Magic realism is the genre of Marquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude making the emphasis of the novel surreal. Time, therefore supplements the surreal quality through concurrent incorporation of both linear and circular structure. In the majority of novels time is structured linearly where events occur one after the other chronologically allowing the reader to register action and climax.
One Hundred Years of Solitude incorporates a linear structure due to its simplistic plot out line. That is, the marriage between Jose Arcadio Buendia and his cousin Ursula, together they find and found the village of Macondo, their family grows and develops later declining and eventually being wiped out through a hurricane. Encompassed within the linear framework is the cyclic structure where generations are constantly repeated, generation after generation. Children evolve into their elders generally with exaggerated flaws. Suggested from this cyclic structure of time if that people do not always tend to develop their character.
From the time of the establishment of Macondo the story line follows a continuous linear structure until it’s destruction. The story follows it’s foundation, development into a growing modern town and to it’s eventual decline. Following this linear structure the town Macondo itself develops over time. Isolation and innocence is the initial existence of the town, where “the world was so recent that many things lack names.” Implying that the town was initially like Eden. Macondo turns to military struggle leading to economic prosper and the eventual destruction from the hurricane.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez however does not account for events in a linear time frame. He rather works back and forth through time evoking the atmosphere of history being recounted as a meandering story. The first sentence of the novel “Many years later, as he faces the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice”, refers to an incident far in the future. That is the planned execution of Colonel Aureliano Buendia. This muddled chronology of the framework on the novel blurs the difference between memory, history and fiction. Therefore time is subject to human fantasy and memory.
Diverging from the set structure of the development of Macondo is the characters and in particular the Buendias family. Personalities of characters tend to repeat the experiences of the similar character from past generations. This repetition is symbolized by the naming of the characters, that is with the same or similar name, characters are therefore doomed to recreate the lives of their ancestors. This implies Garcia Marquez believes that genetics controls individuals destiny’s as opposed to their surroundings.
Ursula Iguran’s life spans for a very long time, out living the lives of her three children. Ursula is the character who keeps the house from falling apart due to being untroubled by anxiety that the rest of Marquez’ characters appear to be worried by. Due to Ursulas experience of many generations she is able to come to the realization that time in Macondo is not bound to societies generalization of time and therefore does not move forward in the common sense that time does. Ursula comments that ” while the Aurelianos were withdrwn but with lucid minds, the Jose Arcadios were impulsive and enterprising but marked with a tragic sign” .
One Hundred Years of Solitude is the epitome of an epic, as Ian Johnston said, due to it’s “long narrative fiction with a huge scope which holds up for our inspection a particular cultural moment in the history of a people” – the Buendias family and Latin America. This epic, to an extent works to roughly illustrate the history of Colombian history through the civil war, unrest and banana plantation as well broadening the outlook into struggles within Latin America in regards to colonialism. As a result from this, time Garcia Marquez has had to be skillful in order to compress a large history into this novel.
The magic realism of One Hundred Years of Solitude has aided Marquez’ use of time. This is due to the magical world of Macondo, where nothing is quite as it seems. One the reader has entered the Marquez’ world, the town of Macondo imagination is the key. Time is therefore used artistically in order to supplement this magic world. That is in the cyclical structure where nothing follows the bound understanding that time has become in the present world. Time therefore does not divide as society wishes to classify it, which is into past, present and future.
Time is used to supplement the entire novel and thus aids its effectiveness. The cyclical structure in of greater prominence in the novel due to its confrontation which initial leaves the reader confusion but eventually develops the main theme of the novel, solitude. The repetition of characters is a result of the individual’s solitude, as a result they can not develop on take on their genetic roles.