Latin America celebrates rich talents of novelists and other great figures in the field of
literature. The part of America has robust literature and culture that can only be exhausted
through writing. Understanding the culture and way of life of the Latin Americans can be fully
understood through an effective and efficient study of their literate. It has renowned figures and
novelists whose works continue to be celebrated across the globe. Through works on Literature
from Latin America, different events and activities are reflected and brought out to the
international scene. Literature has thus played a vital role in informing the rest of the world about
life in Latin America. This paper intends to conduct a holistic review of Latin American
literature. It will use “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez for the
analysis. The paper will offer a summary of the main points in the novel as well as providing a
robust analysis of different literary elements in the novel.
Summary of the Main Points in the Novel
Published in 1967, “One Hundred Years of Solitude” is regarded as Garcia's masterpiece
and an accurate reflection of his magic realism ideas. The novel offers a chronological account of
seven generations of the Buendia family (Márquez, 2014). The generation coincides with a
hundred years of turbulence in the History of Latin America. This section discusses the
characters in the novel, main characters, themes highlighted, the plot, historical figures as well as
literary elements used.
The main characters
The novel features many characters the taking part in the various actions explaining the
generational changes in the Buendia family. The main characters in the book include; Jose
Buendia. He is the patriarch of the Buendia family and the founder of Macondo. He is married to
LATIN AMERICAN NOVEL REVIEW 3
Ursula Iguaran. He is haunted by a man he killed in a duel. Ursula Iguaran is another character
featured in the novel. The two are members of the first generation. The second generation
features characters such as; Jose Arcadio, Colonel Aureliano Buendia, Remedios Moscote,
Amaranta, and Rebeca. The third generation has characters such as; Arcadio, Aureliano Jose,
Santa Sofia, and the 17 Aurelianos (Márquez, 2014). Remedios the Beauty, José Arcadio
Segundo, Aureliano Segundo are featured in the fourth generation. Other characters are found in
the fifth, sixth and seventh generations.
A hundred years of solitude is a generational story of the Buendia family. The founding
fathers of the family Jose Buendia and Ursula leave Colombia after Arcadio kills Aguilar after a
cocktail fight. The latter was killed for accusing Buendia of being impotent. While on the
emigration journey, Buendia dreams of Macondo a city of mirrors that reflected the different
activities happening in the world. The following morning, he established the town of Macondo
on the river banks. He believes that Macondo is to be surrounded by water. From the island, he
invents the world from his perceptions (Márquez, 2014). After some time, Macondo is exposed
to the outside world and the government of Colombia. A country that has just attained her
independence. Political intrigues ensue in Colombia with claims of rigged elections coming up.
New technology is introduced to the Macondo through railroad and foreign settlers also come
into the country. With the introduction of new technology, the coming of new settlers alongside
other foreigners, problems and development alike sets into Macondo. As the novel ends,
Macondo has fallen into difficulties and is in a near-abandoned state. Amaranta Úrsula and her
nephew Aureliano are the only Buendias remaining at the end of the novel.
LATIN AMERICAN NOVEL REVIEW 4
Themes play an imperative role in literature. It is through themes that different events and
activities happening in the society are reflected. Authors use characters and literary styles to
communicate their themes to the audience. The main themes highlighted in the novel are;
solitude, incest, the fluidity of time, magic realism and subjectivity of reality. The most
prominent theme in the novel is solitude. Different kinds of solitude are highlighted. For
instance, the Macondo was founded in the jungles, deep inside the rainforests of Colombia. The
solitude of town is also expressed as representation in the colonial history of Latin America.
Propensity toward incest is another theme strongly expressed in the novel. There are several
instances of marriage between cousins in the family of Buendia.
In the bid to effectively and efficiently communicate his messages to the audience, the
author deploys the use of several literary factors. The use of these elements makes it easier for
the audience to understand the messages in the simplest way possible. Symbolism and metaphors
are literary elements enormously used in the novel. Ghosts haunt many characters at different
stages of the novel and generations. Zombies are used in the story to symbolize the past and the
haunting nature it has on the Macondo family. Actions of their forefathers extremely haunt the
Buendia family. The fate of the family is therefore doomed and predetermined from its existence.
Another literary element used is repetition of history. Flashbacks and magical realism are other
elements used. The deployment of a particular event in history and characters coupled with
effective use of literary styles make the novel outstanding and exemplary magical work amongst
LATIN AMERICAN NOVEL REVIEW 5
Historical Elements in the Novel
As an intergenerational story, the novel highlights various historical elements vital in the
understanding of Latin American history. The book reflects different historical events in Latin American
history. It represents the rise and fall of different communities and cultures in Latin America. It, therefore,
acts as a special tool through which the history of this part of American can be understood. My
understanding of the Latin American culture has greatly been improved through reading the novel "One
Hundred Years of Solitude." For instance, I have developed a deep understanding that amongst various
communities in Latin America, marriage between cousins is allowed. The novel discusses multiple
instances in which related members of the family are married and raise families. Secondly, through the
novel, I had developed an understanding of how naming is done in the Latin American culture. Amongst
these cultures, young ones are named after older or dead members of the family for continuity of the
Reading the book has also shaped my understanding of the unique role and ability of spirits
among Latin Americans. Dead souls are regarded as being powerful and destructive especially to people
who killed other members of the society. Several members of the Buendia family are being haunted by
ghosts believed to be from the man killed by the founding father of the family. The curse is passed on
from one generation to another. The novel has further shaped my understanding of how Latin American
cultures got involved in different wars in the fight of their freedom. Mysteries spun around the
generations out of nothing causing havoc and problems to the generations.
The story is set in the pre-colonial era and highlights the problems and misfortunes that befall the
Latina American communities during the colonial period. The novel consequently explains the benefits of
the coming of the colonial masters. Through the use of Macondo, the era of prosperity witnessed during
the colonial era explained. The arrival of the foreign settlers into Macondo, as well as the introduction of
new technology into the country, is a representation of the various benefits that came along with
colonialism. The novel is thus full of insights and abundant information on Latin American history.
LATIN AMERICAN NOVEL REVIEW 6
I have on several occasions read novels especially those by Latin Americans. However, reading
“One Hundred Years of Solitude” brought a new experience and understanding of the Latin American
culture and history. Unlike other Latin American authors, Gabriel Garcia novel has a rich sense of
authenticity. It represents the reality of how Latin America countries suffered a period of solitude during
the colonial period. Through the use of different styles, the author has made an understanding of the novel
simpler. It is therefore different from other Latin American novelists through its diction, style, and choice
of language. I find the story interesting and enjoyable to read.
In conclusion, it is right to infer that Latin America has a many novelist and books which offer
comprehensive coverage of their culture. "One Hundred Years of Years of Solitude" is an example of
such novels that reflect the life Latin American culture. The novel covers different aspects of Latin
America and their struggles as well as challenges during the colonial era. Through reading the novel,
understanding the culture and history of Latin Americans has been made easier.
LATIN AMERICAN NOVEL REVIEW 7
Márquez, G. G. (2014). One hundred years of solitude.