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Families are united and in many cases, all family members live under the same roof which also applies to the case of the Buendias.
The men in the novel, from Jose Arcadio who founds, together with his wife, the town of Macondo, to Aureliano Babilonia i.e. The last generation, are marked by a homogenous fate in the sense that none of them are able to escape the repetitiveness of their ancestors' fate. Despite the fact that they all express amazing energies, and are doted with intelligence and passion, they are all unable to concretize their dreams and projects, and to achieve any kind of long-term success. Violence is an important part of these men's temperament; they are all prone to anger and violent behavior. Even when these episodes of anger do not occur, their lives are overtaken by irrational violence which interrupts their lives.
The male characters in One Hundred Years of Solitude can be loosely divided into two categories. The first is made up of the Aurelianos who to be aloof and disengaged from the family. Some of them, such as Colonel Aureliano, Aureliano Jose or Jose Arcadio Segundo live their lives in isolation from the rest of the family reducing communication to a minimum. They spend most of their time in their workshop either studying ancient manuscripts or working on the little gold fishes which are a symbol of the continuity of the family. The second type of Buendia men is characterized by machismo, the traditional Latin American trait associated with men. The Jose Arcadios are rigid and authoritarian. They do not change their minds, and always stick to their decisions. Many of them have extramarital relationships; for instance, Aureliano Segundo spends most of his time away from his family, with his lover, Petra Cortes. Similarly, Colonel Aureliano has many mistresses, and illegitimate children. There is, however, one conclusion that can be drawn regarding the men in the novel. Irrespective of the category they fall into, none of these men truly run their families, or households. It is the women who carry full authority over the family.
The women in the novel are firmly anchored in the daily life of their family. They express no interest in technological development, or speculative ventures. In other words, the women could be regarded as the total opposite of the Buendia men: they are anchored in reality, and concerned with the routine of their lives. Among the female characters, Ursula stands out. She is the matriarchal archetype of the Latin American society. However, Ursula is a contradictory character because she is aware of the power of incest to simultaneously bind and destroy her family. The inability of the Buendia men and women to find some common ground, and work together towards avoiding the destruction of their family is what eventually brings about their demise. Both men and women are unable to step outside of their world, and integrate into the world around them, and this plunges them into solitude and isolation.
16. The theme of incest is connected to the theme of solitude, and are both consistent throughout the entire novel. Incest marks the Buendia family on two levels, and deepens their feeling of isolation and solitude. Above all else, incestuous relations are to be kept private because they are not sociably acceptable, hence those engaged in such relations must keep to themselves, and are thus unable to develop deep and meaningful relations with the world around them. This also applies to the Buendia family. They are solitary and eventually become disengaged with their surroundings. Also, the prophecy of Ursula in the beginning of the novel comes true, and at the very end of the story, a Buendia is born with the tail of a pig. This is a profoundly metaphorical image: the tail of a pig is a sign of the sin committed by the parents of the child. The fact that the child is born with a tail is both a sign of his parents' sin and of the fact that he is a result of the sin committed, one which he or she cannot escape; the child is physically marked hence emotionally scarred for life.
In One Hundred Years of Solitude, incest is at the beginning of everything as far as the plot of the novel. The first to have an incestuous relationship are Ursula and Jose Arcadio Buendia whose families will interbreed over decades. Incest shuts the Buendia men inside the boundaries of their own women-mothers-daughters, unable to love anyone else; fratricide is the way in which men finally end up contacting other men, under the mask of death and violence. The Buendia men cannot be saved because they do not learn from their mistakes, and are unable to assume responsibility for their actions. The act of incest has the emotional and psychological effect of making prisoners out of the Buendia men; they are caught in a situation which repeats itself generation after generation. Amaranta Ursula and Aureliano are the sixth - and final - Buendia generation to commit the sin of incest. They actually perform an investigation as to their ancestors in their attempt to determine whether or not they are related. Although no other Buendia has done this before them, they are not thorough and readily "accept the version of the basket" (Marquez: 415) meaning what is convenient to them. The couple are given the chance to break the incestuous cycle but take the easy path instead which leads to their destruction when their child is born with the tail of a pig.
Garcia Marquez, Gabriel. One Hundred Years of…[continue]
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