One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred years of Incest?

In the epic novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude," Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes about the Buendia family of mythical Macondo. Throughout the generations, the Buendias are plagued with incestuous relationships; by the end, they only succeed in isolating themselves from society and weaving unnatural bonds created by incest. The incestuous relationships in the novel allow the characters to "recreate" themselves, sinking the family deeper into isolation. Thus, "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is not a book about incest. Rather, incest is used both as a catalyst for, and as a way to explore, the novel's themes of memory and forgetfulness, circular time, and violence.

Incest is a major theme of the novel from its beginning, when Macondo is founded. When Ursula marries her relative Jose Arcadio, she refuses to consummate the marriage, afraid of giving birth to an infant with a pig tail. When Prudencio Aguilar says that Jose Arcadio is unable to make his wife pregnant, Jose Arcadio murders him, only to be chased by his ghost; the fleeing couple form the town of Macondo. Although Jose Arcadio and Ursula are spared the fate of giving birth to a baby with a pig tail, Ursula continues to remember the...

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