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Author Study: Gabriel García Márquez Curated by Emma Ferguson '18

Latin America's greatest magical realist, Gabriel Garcia Marquez.

Listening to Marquez' Works

The National Library of Congress analyses excerpts from Marquez and examines how his identity shapes Latin America.

1. One Hundred Years of Solitude

"Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice."

Latin America's greatest novel begins this way. Marquez guides his readers through a tangled labyrinth of time and myth in Macondo, an isolated inland town that is revealed to be a "city of mirrors (or mirages)." It was with this book, which represents a crystallised history of Latin America, that Marquez burst onto the literary scene as the father of magical realism and the leader of the movement known as the Latin American Boom.

Themes and Motifs in One Hundred Years of Solitude


Reality is subjective.
Interconnection and outside exposure is unavoidable but not always good.

It is difficult if not impossible to escape the constraints of your heritage.



Colonel Aureliano's little gold fishes--many efforts in Latin America are futile and useless.
Pig's tails & recurring names--you can't escape your family's heritage.

The Railroad and the Banana Company-- interconnection with the Western world has often brought Latin America doom.

Incomprehensible languages--knowledge is powerful, potent, and often can destroy you.

2. Love in the Time of Cholera

After a frantic love affair with Fermina Daza, Florentino Ariza is cruelly rejected. Half a century later, he confesses his love for her again. Based mostly on Marquez' own and his parents' love affairs, Love in the Time of Cholera is a tribute to the indelibility of love. Fellow Colombian singer Shakira recorded two songs for the movie adaptation of this novel.

"The only regret I will have in dying is if it is not for love."

Themes and Motifs in Love in the Time of Cholera

Love is a physical and emotional sickness.
One is only truly in danger of dying when one is without love.
Love is not limited to the young and healthy.

Flowers--every mention of a flower is a reference to love.

Birds--birds are symbolic of forthcoming danger.


3. "Innocent Erendira"

The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and Her Heartless Grandmother is the story of a girl who, having accidentally burnt down her grandmother's house, is sold into prostitution for the rest of her life. It is a heartbreaking description of a meek girl's search for freedom in the hot, dusty, poverty-stricken villages of Latin America. The characters of innocent Erendira and her grandmother also make an appearance, although namelessly, in One Hundred Years of Solitude. A movie adaptation named Erendira is available.

"Erendira was bathing her grandmother when the wind of her misfortune began to blow."