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One Hundred Years of Solitude
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Since the beginning of time, man has clung to the notion that
there exists some external force that determines his destiny. In
Grecian times, the epic poet Hesoid wrote of a triumvirate of
mythological Fates that supposedly gave "to men at birth evil and
good to have". In other words, these three granted man his destiny.
Clotho "spun the thread of life", Lacheis distributed the lots, and
Atropos with his "abhorred shears" would "cut the thread at
death"(Hamilton-43). All efforts to avoid the Fates were in vain. In
every case their sentence would eventually be delivered. And it
appears that once the Fates' ballot had been cast, the characters in
Greek myths had no chance for redemption. One must wonder if man, like
the Greeks portrayed, has any real choice in determining how he lives.
That issue of choice arises when comparing Gabriel Marquez's One
Hundred Years of Solitude and Yasunari Kawabata's Thousand Cranes. The
men in Yasunari Kawabata's Thousand Cranes and Gabriel Garcia
Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude forever seem to be repeating
the lives of their male ancestors. These cycles reveal that man as a
being, just like the mythological heros, has no true choice in the
ultimate course his life will take. The male characters' personal
development is overshadowed by the identity of their ancestors.
Clotho, it appears, has recycled some of her spinning thread. The new
male generations, superficially, are perceived to be woven of like
design. Kikuji Mitani and the male Buendia's face communities that
remember their ancestors. As a result, their unique communities
inadvertently compare the actions of the sons to their respective
fathers', having recognized the apparent similarities. Eclipsed by his
father's aura, within his village, Kikuji's identity has no separate
definition. To most townsfolk, like those at Chikako's tea ceremony,
Kikuji exists as "Old Mr. Mitani's son"(16). He and his father are
therefore viewed as essentially the same person. Kikuji can take no
action to change the village's preformed perception.
In contrast, The Aurelianos and Jose Arcadios have been set into a
self that their name, not their upbringing, dictate. Ursula, after
many years drew some conclusions about "the insistent repetition of
names"(106) within the Buendia family. While the eldest Jose Arcadio
Buendia was slightly crazy, his raw maleness is transferred to all the
Jose Arcadio's that follow. They tended to be "impulsive and
enterprising" though "marked with a tragic sign"(186). On the other
hand, the Aurelianos, corresponding to the open-eyed Colonel, seem to
be "indifferent"(15) and "withdrawn"(186) yet sparked with a "fearless
curiosity"(15). The Aurelianos' tendency towards solitude that shut
the Colonel away in his later years, would generations later, give his
distant descendant Aureliano Babilonia the stamina to decipher
Melquiades scriptures(422). Together, this perfunctory family
tradition seemed to influence the course these men's live's would take
in the same way that Kikuji's perception by his community lopped him
into the path of his father. And just as Kikuji could not change the
villages preformed opinions, the named Buendia males can have no hand
in changing their given characters.
The men's selection of lovers, in turn, continues to perpetuate
their cycle of behavior shared with their relatives. Despite warnings,
Kikuji Mitani and the Buendia men engage in hazardous sexual activity
that harbors grave consequences. Lacheis' lots, in this case, are
inevitable. Choice and independent action are impossible for these men
since Lacheis has distributed the familial key to their female
attractions. There is an eerie twist in Kikuji's Mitani's love affairs
with his father's mistress and her daughter. His first encounter with
Mrs. Ota leaves Kikuji suspicious of the affair where agewise, "Mrs.
Ota was at least forty-five , some twenty years older than
Kikuji"(28). However, despite the generation gap, during their
encounter Kikuji had felt that he "had a woman younger than he in his
arms"(28). Mrs. Ota had substituted Kikuji as his father, thus forcing
Kikuji to follow in his fathers footsteps. Kikuji is not oblivious to
the strange path his love life seems to be taking, yet he does nothing
to resist. Instead, a defiant Kikuji asserting that he had not been
seduced determines, it was something else that had drawn him to her.
The "something else" was generational fate stepping in to turn the
cycle, overriding Kikuji's notion to choose. Later,
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Thousand Cranes, One Hundred Years of Solitude, Clotho, Atropos, gabriel garcia marquez, one hundred years, male ancestors, thousand cranes, years of solitude, epic poet, grecian times, face communities, greek myths, apparent similarities, gabriel marquez, yasunari kawabata, mitani, thread of life, tea ceremony, true choice, atropos, time man, beginning of time, fates
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