The Roles of Past, Present, and Future
Since the beginning of time, and for long past the unimaginable, life has begun with the pretense that death is the fate for all persons. Many have tried to escape this destiny, many have tried to alter it or postpone it; however, from the first page of every story, every word used to describe the events held closest to one’s heart brings the final sentence closer and closer. The concept of time has been perceived to be linear in nature; while we attempt to analyze the past and better our future – the majority of concern is focused on the present. We are a world of now, often forgetting what has gotten us to the current and often forgetting what we must do for the later. Past, present and future: these terms represent stories and events across generations; although, as a species, our nature hasn’t changed much during these periods. Gabriel García Márquez’s novel One Hundred Years of Solitude critiques this trait in man – while the characters and setting may change, the stories always seem to remain the same. One Hundred Years of Solitude’s timeline exhibits these facts by adopting a cyclical concept of time. The terms past, present, and future no longer represent a boundary between ages; instead, the past is the future, the future is the present, and the present is the past. The novel is told across six generations of the Buendía family – subsequently, the reader quickly can see that the blessings and curses of one generation are not excluded from the others. Márquez raises many questions concerning the nature of man and the dealing with the destiny of death. Furthermore, the author uses a cyclical timeline to criticize the unending nature of man; the lines between past, present, and future are blurred through the repetition of names and characteristics, the reappearance of the dead as ghost, and the use of prophecies and magic.
As mentioned, One Hundred Years of Solitude is a multigenerational novel beginning with the family’s patriarch, José Arcadio Buendía, founding the town of Mocondo along with his wife, Úrsula, and other settlers from the town of Riohacha. The conquest began due to José Arcadio Buendía murdering a man named Prudencio Aguilar, and to avoid the haunting of the murdered ghost – Buendía sacrifices his livelihood and seeks out a new life. José Arcadio Buendía and Úrsula are first cousins who, what may have been the first act provoking misfortune, married and together birthed the first Buendía son, José Arcadio, on the voyage to the land that overtook the dreams of José Arcadio Buendía. The naming of son after father is the first illustration of repetition; with the founding of Mocondo, the characteristics of the protagonist become more evident.
The patriarch of the family is an introspective man, who before earned his living fighting chickens builds a workshop and turns his focus away from his family to science – eventually driving himself mad in the pursuit of knowledge. Úrsula is...