The Indian princess Visitacion must have walked down the halls of St. Martin's, because everyone seems to have gone down with the insomnia sickness. While at their houses during the weekend, many students of St. Martin's forgot they had school on Monday and therefore didn't come to school. After writing notes and labeling objects to remember about school before the insomnia fully kicked in, the people forgot how to read and never made it to school. Where is Melquiades when we need him?
The episode involving insomnia in the town of Macondo has an unclear significance to me. It is only a short episode in the entirety of the book. I believe that it shows the struggle for Latin America to find its identity and maintain control over itself. The insomnia was an obstacle that sidetracked the town of Macondo for a while. It made them forget their own identities and by association all of their beliefs. If the microcosm of Macondo lost this, then all of Latin America lost their identity and will to stand up for themselves. Therefore, the insomnia is symbolic of an obstacle for Latin America that was overcome.