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100 Years Of Solitude Essay Research Paper

100 Years Of Solitude Essay, Research Paper

100 Years of Solitude

Just as Edmund Spenser believes in ?the ever-whirling wheel of Change; that

which all mortal things doth sway,? so too does Gabriel Garc?a M?rquez. In One Hundred

Years of Solitude, Colonel Aureliano Buend?a experiences life and the changes which

accompany it. Spenser views human life as a constant change from one stage to another.

The change may be either good or bad; but one thing is certain, change is inevitable.

Colonel Buend?a is a dynamic character who transforms from an idealistic leader into an

increasingly cynical and corrupt man. Toward the end of his life, he isolates himself from

the rest of the world.

In the beginning of Aureliano?s career, he is an idealistic leader who is respected

by his peers. He leads an uprising of ?twenty-one men under the age of thirty, armed with

table knives and sharpened tools? against the Conservatives occupying Macondo. He

adamently disagrees with their form of government and begins the reform movement led

by the anticlerical and democratic bourgeoisie. After the Liberal victory, Aureltio becomes

?Colonel Aureliano Buend?a.? Aureliano?s leadership parallels his father?s leadership of

these young men?s fathers who helped him found the village of Macondo. Similarly,

Aureliano commands respect from his subordinates and has enormous power over other

men as well. After being captured by the enemy, Aureliano is not executed because the

Conservative firing squad is only too happy to switch sides and follow him into the Liberal

army. Colonel Aureliano appears to be immortal and ubiquitous, returning triumphant,

surviving numerous assassination attempts, and continuing to hold the loyalty of his

friends. When his comrade in-arms and oldest friend, Colonel Gerineldo M?rquez,

proposes marriage to Aureliano?s sister, Amaranta boldly rejects him because ?[Gerineldo]

loves Aureliano so much [he] wants to marry [her] because [he] can?t marry [Aureliano].?

The Colonel has great allegiance and affection from those below him. However, as

Aureliano?s attitudes change, he loses their love and respect.

After fighting many battles, Aureliano becomes increasingly cynical and corrupt.

He comes to understand his own thoughts by writing out his experiences in verse. In this

way, he comes to the terrible realization that ?[he] is fighting for pride.? As for what

Gerineldo calls the ?Great Liberal party,? Aureliano declares that it ?doesn?t mean

anything to anybody? because the only difference between the Liberals and the

Conservatives is the different hours that each party attends mass. Worse, he determines

that his heroic struggle has simply been another Latin American power play. Likewise,

Aureliano is a sell-out. He is easily persuaded to give up everything that he has gained for

the Liberal cause: land reform, anticlericalism, and the ?aspiration for equality of rights

between natural and legitimate children? for money from the Conservatives. The warfare is

futile and has caused him to ?rot alive.? Power has gripped the Colonel, distorting his

idealism and his values from his earlier days, when he thought it important to redistribute

lands and protect civilian lives. In the same way, he orders Gerineldo M?rquez executed

because of a trivial matter. He then spends the night trying to break ?the hard shell of his

solitude? in order to recover some compassion for others. What results, though, is not

love, but a new burst of pride and power. He decides to end the civil war by force rather

than negotiation. Aureliano?s cynicism and debauched view of the world lead to the final

tragic stage of his life.

In the latter part of his life, the once glorious Colonel Aureliano Buend?a isolates

himself from the world around him. He does not have the capacity to love, and the fact

that he has had sex with countless women, without ever learning their names or even

waiting for daylight to see their faces, shows his inability to experience true love. He has

fathered seventeen ?children of all ages, all colors, but all males and all with a look of

solitude that left no doubt as to the relationship.? His indifference to his surroundings and

circumstances lead to his loneliness. Like his father before him, the Colonel begins to lose

contact with the world. He reaches the extreme of self-isolation when he orders a chalk

circle drawn around him and refuses to let anyone, even his mother, come closer than two

meters. The futility and desperation of his solitude is shown by his frustrated suicide

attempt. After the Conservative victory, he tries to kill himself by aiming the gun to his

chest. But the bullet misses all his vital organs. For the remaining years of his life,

Aureliano ?busies himself destroying all trace of his passage through the world…and the

trunk of poetry? that he has written. In addition, he repeatedly makes, melts down, and

then remakes little fishes out of gold, just to keep himself from thinking about his

condition. He dies, finally, in solitude, leaning against the same chestnut tree where his

mad father passed away.

Throughout Aureliano?s life, he undergoes a transformation from a lively leader to

a corrupt cynic, and ultimately dies a dispassionate loner. The civil war causes him to

continually alter his attitude on life. The views which he once had, slowly disappeared, just

as the hands of time turn into fading memories. As the present becomes the past, his once

idealistic approach to his existence withers into withdrawal from society. While the spokes

of Aureliano?s wheel are becoming loose going downhill on the road of life, the wheel of

change never ceases to stop rolling.

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