One Hundred Years of Solitude

One Hundred Years of Solitude Essay Questions

  1. 1

    Consider the usage of names and "personality traits" in the Buendia family. Supposedly, Jose Arcadios should be physically imposing and sociable, while Aurelianos should be withdrawn and solitary. How true is this in the novel, and to what narrative use does Marquez put the pattern?

  2. 2

    Compare and contrast Jorge Luis Borges' story "Tlon, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius" with the last three pages of One Hundred Years of Solitude. Think carefully about both authors' creation of an "imaginary" universe. How can Borges' influence be seen in Solitude?

  3. 3

    Discuss the importance of hyperbole in the novel. How does Marquez use hyperbole differently at different points in the narrative: when he is talking about technology, for instance, as compared to civil war? With his use of hyperbolic language, what is Marquez attempting to say about Latin American history?

  4. 4

    Discuss Macondo's development over the course of the novel. Critic Harold Bloom has called Solitude "The Book of Macondo," comparing it to the Book of Genesis in the Bible. It has also been called a parable of civilizations, especially Greek civilization. Is there any truth to these comparisons? And if it is a parable, what is the moral? How does Macondo mimic a Biblical paradise at the beginning of the novel, and how does it come to be a reflection of modern society? What does the narrator of the novel have to say about this?

  5. 5

    Who is the hero of this novel?

  6. 6

    The words "solitary" and "solitude" appear on nearly every page of this book. Discuss why the members of the Buendia family are so alone. What does Marquez mean to say about the nature of man?

  7. 7

    Analyze the banana massacre scene. Describe the narrative techniques Marquez uses for this scene. Even though it is only a few pages long, how does the reader know that it is the climactic scene of the book? What is Marquez saying about Latin American history and politics?

  8. 8

    What does Solitude have to say about religion? Consider the role of religion, organized and not, in the book. Pay special attention to the following characters: Father Nicador, Fernanda del Carpio, and Aureliano (the illegitmate son of Meme and Mauricio Babilonia).

  9. 9

    Incest is usually a remote possibility for families. For the Buendias, it is a constant threat. Why? What is it about the Buendia family, and their solitude, that makes incest such a danger?

  10. 10

    Discuss women's sexuality and the novel. How do the female characters alternatively exploit and bury their sexuality? When it comes to their happiness and their sexuality, what patterns appear? What is Marquez saying about women's freedoms?