Isolation as Portrayed in the Gabriel Garcia-Marquez’s “One Hundred Years of Solitude”

Published 15 Sep 2017

Isolation among members of the family commonly happens due to lack of time, attention and understanding that one gives to another. Most often, isolation leads a person to resort solely on himself instead of opening up to other members of his family. When this happens, certain feelings and emotions towards each other could be observed. In order to illustrate this scenario, the characters from the novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude ” by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez would be employed. The story, mainly revolving around the Buendia family, narrated how each family member lived in relation to time, his society, and other members of the family. To particularly describe how isolation took place, it would be better to incorporate some of the characters in the story— Jose Arcadio Buendia, Colonel Aureliano Buendia, and Amaranta.

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Jose Arcadio Buendia was the founder of Macondo, the name of the community in the novel. During his young years, he was characterized as a sturdy man with natural inclination for leadership and exploration. However, madness came and intersected his path. This was when he discovered that the days repeat itself. Because of these, members of the Buendia family suddenly felt a feeling of isolation towards him. He actually tied himself to a chestnut tree, exposed to the rain or the sun. His children—Jose Arcadio, Aureliano, Amaranta—seem to have forgotten his presence. Ursula, his wife, also felt a sudden feeling of alienation towards her husband. Nonetheless, she still managed to give him food everyday. Most of the time, she tried to communicate with Jose Arcadio Buendia, but the latter speaks of Latin that only the community’s priest could understand. With these barriers in communication and level of thinking, Jose Arcadio Buendia left the world being an isolated, mad man neglected by his family members.

Colonel Aureliano Buendia, son of Jose Arcadio Buendis, also suffered isolation from his family members. Being head of the rebels, the colonel had been separated to the family for almost forty years. The other members of the family actually thought that the colonel already died in the battle since they have not received any news about him. During this time, Jose Arcadio Buendia was still alive. His condition made it harder to show his concern for his second son. It was such a relief, especially Ursula’s part, when Colonel Aureliano came back to Macondo. However, while he was growing older and older, the colonel started to realize that pride was the only thing that keeps the revolution alive. Because of this, he confined himself to the library where he resorted in making goldfishes. Socially- active when he was young, Colonel Aureliano suddenly became apathetic to his family and society. He only leaves the library once a day to get some food. No one was able to disturb him in his solitude, even his mother Ursula. Like his father, he also realized that everything is a part of a cycle. He died while he was urinating under the same chestnut tree where his father died.

Finally, Amaranta, the only daughter of Jose Arcadio Buendia and Ursula, seemed to have gained the same fate of his father and brother Aureliano. She was frustrated for not having Pietro Crespi as his husband due to her cousin Rebecca. Amaranta’s hatred for Rebecca led in the attempt of the former to poison the latter. From then on, she became aloof and afraid of men. During her old days, she started to lock herself in her room. She had burned a portion of her hand which she covers with a black bandage. She hardly left the room and busied herself with weaving. She died as a lonely virgin, wearing the bandage until his death.

Works Cited

  • Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. One Hundred Years of Solitude. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1995
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