One Hundred Years of Solitude, Indigenous Myth, And Meaning (Estudios y Confluencias) by Confluencia: Revista Hispanica de Cultura y Literatura

One Hundred Years of Solitude, Indigenous Myth, And Meaning (Estudios y Confluencias)

By Confluencia: Revista Hispanica de Cultura y Literatura

  • Publication Date: 2011-03-22
  • Genre: Social Science
3.5 Score: 3.5 (From 14 Ratings)

Book Summary

Much of the initial critical reception of One Hundred Years of Solitude suggests parallels between the novel and the Old Testament (specifically the Pentateuch, the first five books thereof). It is an obvious source because the myths are widely known to Western readers. However, steadfast adherence to Biblical versions of creation, flight, and destruction in certain later critical interpretations of One Hundred Years of Solitude may have resulted in circuitous of needlessly cryptic interpretations. We may best consider this initial phase of analysis as a reasonable start, but not definitive or conclusive, and then propose other meaningful sources which may yield clearer, more precise parallels, which could be then be relied upon for a more expansive interpretation. We view One Hundred Years of Solitude as a distinct work, specific to the Americas; therefore, it may be considered in the light of the known history of the American continents, including pre-Hispanic history, myth and ritual. We may be remiss in examining such a novel only within a zone of canonical security. We may also consider that we, who are peoples of the American continents, ate largely responsible for a lingering colonial mentality which rejects our mixed origins in favour of a false mimetic Europeanized identity, and that as a result we may have missed that precise criticism in the novel in our quest for understanding, by overlooking the novel's apparently non-Western symbolism. The first well-known critical review of One Hundred Years was penned by Reinaldo Arenas in 1968. It sets the tone for other scholarship on the novel by addressing its mythological qualities as follows: "En gran medida, Cien anos de soledad esta enmarcada dentro de una concepcion biblica, comenzando, como es logico, por el surgimiento del mundo (Macondo, el pueblo imaginario, escenario donde se han desarrollado todas las novelas y relatos de Gabriel Garcia Marquez), pasando luego por el diluvio, los vientos profeticos, las plagas, las guerras y las variadas calamidades que azotan (y azotaran) al hombre, culminando, desde luego, con el Apocalipsis." (1) The statement is logical, drawing apparent parallels between an ancient text and a modern one. We may contend that in terms of a book review this essay is brilliant and meditative, and it is an invitation ab initio to critics to investigate Arenas' terms of reference more thoroughly, perhaps exhaustively. We may contend that Arenas' review is canonical, and that his prima facie conclusions were investigated thoroughly. Further criticism, while delving into the question of mythological origins, suggests that the Biblical parallels drawn by Arenas are more tenuous than they initially appeared to be. The closer one looks at the two texts, the less similar they appear to be.

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