Sunday, March 25, 2007

Disintegration of Macondo

After Colonel Aureliano Buendia dies, all of Macondo and the entire Buendia family begin spiraling downwards. The collapse of the family parallels the disintegration of the town, illustrating the link that exists between the household and the social and political surroundings. We basically see that there is only so long that a family can remain intact and stable within such a chaotic environment.

This once utopic community has been completely undermined by greedy foreign imperialists, the exact individuals and ideals that Colonel Aureliano Buendia had fought against for so very many years. These ruthless imperialists are responsible for Macondo’s most devastating event yet: the brutal massacre of the banana plantation workers. What is most fascinating regarding these events is how Jose Arcadio Segundo locks himself away in Melquiade’s room full of books, so he can forever preserve the wretched memory of this massacre in solitude. Like we discussed in class, the cruel authorities would strategically remove any evidence linked to these massacres, even if that meant permanently silencing witnesses and victims’ families. This makes the preservation of that memory even more important, because it is a struggle against government, imperialism and time.

The heavy rains that struck Macondo for nearly five years following the deadly massacre reveal the constant presence of nature and the effects of natural disaster. What is curious is that these rains lasted exactly 4 years, 11 months and 2 days, which is one of the only examples of ‘exact’ time in the entire novel. This destruction caused by nature surely has some biblical reference to it as well, where God flood the land in order to remove the evils that plagued it. This happened when Noah was sent with his arc to gather two of every animal and ultimately bring about a complete rebirth of civilization. Perhaps this flooding represents an opportunity to rebuild Macondo and continue the cycle over again, or perhaps it reveals something less optimistic, like that everything ends in chaos and destruction, essentially in anarchy.

1 comment:

Niall said...

I think the flood is part of a series of biblical references that place the novel within a christian, linear conception time--Macondo as garden of Eden, as paradise lost, as the site of the the Great Flood and final apocalyse. This Judeo-Christian conception contrasts with the more non-Western idea of time being circular, represented in all the presence of repetion in the novel. Ursula's remarks that la historia parece darse vueltas (or something like that) seems to replace in the second half the Muchos anos despues, frente al peloton de fusilamiento..., of the first half, phrases which give the novel an almost obessively circular character.

PS--thanks for link on Columbia :)