Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The end is near

My favorite part of the entire novel is the final pages, which we discussed in class today, when Aureliano Babylonia is reading his fate as it happens. It made me curious what it would feel like to know your fate as it was happening, and to be able to read your unknown past. It happened not only Aureliano, but also to Amaranta while making her funeral shroud. She knew that as soon as she finished completing her task, that her end was decided. The characters are unable to prolong their lives, and panic, yet accept their tumult. This is the ultimate climax! What do you do once you know you're on your way out? That brings up the current day question such as "would you rather know when you were going to die, or not have any idea and just die one day?" The thought of Armageddon is frightening, however, I would rather have no idea when the end of the world is coming. If you knew your demise, you would act totally different than if you didn't know your impending death. 

Thought provoking, but quite nerve racking. 

4 comments:

madison kahn said...

I think these two parts in the novel are very interesting too. I agree with the fact that the funeral shroud and the parchments fatefully determine what happens to the characters. But if they really would have wanted to, could they have prolonged their lives? Although in the parchments, it was already predetermined that Aureliano Babilonia would finish reading them, what if he, hypothetically, would have stopped? Maybe he could have somehow avoided his own destruction. The same concept applies to Amaranta and the funeral shroud. She did drag out the process, only completing the shroud when she was ready to die. But what if she had never completed the shroud at all? As we understand it, fate seems to be a defining factor of our lives. Really, there's no breaking from fate, but I think Marquez may be posing a question through these two incidents--can our actions help to determine our fate or is fate inalterable?

Abbey said...

I like your ideas on how you would handle "the end" and what you had to say about fate in the novel, but there is a difference between Aureliano Babilonia's (I'm going to call him AB) demise and Amaranta's demise. At the very end of the book, AB is uncovering the knowledge and is in the reader’s position trying to decipher what has happened up to that point. He did not realize that the parchments he was reading was his own identity, ancestry, and history, until it was too late to do anything. As a result of learning his past, AB is destroyed. He didn't choose to accept the "tumult;" in fact, he had to accept the "tumult"--it was his fate. On the other hand, Amaranta had the choice to prolong her death as long as she wanted to since she was the one in control of making the shroud.

Cheyenne Dwyer said...

I find the contrast between how Kundera uses fate and how Marquez uses fate very interesting. In both novels, fate plays a large role in the story. For Marquez, the Buendias are fated to forever repeat and stay in their cycle, while for the characters as individuals he lays out their fate before them and even allows some characters to know their fate before it happens, such as Amaranta and AB. Kundera uses fate more interchangeably with chance, an event is not revealed as being decided by fate until after it happens, such as the 6 occurrences it took for Tomas and Tereza to meet.

Jack Zheng said...

Cheyenne's comment brings up another interesting point. Kundera says that humans live linear, transitory lives and long for the comfort in living cyclically knowing what is going to happen. Since there is no way for us to know about the future, we ponder over the contingencies and choices that make up our lives (and futures), sometimes obsessively. The characters in One Hundred Years of Solitude do live cyclically, but their lives are predetermined to be tragic. They forget about their ancestors, who experienced the same lives as themselves. Thus they fail to learn anything from history and end up running into the dead ends that had been waiting for them since the beginning.