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Change of The People in Macondo

By , West Chester, PA
Some are under the impression that people cannot change. They believe that once an individual has a certain mentality or acts in a particular manner, that he is completely incapable of being persuaded to think or believe otherwise. There are a multitude of examples, both fictional and non-fictional, which are perfect examples of how different one can become over time. My drawing and the corruption of the Macondan citizens perfectly illustrate how much someone can change. Jose Arcadio Buendia, Jose Arcadio, and Arcadio all end up with personalities and behavior that they never would have exhibited in previous years.

One particular citizen really lost himself. This man’s name is Jose Arcadio Buendia. Buendia was initially a good natured, diligent and caring individual who never shirked his responsibilities to his family. “At first Jose Arcadio Buendia had been a kind of youthful patriarch who would give instructions for planting and advice for the raising of children and animals, and who collaborated with everyone, even in the physical work, for the welfare of the community”(Marquez 9). His only major infraction was committing an act of murder. After doing so, he and many other families moved away and Buendia founded the town of Macondo. Its location caused it to be cut off from the rest of the world. Nevertheless, Macondo prospered and Buendia cared for the town, never allowing harm to come upon its inhabitants. However, this changed when gypsies began visiting. They brought with them many astounding innovations which greatly fascinated Buendia. In fact, he became so intrigued that he started to care only about himself and his studies. “Over the protests of his wife, who was alarmed at such a dangerous invention, at one point he was ready to set the house on fire” (Marquez 2). “Jose Arcadio Buendia made no attempt to console her, completely absorbed in his tactical experiments with the abnegation of a scientist and even at the risk of his own life” (Marquez 3). His interest became an obsession that eventually took its toll on him. After numerous years of slaving away at his work he went insane. At this point he was utterly useless to his family and the rest of Macondo. He was only the beginning of a lengthy list of people who forgot themselves to worldly desires.

Buendia’s son Jose Arcadio also changed quite drastically. The latter was actually present when the gypsies first arrived with a block of ice. It was something which he had never seen before. Naturally, he walked up to it and touched it. He was bewildered by his experience and from then on shared his father’s curiosity. It was not until he accidentally left with the gypsies that he was to change for the worse. He returned after countless years. When he arrived he was an entirely different man. “To the women who were besieging and coveting him he put the question as to who would pay the most” (Marquez 98). Jose Arcadio became lazy and spent the better part of his time sleeping around with women whom he paid for intercourse.

Arcadio, the son of Jose Arcadio, was yet another who lost his way. When the first hints of politics reached his ears, he initially only considered the views of the Conservatives and Liberals. However, it was not long before he decided to join the Liberals. Unfortunately, this meant the swift destruction of any humanity contained within him. He was also given temporary control of Macondo during which he ruled like a tyrant.
He set up the two artillery pieces at the entrance to the town, put uniforms on his former pupils, who had been aroused by his fiery proclamations, and let them wander through the streets armed in order to give an impression of invulnerability. It was a double-edged deception, for the government did not dare attack the place for ten months, but when it did it unleashed such a large force against it that resistance was liquidated in half an hour. From the first day of his rule Arcadio revealed his predilection for decrees. He would read as many as four a day in order to decree and institute everything that came into his head. He imposed obligatory military service for men over eighteen, declared to be public property any animals walking the streets after six in the evening, and made men who were overage wear red armbands (Marquez 114).
He began to mercilessly kill anyone who opposed him, even a man who simply played a humorous fanfare.

What changed these men so much that they became vague shadows of their former selves? Temptation changed them. If Jose Arcadio had stayed in Macondo, he likely would have remained exactly the way he was. Likewise, if Jose Arcadio Buendia never discovered the innovations that he did, he would have without a doubt kept hold of his sanity. To put it plainly, these men were corrupted because of their inability to control their desires and feelings. They and the others who changed immediately gave in to temptation, thus causing them to forget their good morals and responsibilities.



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