Published:  01:24 AM, 25 May 2017

Marquez, loneliness and magic realism

Marquez, loneliness and magic realism

Gabriel Garcia Marquez was a peerless artist of magic realism in fictional works, particularly in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Magic realism stands for a narrative instrument in literature in which miraculous or paranormal events are portrayed like ordinary day-to-day phenomena and the other way round it depicts mundane or usual occurrences like supernatural fantasies.

The term "magic realism" was introduced for the first time by German art scholar Franz Roh in 1925. There are several instances of magic realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude and in some other books by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, one of the most eminent and most applauded authors of all times hailing from Colombia who barely needs to be introduced to the readers.

Gabriel Garcia Marquez's masterpiece One Hundred Years of Solitude illuminated him with fame right in the wake of its publication in 1967. One Hundred Years of Solitude not just placed Gabriel Garcia Marquez as an outstanding novelist on the global stage; it ornamented him with Nobel Prize for literature in 1982. One Hundred Years of Solitude is an indispensable book for a deeper look into the rise of civilization in South America (also known as Latin America) and humans' settlement across the Caribbean Islands.

Not only that, this marvelous novel movingly deals with the horrors of civil wars in some parts of Latin America, the exploitation of native Colombian people at the hands of foreign companies and an intense, passionate love story and all these things are found going on through seven generations of the Buendia family in a fictional town called Macondo.

Loneliness is a very noteworthy motif in most of the stories by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Macondo in One Hundred Years of Solitude is located in the remote jungles of Colombian rainforest, far away from the rest of the world. People living inside that far-off village are hardly recognized or noted by the rest of the globe, as the novel shows. Similarly, in No One Writes to the Colonel, another best-known book by Garcia Marquez, we find a retired colonel of Colombian army leading a very lonesome life with his ever-ailing wife.

The colonel was a valiant military officer during his years in combat uniform and he stamped a good number of heroic examples on the battlefield for his country, but after retirement, he and his wife are left in deep monetary shortage. The colonel waits years after years for his pension, a healthy amount of money the government had promised him, which doesn't arrive. The colonel waits for the postman everyday but he never turns out to be lucky enough to receive any good message about his pension from the government.

We come across the woes of a nonagenarian who had never been able to have the taste of true love throughout his long and tedious life, as described by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in his last novel Memories of My Melancholy Whores. The anonymous protagonist lives in a small town of Colombia and works for a newspaper. He is depicted as an affluent man but he does the job to keep himself occupied with something as he has been followed by solitude all his life. Due to his persistent loneliness, he developed the habit of going to red-light areas frequently for libidinous pleasures, but the sensational hours he spends with whores cannot make him oblivious of his thirst for authentic love. So, a depressive sense of desolation sticks to his mind all the time.

However, on the night of his ninetieth birthday he manages to find a young girl who unwittingly casts a spell of magical fascination over him and makes him feel that the kind of love he had been questing for throughout his life, is now perhaps about to flood him with an unprecedented bliss at such a time while the thought of inescapable mortality is lurking at the back of his mind.

In Innocent Erendira, a highly acclaimed short story by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, readers get introduced to a beautiful girl who goes through unspeakable hardships under her ruthless and immoral grandmother's disposal. Her grandmother forces her to give sexual pleasure to people to earn money. The story closes with Erendira picking up enough guts to stab her grandmother one night and running away with a man who had come to have sex with Erendira but instead falls in love with her and persuades her to move away with him from her vicious grandmother's house.

Erendira, who is found in the entire story as a meek girl is transformed into an emboldened one with the power of love that came from that man who takes her away with him after she hits her grandmother with a knife. Love taught Erendira to fight back and love has the charisma to become a lethal weapon anytime to instigate people to strike back at repression, this story suggests.


The writer is a literary analyst for The Asian Age

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