This study will examine Gabriel Garcia Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, focusing on the politics of memory, or how the novel relates the act of remembering or forgetting with political/economic power. The study will argue that the dynamics of power in politics and economics are deeply affected by remembering and forgetting. Invariably, those with power encourage those without power to forget the past, to forget even the future, in order to remain passive in their powerlessness and poverty. On the other hand, those without power are often willing or forced to forget, or, perhaps more often, willing or forced to create for themselves false or mythical memories which allow them to live without power. Overriding these considerations is the untrustworthiness of the world described by a magical realist such as Garcia Marquez. Magical realism creates a "reality" which is constantly being altered and therefore it is difficult to know that the memory of a character or of the entire community is itself trustworthy. The world of Macondo and its people in Garcia Marquez's hands is one which by its very nature defies the memory, or at least the memory which demands certainty and accuracy.
Clearly, Garcia Marquez's novel is not an optimistic one. In that sense, his book is designed to stimulate the memory, to honor the memory and the past, despite the fact that what is remembered by the poor and powerless politically and economically is often very painful. The community portrayed in the novel is one of suffering, one in which the people have great stimulus to forget.
In one sense, Macondo is a symbolic community representing all Latin American nations and their general failure to bring a good life to their people in the century covered. Garcia Marquez focuses not on one character but on the Buendia family through the generations, although the Colonel certainly emerges as a major point of study.
Garcia Marquez creates the world o...