Study Guide

One Hundred Years of Solitude Perseverance

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No Buendía in <em>One Hundred Years of Solitude</em> lacks for energy, and almost none is lazy. One of the novel's overarching themes is the way human activity can be the engine for development, progress, and productive creativity – the kind of perseverance that creates civilization out of nothing. But that same energy can fuel selfish, pointless, repetitive, and fundamentally useless obsessions – the kind of perseverance that nurtures a lifelong hatred or enforces unfair and immoral rules on the less powerful.

Questions About Perseverance

  1. Where is the line between too little determination, healthy perseverance, and overreaching? Can you think of characters who fall into these three categories? How are they similar? Different?
  2. Compare the characters that most embody perseverance in a positive way. How are Úrsula's dealings with the house different than Santa Sofía de la Piedad's? Visitación's? Are there different ways to display perseverance when accomplishing the same task?
  3. Now compare the characters who most embody perseverance in a negative way. For instance, what do Amaranta's self-denial, Colonel Aureliano Buendía's gold fish, and Meme's muteness have in common? How are they different?

Chew on This

One of the ways the novel firmly anchors itself in realism is by showing the tremendous amount of work it takes to keep up the huge Buendía house, which falls into disrepair and ruin at the slightest sign of slack.

Ultimately, productive perseverance (keeping up the house) and unproductive perseverance (making and remaking gold fishes) are shown to be equally useless as all efforts fail in the face of the town's destruction and the Buendía family's implosion.

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