One Hundred Years of Solitude: the Women Sexuality and Happiness

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As a young Latina woman, I have always seen Latin Culture affect us. For so many years, our society has been affected and has caused women to be seem powerless back then in the past. Most Latin Countries have a type of persona or characteristics that woman should follow accordingly with the society and even though a lot has changed some things are still the same. For example, back then and now men would have multiple lovers and indulge with alcohol or drugs even if some were encouraged at a young age. But women who cheat or try to follow the same wave as men, some were disrespected, or they were unwelcomed to that part of the society.

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a man that showed both sides of the type of woman and how they act according to society, but he also gave us some strong powerful women in One Hundred Years of Solitude. As the town changed so did the people and Gabriel Garcia Marquez believed that the people and the society in the town and in real life were very unfair. If men decided to participate in a type of activity that was bad or that had some differences, it would be seen as something that is okay to the public eye. But if women did the same, they would be mistreated or disrespected and perhaps seen differently. Sexuality is a natural part of our lives and Gabriel Marquez believed that why should sexuality be different or judge for both parties if it is natural and shouldn't be extinguished or affected by society or treated differently and by criticizing the Latin society and the high standards and expectations people have. The women who are content they live and follow their dreams and desires and have no time to follow the changes in the society or do they get affected by the social acceptance of others. If women live life thinking about their sexuality and how others view them, then they will get trapped with the negative aspects of life. From my point of view, life is like an open book why should you settle to be an only chapter when you can be a whole book or in all chapters. People are the creators of their reality and one person or a whole society shouldn't determine who you are and if you let those things get the best of you then it causes your unhappiness which happens a lot with some women. In the novel the two characters who I saw a huge contrast was Ursula Iguaran and Fernanda the two important women in the novel who had a different view of life with their sexuality and unhappiness.

In the novel, the Buendia family has always been strong and some more likely independent than others. But one of the strong characters in the novel would be Ursula Iguaran. Personally, she is my favorite character because in the story she was very blunt and honest. Also, she didn't take crap or negativity from others even though her husband would sometimes try to bother her, living in the town of Macondo she saw the progress or the destruction of the town and by having such a huge family she never paid attention or followed the rules of how a woman should act in their society. She was a feminist with no desire of being just a stay home housewife, she always wanted to show and state her political view and to protect the town she did the very best that she could. By no means, she appreciated or even liked violence or music, even though she lived for a very long time she always showed her true colors and took care of her children and even great-grandchildren. Even though Ursula was different she suffered the consequences of magic realism and solitude because nobody could understand her but overall she lived a difficult but interesting long life and in terms of the society and sexuality for her happiness she fell in love with her cousin despite that incest was something negative to the public eye and it affected her in the early stages of her marriage when she married her cousin. She was even afraid of her children or her family committing incest and had that saying of the “Baby with Pigs Tail Curse” that appeared when Ursula was having problems with her marriage and the death of Prudencio Aguilar took place and in the book, it stated:

They were afraid that those two healthy products of two races that had interbred over the centuries would suffer the shame of breeding iguanas. There had already been a horrible precedent. An aunt of Úrsula’s, married to an uncle of José Arcadio Buendía, had a son who went through life wearing loose, baggy trousers and who bled to death after having lived forty-two years in the purest state of virginity, for he had been born and had grown up with a cartilaginous tail in the shape of a corkscrew and with a small tuft of hair on the tip. A pig’s tail that was never to be seen by any woman and that cost him his life when a butcher friend did him the favor of chopping it off with his cleaver. José Arcadio Buendía, with the whimsy of his nineteen years, resolved the problem with a single phrase: “I don’t care if I have piglets as long as they can talk. (Garcia Marquez, 20)

In the family, Fernanda Del Carpio has a contrast to Ursula Iguaran even though she has the beauty of Remedios and is chosen as one of the most beautiful girls she has an evil aura to her. As bitter and lonely as she was, she was one jealous apple, she lived a tough life as well. In terms of her sexuality, she was in a school where nuns would be her teacher and she was not allowed to act like a normal girl or express her sexuality causing her early problems in her marriage with her husband Aureliano Segundo where her husband makes fun of her. Her husband had a mistress named Petra Cotes, the problems in their marriage always made her husband go to Petra Cotes causing her unhappiness. From my point of view, this novel has more of unhappiness patterns than actual happiness because some of the women in Macondo follow the rules and the patterns of the society along with the Latin culture and expectations of how women should act. Stated in the book it said:

A month later, unsuccessful in getting his wife to take off her nightgown, he had the picture taken of Petra Cotes dressed as a queen. Later on, when he succeeded in getting Fernanda to come back home, she gave in to his urges in the fever of reconciliation, but she could not give him the repose he had dreamed about when he went to fetch her in the city with the thirty-two belfries. Aureliano Segundo found only a deep feeling of desolation in her. One night, a short time before their first child was born, Fernanda realized that her husband had returned in secret to the bed of Petra Cotes. (Garcia Marquez, 209-210)

Also, after giving birth to her children and noticing that Ursula is at a very old age, she takes lead in the Buendia family causing huge differences between the two. Ursula was a wise woman but no doubt she had a huge heart and desire to help others. Unlike Fernanda, she destroys the relationship with her family especially her daughter Meme by sending orders to kill her daughter's lover Mauricio Babilonia and sending her away into a convent where Meme decides to never speak again while Fernanda hides Meme’s child. After causing all of these problems, in my opinion, I believe karma took a turn and decided to affect her life living in complete solitude and bitterness and if her life was different and if her husband was loyal and faithful to her I believe Fernanda would've been a different person with a good heart. What Garcia Marquez is saying about women freedom is that if they believe in the rules of the society and how the Latin culture is then they might live in a strict full life of just becoming a housewife or a mistress but the women who follow their heart and desires can live freely without worrying about what people have to say or judge. According to Women of Attic with publisher unknown, it was stated in their website that:

Gabriel Garcia Marquez tries to reflect the reality of the role of women in Latin America and portrays women characters with strong qualities who performs important roles in family affairs. As a critic points out, each woman has her own past, her own quirks and her own version of normality, but they all have one common characteristic: an absolute force, a superior personal strength. When the novel starts off, the “youthful patriarch” Jose Arcadio Buendia is shown as a strong character but eventually transforms into a nothingness and a lazy person. When Jose went “crazy”, Ursula Iguaran, his wife, who’s “capacity for work was the same as that of her husband” would not lose sense of the reality and becomes a responsible person for the family. When the family is affected by insomnia, she acts as the “nurturer” “…who had learned from her mother the medicinal value of plants, prepared and made them all drink a brew of monkshood.”. In an interview Gabriel Garcia Marquez once said, “…in most cases, women are the practical sex. It’s men who are the romantics and who go off and do all kinds of crazy things; women know that life is hard. Ursula is a prototype of that kind of practical, life-sustaining woman.”

In conclusion, whether you're a housewife or a feminist or a mistress you should never let society determine who you are or who you should be, follow your heart and let those who judge you with no knowledge or knowing of your next move to follow your dreams, speak with your voice and show your true colors while ignoring the society and Latin Culture like some of the women in the Buendia family.

Works Cited

  • Garcia Marquez, Gabriel, and Gregory Rabassa. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Harper & Row, Publishers, New York, 1970.
  • Aconfessingbook. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Womenofattic, 10 Apr. 2016,

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