Wednesday, September 2, 2015

City of Mirrors

I mentioned in class today how Macondo, named the city of mirrors, really acts like a mirror. A mirror reflects a clear image. When one looks into a mirror, they see a reflection of themselves. In 100 Years, there are so many characters with repeating names (e.g. Jose Arcadio, Aureliano, Remedios). Johnston said in his article, "Once a person has been named then the major characteristics of his or her life have been determined, and the person is doomed to repeat the events of the lives of their ancestors" (6). Time in Macondo is cyclical. The Buendia family history is obsessively circular. The characters in this book experience the same events as the characters with the same names before them. It is as if they looked into a mirror and instead of seeing them as themselves, they see a reflection of their ancestors because they are essentially the same person. There is not a large sense of individual identity in this book. Macondo is reflecting like a mirror in the sense that it reflects repeating history.


3 comments:

Madison Cummings said...

I hadn’t thought much about fact that Macondo is called “the city of mirrors” until you brought it up, so I am glad you did! I also would like to mention that this comparison and the cyclical repetition is linked to the idea that the characters have a predetermined future, relating to the theme of fate in the novel. As soon as a character is given a certain name, it is as if their futures are suddenly locked into place. They must have similar personalities and behave like the characters with the same names that had lived before them. No one really had their own free will to determine or change their own future because it was all written down in the parchments by Melquiades beforehand. Even when certain characters would attempt to change their own path, they were never able to achieve that freedom.

Ashley Bossier said...

I agree with both Madison and Abbey. I also think it is interesting that not only a person's name but also their sex determines how they act. As Johnston pointed out, "the men are characterized by an obsessive repetitiveness to their lives." (pg 7) Every man in this novel becomes obsessed with something wether its an obsession with new technologies or making little golden fish then melting them down again, all of the men are obsessed with something. The women on the other hand are "firmly anchored in daily reality, as obsessed as the men, but with the routines of daily living." (pg 7) Instead of being obsessed with repetitiveness, they are interested in breaking taboo and focused on the house and family. Johnston makes a really interesting point when he says, "The men suffer from an enduring lack of the reality principle; whereas, the women are incased in it." (pg 7) I think that this one sentence really captures the general personalities of all the men and women in this novel.

Jac said...

Abbey is so right - Macondo, the city of mirrors, does act like a mirror. The mirrors project he past. Like the past, when you looks into a mirror, you can see a reflection of yourself, but you also see a reflection of what has happened previously in your life. By repeating the names you get a sense of confusion. The mirror aspect also brings up the question of identity. Who really are the people of Macondo? Who are the Buendias? Is Aureliano Secundo really an "Aureliano" or is he the same as Jose Arcadio Secundo, or is he an individual? It is intriguing to consider who the Buendias see themselves as, other than just "Buendias."