Sunday, March 21, 2010

The End of it All

Well well, we've finally arrived at the end of Marquez's masterpiece. I have to admit, I didn't get a chance to write my blog post last weekend since I was bogged down with massive projects from my other classes. Determined to get to the end of this novel, I sat down today and read the last 170 pages that I had left to get through. When I finally reached the end of the novel I felt like I was in a state of shock, deeply affected by the experience Marquez had given me.

Ultimately, I felt as though the final section of this novel was the most significant. Don't get me wrong, I'm not making this statement as though it's some sort of profound epiphany. Every novel follows the same formula - plot develops, builds to a climax and concludes. Therefore it's natural that things get more exciting around the climax and conclusion. It is the way in which an author takes us through those steps that separates the ordinary from the extraordinary. Clearly Marquez's novel is an example of the latter. Cien aƱos has garnered its esteemed reputation for good reason and if a literary novice like myself can recognize that fact, it's a damn good sign. So, what pray tell made the last section of the novel so significant to me? I think it was the fact that I never would have predicted the novel ending in a manner so vastly different from what I expected. I would never have imagined that Marquez's novel would end in a pair of tragedies. Since the massacre in Macondo and the torrential rains that followed, it seems as though the town of Macondo had been afflicted by some sort of natural plague. The destruction wrought on Macondo and the banana plantation are ultimately the beginning of the end for not only Macondo, but also the Buendia family. It is from this point in the novel that Macondo slowly deteriorates and each member of the Buendia family becomes more withdrawn and solitary. Finally, novel culminates with the incestuous birth of a child with a pig tail and the realization, via reading Malquiades' texts that the demise of the family was already written. Macondo is wiped from existence by a tornado, meanwhile the Buendia legacy dies as it began.

It would be impossible to say that Marquez's conclusion is anything but pessimistic. Essentially, Marquez leaves the reader with the thought that time will always go on, it cannot be hidden from and when your time is up, it's over. It is quite an interesting feeling to walk away from a novel with the realization that death is an inevitable part of the future and to actually feel frightened by that fact.


  1. Yes, I guess the novel is pretty pessimistic (for all the fun and entertainment that it offers). Not least because it seems to offer out the hope of a new beginning immediately before what is in fact the final catastrophe.

  2. In regards to your last paragraph the whole book is pretty pessimistic and the saying: The only things that are certain in life are death and taxes comes to mind

  3. Hey Pat,

    I agree the end is very interesting, probably also because we finally see the strong and harsh way in which the events take a toll ont he characters.