100 Years of Solitude

November 9, 2012
By , West Chester, PA
One of the overarching themes of 100 years of solitude is the concept of time. Throughout the book, time is not progressive, but instead seems to constantly repeat itself. 100 Years of Solitude is like a circle of reoccurring events with similar outcomes and characters making the same mistakes. Instead of growing and developing, time causes things to deteriorate more and more in Macondo until the last Buendia stumbles upon his demise and the end of Macondo itself.

The picture depicts a broken clock to symbolize a warped sense of times major presence in the book. Though it should seem to show progression, time in 100 Years of Solitude does not flow as an infinite line of different people and occurrences, but rather as a finite circle of reoccurring instances and characters. This strange phenonena is noticed by some characters such as Ursula who says “...time was not passing...it was turning in a circle...” (335) This quote can also be seen in my picture to show how time in Macondo repeats and begins where it starts. Each new generation of characters is a repetition of their ancestors that had come before them. From day to day, no changes can be seen in Macondo and no progress has been gained. Both “He spent six hours examining things, trying to find a difference from their appearance on the previous day in the hope of discovering in them some change that would reveal the passage of time.” (78) and “Both described at the same time how it was always March there and always Monday” (348), show the lack of development and change in the town. Days are all the same and they repeat as well as the events and inhabitants of the town. ” In spite of the room’s having been shut up for many years, the air seemed fresher than in the rest of the house. Everything was so recent that several weeks later, when Úrsula went in the room with a pail of water and a brush to wash the floor, there was nothing for her to do.” (198) This shows that not only do the days seem similar, time does not even seem to pass over years. The collection of dust in unused spaces is a regular occurrence in normal circumstances, but does not seem to occur in Macondo because time does not seem to pass. The characters throughout the book also exhibit this lack of change. They do not learn from their ancestors or appear to make any advancement as more generations are born. “She finally mixed up the past with the present in such a way that in the two or three waves of lucidity that she had before she died, no one knew for certain whether she was speaking about what she felt or what she remembered.” (341) This shows the absence of a definite separation between what has happened in the past and what is happening in the present. A prime example of this lack of separation is portrayed in the amnesia that people of Macondo suffer from that blurs the line between past and present. The amnesia is brought on because of the reoccurring events that distort the people of Macondo’s sense of time.

Another part of the picture is the ‘looping’ of time. The most significant example of this is Melquiades’ prophetic writing. When Buendia reads Melquiades’ writings and is almost finished he realizes that everything that had happened throughout the entire book was predetermined. No one had control over what was going to happen because it had already been predicted. It had already been foreseen from the start. So in the end the story comes full circle, with Melquiades’ prophecies fulfilling themselves as soon as the book is opened therefore

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