Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Different Views on Historical Impact

While reading over Johnston's lecture, I really began to understand what Marquez is trying to say about Latin America and its inhabitants' views on history as related to the novel. Johnston's concepts really remind me a lot of Kundera's in The Unbearable Lightness of Being. According to Johnston, North America (Europe is probably included here) has a completely different view of history's impact on life than Latin America. We, North America, see history as a factor that really helps to determine our destiny. We refer to the history of our ancestors for moral guidance, and from that, we try to create our own history to, as Johnston puts it, "construct a project-based life, and carry it through, so that in a way the world we have acted in will be transformed from the world into which we are born" (7). This reminds me a lot of Kundera's concept of weight. Every move we make determines the future of not only ourselves but of others also. In other words, our actions form a chain reaction, meaning that time is bound to move in a linear way (a concept which both Marquez and Kundera analyze in great detail). Both authors, to be vague, view linear time as a result of the huge impact of history on a civilization.
Johnston then goes on to describe how Latin America's culture disregards history as a significant factor in life. The people of Latin America believe that reality is almost unfathomable (for example, the massacre, as we said in class). And so, they choose to accept an imaginative state of mind rather than the truth. Johnston says, "Latin American life is a dream--the unreality imposed by almost five hundred years of colonialism..." (8). Such horrible things happened during this time period in Latin America that the people cannot accept it as real, authentic history. This is interesting because it ties into Kundera's argument of lightness. If history does not determine our future, then our existence is essentially meaningless. Because of this meaningless existence, time can exist only in a circular cycle, with history endlessly repeating itself to no avail.

I think this explains the reason why the people of Macondo (the Buendia family) exist so futilely and Macondo progresses so rapidly.

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