Psychological Analysis Of Jose Arcadio Buendia Essay

, Research Paper

Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, lived and

experienced one of the most intriguing cultures in the world, Latin American.

These experiences play a dominant role in the development of the characters,

specifically Jose Arcadio Buendia. Resulting from this vast culture is the

profound psychological makeup interwoven with Jose Arcadio Buendia, which

Freudian interpretation proves to be a useful tool in evaluating. With the

conscious and subconscious decisions that Jose Arcadio Buendia makes, the

distortion of reality becomes an issue. Because of the determination, or better

called an illusional interest, he utilizes all his time to his current

curiosity, thus causing him to forget his duties as a leader and a father.

Through these conflictions or oppositions, Marquez consequently led to the

growth of a complex, in-depth psychological makeup of his characters, based on

the elements of Latin American cultural values of family, honor, and dedication.

However, by understanding the Latin American culture, a psychological

interpretation can provide the reader with the reasons why Jose Arcadio Buendia

complies or diverges from tradition and the characteristics that leads him to

his downfall.

Jose Arcadio Buendia?s psychological construction can be seen from the

beginning of the book. Marquez implements his successes and failures to portray

to the reader the inner psychological build-up of Jose Arcadio Buendia. This

inner psyche effects every decision of Jose Arcadio Buendia throughout the book

and are all related to the Latin American society in which Marquez lived in.

Throughout Latin American history, we can see the dominating male role in social

life, from common day-to-day decisions to marital life. For example, we see

Latin American males commonly have mistresses without consequences from the

government or the wife, thus demonstrating male power. This male leadership can

be observed in the beginning of One Hundred Years of Solitude when Jose Arcadio

Buendia was fascinated by the inventions of the gypsies. Without asking, Jose

Arcadio Buendia took the money from Ursula to purchase the magnifying glass that

he wanted. ?That money was from a chest of gold coins that her (Ursula) father

had put together over an entire life of privation and that she had buried

underneath her bed in hopes of a proper occasion to make use of it.? (Pg. 3)

Later in the book, Ursula was afraid of having deformed children therefore

causing her to wear a rudimentary chastity belt. Jose Arcadio Buendia, after the

killing of Prudencio for taunting him about not having sex with Ursula, returns

home and ?pointing the spear at her he ordered: Take them off. Ursula had no

doubt about her husband?s decision? If you bear iguanas, we?ll raise iguanas.?

(Pg. 22) As the Marquez continues, we can see major flaws appear in Jose Arcadio

Buendia?s progression of thought. Marquez first amazes the reader with Jose

Arcadio Buendia?s dedication to advancing Macondo?s technology and social life,

but the constant failures and shifting of interests presents to the reader the

opportunity to question Jose Arcadio Buendia?s capabilities. The sanity of Jose

Arcadio Buendia is even questioned by Ursula, ?If you have to go crazy, please

go crazy all by yourself!? (Pg. 5) Thus the foreshadowing of Jose Arcadio

Buendia?s downfall is established and proven when he loses all sanity and speaks

a ?devilish? language. ?Ten men were needed to get him down, fourteen to tie him

up, twenty to drag him to the chestnut tree in the courtyard, where they left

him tied up, barking in the strange language.? (Pg. 81) This suggests the reader

to believe that Jose Arcadio Buendia?s psychological makeup, although extremely,

maybe overly, dedicated, has numerous flowing ideas to improve society, but his

inability to sort out reality from magic hinders him from any success at all.

This is further supported when Jose Arcadio Buendia, although possessing a

compass, sextant, and map and fully knowledgeable on their functions, gets lost

in nature. Marquez is revealing Jose Arcadio Buendia?s psyche as having an

imagination too far ahead of his current business and unable to concentrate his

talents to form a purposeful outcome.

This scattering of concentration results in an effect and distortion of reality

in a manner that the reader can interpret this distortion as Marquez?s magical

realism or just a figment of the character?s imaginations. ?The pot was firmly

placed in the center of the table, but just as soon as the child made his

announcement, it began an unmistakable movement toward the edge, as if impelled

by some inner dynamism, and it fell and broke on the floor.? (pg. 15) This, to

the reader, obviously is a representation of one of the magical realism evident

throughout the whole book. Nevertheless, Ursula?s perception of the incident

caused her fright however, Jose Arcadio Buendia merely deduced it as a natural

phenomenon. ?Ursula, alarmed, told her husband about the episode, but he

interpreted it as a natural phenomenon.? (Pg.15) We can see here how the

different perspective of each character in One Hundred Years of Solitude can

affect the interpretation of an event. ?That was the way he always was, alien to

the existence of his sons, partly because he considered childhood as a period of

mental insufficiency, and partly because he was always too absorbed in his

fantastic speculations.? (Pg. 15-16) This further provides us evidence on how

the psychological makeup of Jose Arcadio Buendia of over dedication allows him

to overlook concerns for his own family and duties. As Marquez progresses to

exploit Jose Arcadio Buendia?s weakness of divided attention and the

disappointment of failure throughout all his ventures, the reader can witness

more and more his distortion of reality, until finally his complete downfall to

insanity. ?but suddenly I realized that it?s still Monday, like yesterday. Look

at the sky, look at the walls, look at the begonias. Today is Monday too.? (Pg.

80) ?Then he grabbed the bar from a door and with the savage violence of his

uncommon strength he smashed to dust the equipment in the alchemy laboratory,

the daguerreotype room, the silver workshop, shouting like a man possessed in

some high-sounding and fluent but completely incomprehensible language.? (Pg.

81) Although this decline from a dedicated genius to a ?crazy man? might

unmistakably seem like only a tragedy, however, we can consider these ventures,

that Jose Arcadio Buendia pursues, a process of self-discovery. We can consider

Jose Arcadio Buendia?s engagement in alchemy, military weapons, and astronomy as

trying to discover his true self; an active portray of a confused psychological

mind attempting to discover its identity, but ultimately failing because of the

instability and the divergence of his concentrations.

We can also apply the Freudian theory to analyze the actions of Jose Arcadio

Buendia. An apparent example occurs during the confrontation between Jose

Arcadio Buendia and Prudencio. Jose Arcadio Buendia?s id, suffering from the

lack of sex, is urging for the immediate satisfaction, but because of Ursula?s

fear of abnormal child production, this urge was suppressed. This suppression

finally explodes when Prudencio taunts Jose Arcadio Buendia, causing him to kill

Prudencio. ?And then to Prudencio Aguilar : You go home and get a weapon,

because I?m going to kill you?There was no time to defend himself. Jose Arcadio

Buendia?s spear, thrown with the strength of a bull? pierced his throat.? (Pg.

22) Jose Arcadio Buendia returns home demanding the sex he has been deprived of,

thus satisfying his libido. The unwanted consequences were repressed, not

surfacing until the superego initiates. This guilt from the superego ultimately

causes Jose Arcadio Buendia and all of his people to move to Macondo. ?It?s all

right, Prudencio, we?re going to leave this town, just as far away as we can go,

and we?ll never come back. Go in peace now.? (Pg. 23) ?Jose Arcadio Buendia

buried the spear in the courtyard and, one after the other, he cut the throats

of his magnificent fighting cocks, trusting that in that way he could give some

measure of peace to Prudencio Aguilar.? (Pg. 23) Another representation of

libido is embedded in Jose Arcadio. Jose Arcadio?s sex drive is strong

throughout the novel from the beginning with Pilar, ?I want to be alone with

you. One of these days I?m going to tell everybody and we can stop all of this

sneaking around.? (Pg. 29-30) to when he returns with Rebeca, ?She managed to

thank God for having been born before she lost herself in the inconceivable

pleasure of that unbearable pain, splashing in the steaming marsh of the hammock

which absorbed the explosion of blood like a blotter.? (Pg. 95) As we can see,

One Hundred Years of Solitude can be interpreted numerous ways, which provides

us different perspectives on the book.

Through analyzing the psychological development of Jose Arcadio Buendia, the

reader can have insights on the complex motives, which Marquez provides. These

motives can help the reader understand Marquez?s magical realisms or even the

Hispanic background. Also, these actions serve as a process for Jose Arcadio

Buendia?s recognition of his true identity. In combination, Marquez not only is

developing an intricate character, but also creating opportunities for him to

interweave his own opinions, such as religion, science, or war. Whether one

chooses a Freudian analysis or not, each unique perspective plays an important

role in the comprehension of the novel.

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