One Hundred Years of Solitude Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- Much of the novel is about failures in parenting. Can you think of examples where parents actually do anything useful or beneficial for their children? Now imagine switching parent-child roles. For example, how would Arcadio have turned out if he had been raised by Rebeca? By a younger Úrsula? Are there childless characters that would have benefitted from raising kids? Parents who would have benefitted from being childless?
- Which of the characters in this novel is the most magical? The most normal? The strangest combination of the two?
- Compare the two examples of mass-scale violence in the novel: the Colombian civil wars and the banana company massacre. Is it clear in both cases which side we are supposed to sympathize with?
- We are obviously meant to take some of the supernatural things that happen in the novel at face value – for example, the gypsies' flying carpets, Melquíades returning from the dead, José Arcadio's target-seeking blood, Aureliano Segundo and Petra Cotes' endlessly multiplying livestock. Others, though, are clearly meant to indicate that characters are going off the deep end – like Fernanda's communication with the imaginary doctors. What is the difference between the phenomena we are meant to believe and the ones we are meant to question?
- Are women and men depicted differently in this book, or are they all just as messed up as each other?
- One of the key features of the way One Hundred Years of Solitude is written is that the narrator just tells us what happens without any kind of moral judgment or hint about what we should think about the events. Why is this?
- Is the book we are reading supposed to actually be the writings of Melquíades that Aureliano (II) translates? How can you tell?
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