Autumn Of The Patriarch Essay, Research Paper
Autumn of the Patriarch
1. Argument of the Novel- Life is arduous and ephemeral but it is something to be appreciated. It advocates being in touch with one’s inner femininity. It criticizes the masculine misuse of power.
Personal/Individual Level- In order to succeed in life, one needs an equal balance of masculine and feminine qualities. A person must go beyond the mundane aspects of life to appreciate living.
Political/Social Level- There is a gross misuse of power by first world countries and their raping of third world resources. All individuals in society must be equal and power should not be trusted to tyrants.
Spiritual/Metaphysical/Philosophical Level- The inability to love by the General causes him to become a tyrant and unable to understand, respect, or appreciate the lives of others. Desperately trying to control one’s life leads to an even greater lack of control.
2. Author’s Method- The author conveys his message through a lack of traditional method, grammar, and punctuation.
Organization of the Novel- The general nears death with every passing chapter. The people begin each chapter with the realization of the general’s death. The chapters spiral out to fill in the missing pieces.
Repetition- pg. 67 “Rose” The rose signifies beauty and love. It stirs up emotions in the general and he is overwhelmed by the emotions. He attempts to “put out” the coal so that he is in controls the emotions. He fails and it is a mockery of his power.
-pg. 67 The epithets “Manuela Sanchez of my…” evil hour, disaster, madness. The general identifies emotions with negativity and vulnerability and tries to control them.
-pg. 65 The bedtime ritual It shows the general’s infantile tendencies and mocks his authority.
Divisions- Each chapter usually begins with a short sentence. The sentences become progressively longer. This makes the novel confusing and it shows the confusion of the general’s reality. Each sentence is has its own idea.
Symbols- The sea is a symbol of femininity, the grail castle, and souls of the people. It represents on some subconscious level the general’s realization that he is incomplete and that has a wound.
The bananas are a cliched symbol. The general must destroy something inconsequential to heighten his sense of power. It makes the general look foolish because he is threatening Francisco Linero with bananas. It shows impending rape through its phallic symbol.
The velvet glove is a symbol of the general’s abuse of power. “Iron fist in velvet glove.”
Tone of the Novel- There is no absolute voice. The novel does not have an anchor that holds it to an absolute truth. The changes in narrator and point of view illustrate this concept. It is argued from a deconstructionist view. Through certain literary devices the author tries to convey a varied point of view that shows the general’s ultimate lack of power through a sarcastic tone.
Imagery- The imagery creates the satire on the general. Uses controlling imagery from clerical diction and government. If the general weren’t so obsessed with control, he wouldn’t be so pathetic and out of control. Imagery shows that the general is goal oriented but he has no real goals to strive for.
Magic Realism- pg. 245 The general sells the sea. It is cut up and sent to Arizona. The sea cannot really be cut up and shipped away. The general sells the sea and chooses to ignore the need to be in touch with his inner self and experience true emotion.
Syntax- “Horaah for the Stud” the people are celebrating the general, but the syntax/ diction mocks him. Foreshadows the eventual rupture and the rupture in the old perception of the general.
Phrasing-epithets: “Manuela Sanchez of my…” madness, evil hour, rupture. The repetition of such phrases accentuates the suffering of the general when he is faced with real emotions.
Repetition- “goddamnit” Futile and shows the general’s lack of real power.
“general sir” Reference point in understanding the chaos of all the points of view presented in the novel.
Details- the people praise the general. They have faith in him. The general has a daily routine before he goes to bed; he is paranoid and has no real power. Deaths of the generals; show the general’s disregard for human life.
Irony- The general lives a long life, but does not actually live, or experience life in a true sense. The general eats bananas to threaten Francisca Linero before he rapes her(violence clique), but he does not really look menacing, only foolish.
Point of View- The voice of the narrator is constantly changing from one character in the novel to another; sometimes 3rd person. The switches show a deconstructionist view where the novel has no real anchor to give in an absolute voice. Reduces bias while still getting a particular idea or theme across to the reader.
Figurative Language/ Diction- “Old Devil General”. The general is likened to a devil to show the lack of love in his heart. “Hung by its hind legs to bleed inside the bunches of bananas tiger stripped by their inner honey”. This is a metaphor for the girl’s body and the impending rape.
Protagonists- The citizens of the country under the general’s country.
Growth/Lack of Growth/Changes- In the beginning the citizens believe that the general is superhuman. However they begin to realize that he is only a mere human and incompetent. The citizens step out of the reality and realize that life is precious and ephemeral and understand that the general has missed out on life.
First Stage: pg. 29 “what is going to become of us without him she wept” This shows that the people cannot think beyond the reality of the general.
Pg. 88 “he asked what time is it and they had answered him whatever you command general sir and it was true” The people have faith in the general’s power to change reality.
Second Stage: pg. 43 “none of us was old enough to remember what happened the first time, but we knew that no evidence of his death was final, because there was always another truth behind the truth.” The people cannot fully trust the general their comments contain a tone of doubt.
Pg. 125 “it seemed impossible from our time to trust still the prognostications of the cards regarding his fate”
Third Stage: pg. 245 “but no one went out general because nobody had forgotten that one other time they had told us the same thing” The citizens have a mistrust of the government and no longer see the general as infallible.
Pg. 268-269 “what we knew only too well was that it was arduous and ephemeral but there wasn’t any other general, because we knew who we were while he was left never knowing it”
3. Success of Novel’s Argument- The ideas in the novel are expressed successfully.
Personal Response- I was moved by the novel. It was a moving and touching portrayal of power and corruption.
Agreement with Author- I agree with the author’s argument. It is important to understand that the only way to fully live is to love. The inability to love limits the general and all of his conquests are meaningless. Marquez shows that there is a multiplicity of viewpoints in the postmodern world. He also admits that there are certain types of truths, he is a limited postmodernist not a radical postmodernist.
Disagreement with Author- Marquez portrays the general as an intolerable man. Even if the reader does not agree with Marquez’s argument, the reader does sympathize with his point of view.
Argument Relative to Today- Society needs to understand that life is always in flux and in order to appreciate life one must value life. Individuals need to love and grasp a carpe diem attitude. This is timeless.
Liveliness of Author’s Argument- Marquez avoids long speeches and does not get preachy. He uses suttle hints through diction and syntax.
Author’s Biased Revealed Through- Marquez reveals his bias through his use of diction and his employment of the points of view of different characters in the novel.
4. Major Characters
Zacharias- The General, aged between 107-232, had over 5000 children, a comic tyrant.
Monsignor Demitrius- Priest sent to investigate Bendicion’s sainthood.
Patricio Aragones- The General’s double, killed by a poison dart, told the General truths.
General Rodrigo de Aguilar- The General’s lifelong comrade, only person authorized to beat the General in dominoes, killed and served at banquet.
Bendicion Alvarado- The General’s mother, exiled to suburban mansion.
Leticia Nazareno- The General’s wife, kidnapped by the General, taught the general how to read and written, killed by attack dogs.
Emmanuel- The General’s only legitimate son, killed by attack dogs.
Lauturo Munoz- A general-poet, tyrant.
General Adriano Guzman- Went to one of the general’s parties, got drunk urinated on the presents and stripped.
General Narciso Lopez- Died from a dynamite stick shoved up his ass.
General Jesucristo Sanchez- Beaten to death by comrades who thought he had rabies.
General Lotario Sereno- Drowned on his horse.
General Jacinto Alagarabia- Had a son by his mother and drank wood alcohol.
General Saturno Santos- The Indian, the general’s back up man, skilled harp player.
Manuela Sanchez- Haunts the general in a dream, carries a rose, general claims he sent a comet for her, she runs away from him.
Dionosio Iguaran- His cock beat the general’s cock, hung himself in fear.
Francisca Linero- Raped by the general, wife of Poncio.
Poncio Daza- Husband of Francisca, killed by the Indian.
Jose Ignacio de la Barra- Had a torture chamber, cut off 918 heads.
Braulio Linares Moscote- The general recognizes him and throws him in jail.
5. Major Symbols, Places, Objects
The Sea- Feminine, soul of people, unattainable to general.
The Palace- Place where the general lives, where his concubine also live.
23 Windows- Number of windows in palace, the general looks out to see the sea every night.
14 Mirrors- The general looks at himself every night.
The Birds- Taken care of by the general’s mother, she paints birds when they die.
The Cows- Roam the streets because they are sacred.
The Lepers- Believe that a touch of the general will heal them.
The Hurricane- Killed all the priests and nuns, general was happy because it helped him forget about Manuela Sanchez.
6. Five Significant Quotations
One: “that he was condemned not to know life except in reverse, condemned to decipher the seams and straighten the threads of the woof and the warp of the tapestry of illusions of reality without suspecting even too late that the only livable life was one of show” 268
Two: “I described with schoolboy examples because he couldn’t grasp abstract notions, so I began by showing him that Leticia Nazareno owed us for an amount of taffeta twice the nautical distance to Santa Maria del Altar, that is, one hundred ninety leagues, and he said aha as if to himself…and he said aha again” 186
Three: “we thought it was just one more of the many aulic messages they sent to villages with an entourage of old quacks to try to convince us of the last thing we needed to believe that he had given skin back to the lepers, sight to the blind, agility to the cripples, we thought it was the last resort of the regime to call attention to an improbable president whose personal guard was reduced to a patrol of recruits” 249
Four: “Manuela Sanchez of my evil hour with her muslin dress and the hot coal of a rose in her hand…extinguish that rose he moaned while he felt around for the light switch and found Manuela Sanchez of my madness instead of the light” 67
Five: “a comic tyrant who never knew where the reverse side was and where the right of this life with an insatiable passion that you never dared even imagine out of the fear of knowing what we knew only too well that it was arduous and ephemeral but there wasn’t any other, general, because we knew who we were while he was left never knowing it forever” 268-269
7. Criticisms and Valuable Readings
“The Theory of Male Moral Development,” Lawrence Kohlberg- Modernist absolutism and a distinction between the sexes.
In a Different Voice, Carol Gilligan- Postmodern contextualism and a feminine viewpoint.
“Domination and Subordination,” Toward a New Psychology of Women- The postmodern societal roles of feminine and masculine archetypes.
“The Meanings of Literature,” Reality Isn’t What It Used To Be- The role of literature in the postmodern world and the deconstructionist view of literature.
He, Robert Johnson- An understanding into the masculine psyche and the development of men.