Purkey, Lynn; Gastanaga, Jose-Luis
University of Tennessee at Chattanooga
Place of Publication
In this thesis I intend to analyze Gabriel García Márquez’ canonical, magical realist novel, Cien años de soledad (1967), which is the fictional (and historical) account of several generations of the Buendía family in their town of Macondo. Cien años de soledad made its debut in 1967 at the height of the Latin American “Boom Era” of literature (1960-1970). This novel, García Márquez’ most commercially successful work, has elicited much response in the form of articles and books of literary critique. Due to its complex and repetitive nature, many critics have traditionally sought to uncover possible allegorical and/or symbolic meanings of the work. Given Gabriel García Márquez' recent passing, a new wave of criticism has sprung forth within the literary community. I aim to insert myself into this debate in two ways: first, through a reevaluation of the role of Gabriel García Márquez within the Boom Era and, second, through a multi-layered exploration of three interrelated phenomenon most prevalent within Cien años de soledad: displacement, decipherment, and the myth of origin and identity. These three themes are frequently interlaced throughout the novel, most notably in the Buendía family's constant attempts to decipher the language of the gypsies (a traditionally displaced group), in order to learn their fate. In fact, the novel ends with the final Buendía family member, Aureliano Babilonia, succeeding in the deciphering of a book left behind by the gypsies. In the process of decoding this text he discovers it is actually a detailed account of the family's history, and he comes to the realization that he is reading about the exact moment in which he is living. The novel ends here, with the Pyrrhic victory of Aureliano over the seemingly indecipherable language of his origin. The title of this essay serves two purposes related to my argument about the novel as a whole. I use the word “solicit” first in the Derridean sense which means to “shake as a whole.” Second, I use “solicit” in a prostitutive sense as it relates to the selling of Latin American identity for world consumption. Throughout my study of the novel and my writing of this thesis, I will use these themes within the novel as a point of entry into a larger discussion of Cien años de soledad. My ultimate goal is to use this debate and my analysis in order to gesture towards a deeper understanding of the cultural implications of this novel as a whole.
Dr. Robert Wells, Thesis Director
B. A.; An honors thesis submitted to the faculty of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga in partial fulfillment of the requirements of the degree of Bachelor of Arts.
García Márquez, Gabriel, -- 1927-2014 -- Criticism and interpretation
Latin American Literature
Cauley, Marinda J., "Solicitation of identity in Cien años de soledad" (2015). Honors Theses.