One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Marquez: the Significance of Time

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Memory and time are strange in the novel. “In keeping with modernist explorations of alternative modes of representing time, [the novel encodes] a deliberate refutation of linear chronological time, for the psychological time of memory and speculation extracts the individual from clock time and injects years of experiences - past, present, and future - into the frame” (Cohn 154). Marquez takes memories and twists and flips them in ways that make them seem like they are all one long story where they are actually several stories laid on top of each other, intertwined and blended together. Throughout time, memories and events repeat themselves, leaving memory jumbled and gnarled in the past until it fades away from existence. It was stated that in the cyclic nature of the civilization the “children inherit their parents madness” (40). Not specifically implying insanity, but more to the degree of their parents struggles and misfortune throughout their lives. It is the challenges and burdens of the elders that are passed down to the youth of the civilization, not solely madness. 

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Another concept that adds intricacy is the idea that “a person does not belong to a place until there is someone dead under the ground” (13). “They’ve been tied to the soil by a roomful of trunks… They’ve been sown into this soil by memory of the remote dead whose bones can no longer be found twenty fathoms under the earth” (Cohn 161). The sheer notion of this sense of belonging makes it much easier for characters in the novel to simply roam about until death where post-mortem all descendants are bound to the land. “This syntactical and temporal patterning recurs throughout the test, as the narrator refers to key moments in the various character’s lives, moments which live on in memory and consciousness, moments which unite, moments of perfect existential coincidence” (Simas 197). One Hundred Years of Solitude was less through-written than pieced together like a jigsaw puzzle. Small bits of information were inserted towards the beginning of the book that carried no weight until the end and vice versa. When a new child was born, the boys were more often than not named Aureliano. After the first Aureliano Buendia, which only added to the complex fabrication of the work. The narrator states that “time puts things in their place” (35). Time, whether opposed or desired, will run its course. Time has always prevailed; it is an unconquerable, merciless, and everlasting foe. 

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