History is repetitive. This is the notion that Gabriel Garcia Marquez wants to imply in his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. The family member’s name and the cycles of disaster supports this claim on the past, present and future time frame within the novel. The most important effects of the novel lies within the linear and circular sense of time. First is the strong sense of linear development in Macondo’s town. The transition of from its founding through its evolution as a flourishing modern town up to the point of its decline, eventual and irrevocable annihilation.
The town’s linear history is divided into four sections: It is like an early eden where Utopian innocence and social harmony abides and its inhabitants are innocent and they haven’t experienced death and even don’t know how to name things in the world “was so recent that many things lacked names, and in order to indicate them it was necessary to point” (Marquez, 1970, p.11). From chapter 1 to five of the book that covers this section, it moves and introduces military struggles by presenting various civil wars and revolutions from chapter 6 to 9 and then it presents prosperity in economics but a spiritual downfall from chapters 10 to 15 and on the remaining chapters 16 to 20 the decadence and physical destruction was presented.
Its narrative provided to the readers by Marquez follows this linear sense of time so that we may be able to know where are we in the story. Thanks to nature’s various invasion that occurs because we were able to notice the difference between the time frames. The outsiders who bring latest technologies and bureaucracies like the government officials, priests, gypsies, military forces, railways, the ubiquitous lawyer, the American capitalists and many more.
The invasions that repetitively encountered in the novel is something that cannot be controlled within the town since it comes without warnings and the characters doesn’t know how to react with such interventions along their way. The reaction of Jose Arcadio to the gypsies, the reaction of the citizens to the phones and movies appears to be eccentric and unpredictable and such powerlessness of people take charge in Macondo’s world from the invasions arriving form outside.
The linear sense of time underscores in the development of the Buendia Family, they form a series of figures which symbolizes particular period of history were they belong. Jose Arcadio, the patriarch is somewhat a Renaissance man with pioneering ambitions and energies and has many interests, his son is a great leader whose name is Aureliano and a civil war participant. Succeeded by Aureliano Segundo who is a bourgeois farmer-entrepreneur and his twin Jose Arcadio Segundo who works for the American Capitalists and who was a radical labor organizer, a strong linear force from generation to generations seen from the driving events in Macondo which was imposed from outside.
Moving on to the circular history of time in the novel, the response of the people from Macondo, particularly to the reaction of the Buendias, the linear march from above creates a second sense of time which is history as obsessively circular. The changes in their occupations constantly repeats the experience of earlier generations. “While the Aurelianos were withdrawn but with lucid minds, the Jose Arcadios were impulsive and enterprising, but marked with a tragic sign.” This is Ursula’s remarks where a strong sense of fate in a repetitive way to the person has been named and then the major characteristic of their life was determined, that person will repeat the events of the lives of their ancestors.
The way the characters died in the novel is also preordained in a sense. The Jose Arcadios suffers from diseases and the three Aurelianos died with mental powers intact and eyes all opened. They all succumb to a self-imposed exile which last for solitary decades.
The irony of inevitable repetition from previous actions is an important image in the novel because from this sense of repetition the comic energies and visionary schemes as well as the sexual prowess constantly celebrates and was undercut.
There was no mystery in the heart of a Buendia that was impenetrable for [Pilar Ternera] because a century of cards and experience had taught her that the history of the family was a machine with unavoidable repetitions, a turning wheel that would have gone on spilling into eternity were it not for the progressive and irremediable wearing of the axle. ((Marquez, 1970, p.402).
As we read it with delight and watch the generally erratic spinning wheel, we are also aware of the axle’s wearing and eventually made us see it snap. In other words, the Buendia and the people of Macondo indeed has a vital and amusing present. But their lives has no meaning because of their incapacity to control their own history and their past is largely unknown to them except their nostalgia and their present, if active and their non existent future.
The inseparability of past, present and future is seen on the names, personalities and events repetition in the novel. Ursula notices that Macondo is not finite it moves forward over and over again. People cannot see what happens before because they already see what will happen in the future. Other times the future becomes as easy to recall as the past.
In One hundred years of Solitude, history is cruel and it is experienced by the characters as a fantasy and made them forget the past so quick we can see here that Marquez’s main point in using the significance of repetition is for the readers to obtain a strong sense of tragic futility of such attitude. We have to move on and close the chapter of Macondo and do a new chapter of our own history and story.
It is an awakening that on each character, there should be an attitude of always moving forward and never to rely what had happen to the past although you are named after that person. Its time to wake up being trapped from the pattern which is repeated over and over especially with the Buendia men who strives hard for their fulfillment as a young men but ended uf withdrawing because of frustration. It is not an accidental condition it could be avoided if only they did not enclosed themselves in solitude as if it were their shroud. As a result they become yet another emblem of the unreality