries no weight. If one does not live in vertigo and experience it, that means one holds on to some heaviness or weight that prevents a person from falling.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Warning May Sound Ridiculous: Thoughts on Nietzsche’s Eternal Return

While thinking back to our in class discussion on eternal return, I managed to give myself the most massive headache I had ever experienced. The headache stemmed not from the idea that we experience the same things over and over again for the rest of time (somehow...), but rather from the thought of how we experience one life repeatedly. Does each individual simply live to their allotted age, as decided for them by the creator, then wait for the world to be reborn in fire and, perhaps, start again exactly the way it had begun before? Or do we live the same life over and over without realizing it because we are simultaneously living the same life in a different dimension? Now I know what you are thinking, this really should have nothing to do with science fiction and how dare I compare Nietzsche’s idea to fictional situations we can often see on television. But if you think about it, is it really so impossible that there are other places that run at a time slightly off from our own, with identical people inside of them making indistinguishable decisions from our own? Are the shows on television that include parallel and identical dimensions truly nonsense, or are they unintentionally visions of what might actually be happening right now without us knowing. I would like to know what other people’s input on this may be because at this point in time, or in this dimension, or whatever I have no idea exactly how we live the same lives repeatedly according to Nietzsche’s eternal return.