Friday, September 4, 2015

Repetition

I think it is very interesting that in both novels we have read repetition seems to be a big theme. The Unbearable Lightness of Being starts off talking about eternal return. If you forgot, it talks about how human existence doesn't matter at all compared the infinite time. ULoB also talks about how humans are never happy because they live a linear life, but Karenin is happy because he lives the same live over and over again every day. I was thinking of this idea when I was writing my response to Abbey's post about the town of mirrors. If everyone in 100 years is reliving their ancestors lives, then shouldn't they have learned from their ancestors mistakes? If they learned from their ancestors, the family would be happy because they live such a circular life! I fell like the longer life goes on for the Buendia family, the more depressed they become. This is because they haven't learned from their mistakes. I believe if they would have paid a bit more attention to their ancestors' choices, the family and the town wouldn't have been swept up by the wind.

5 comments:

Madison Cummings said...

I also think that they would be happier if they were able to take their ancestors mistakes into account. But, like we talked about in class last week, I think it is so difficult for them to do so because they have a very clouded view of their family’s past. First of all, I think this stems from the incestuous relationships between family members that we discussed in class. These relationships cause many of the children to have an unclear view of their personal backgrounds and identities. But more importantly, I think it is also caused by the secrets kept from some children about who their parents were. For example, Pilar Ternera’s first child, Arcadio, is unaware that he is related to the family, because no one tells him that his father is Jose Acradio. Another example is Meme’s son, who was told that he was found in a basket on the doorstep, and was merely adopted. These are just two lies (out of the many) that were spread by certain members of the family who thought that telling the truth about these children’s origins would hurt the family. Little did they know that it would do more harm than good, because not only did it cause many members of the family to have an unclear view of their own identity (causing them frustration as well as the depression that Ashley mentioned) but it also caused the baby at the end of the novel to be born with a pigs tail. I think if the family would have been more open about their mistakes and past, that they would have lived happier lives.

Antonio Imbornone said...

I think that the idea of repetition in both novels goes hand in hand with the structure of the story lines. Both novels are written in a discombobulated chronological order and are essential to this overbearing presence of repetition. The strange order in which events from both novels are told help the reader to recognize the patterns of repetition. We discussed that the repetition of happenings throughout the multiple generations in the unbearable lightness of being are due to the cyclical time frame of the family. But just as one can begin to draw a circle at any point on the circle, the chronological ambiguity of the Buendia family timeline does not start at the beginning and follows the repetitive curve of a circle.

Abbey said...
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Abbey said...

I agree with Madison on the idea that the Buendia's can't really learn from their ancestor's mistakes because they are not aware of all the facts about their past. The characters are constantly confronted with the unexpected and they have no choice but to roll with it as they have no control over what happens to them, like the Colombians in real life. Everyone is fated from the beginning to be destroyed, so even if they had learned from the mistakes made before them and corrected them, it wouldn't have mattered because of that strong sense of fatalism. The Buendia's can't come to terms with history, in a way, which is what the entire book is about. While I do agree that if they had learned from those mistakes, half of what happened would not have happened, but, on that same note, if they had learned from the mistakes, there would be no book to read.

Jack Zheng said...

The loss of memory is also a major reason that the Buendias fail to learn from the past, along with all the points discussed in the comments above. Nobody in the family except Ursula makes an effort at recording and recollecting the past. Is not only a plot point to make the story interesting, but also a political allegory. Memory symbolizes the Latin American culture and history. When the foreigners invaded, they destroyed a lot of the people's collective memory, and something as tragic and significant as the Banana Massacre was never documented in detail. Chances are that we will never know what exactly happened on that day and how many workers were killed, just like how the incident is perceived as a daydream in the story.