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Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The most famous place in South America, for those well read in literature, may be a town that does not exist. This town, Macondo, is the creation of Gabriel Garcia Marquez and the center of action in his novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. To say that Macondo never existed is tantamount to asserting the same for the Garden of Eden - one may have opinions, but there always remains some trace of doubt. Macondo breathes of mystery and wonder that gives the novel a Biblical, for lack of a better word, feeling that most readers will sense. So much fantasy and surrealism abound that the world Garcia Marquez presents seems as foreign as the ancient Holy Land. For most Western readers, Macondo could seem even more foreign. Does this say something about the West's indifference to learning about other cultures, or is Macondo so far-fetched that the connection is inappropriate? Often, a great cultural barrier seems to exist between America and Latin America. So one may ask how fantasy in the novel affects one in light of this cultural separation. Is it a hindrance, or does it somehow bring one closer to understanding the culture? The answers lie in the use of fantasy and myth by Garcia Marquez.

Before looking at the relation between fantasy and cultural understanding, one should examine the cultural significance of the novel. The culture that one is hopefully led to understand represents Latin American culture, especially that of Colombia. Macondo is representative of Latin America, in many aspects of Latin American society, from its class structure to its customs. One can see the representation of the upper class - Fernanda - and of the common class - Ursula. As in Latin America, the Catholic Church dominates religiously. The novel can also be read as a history of Colombia. Robert G. Meal Jr. says, "Macondo may be regarded as a microcosm of the development of much of the Latin American continent" (Meal). Macondo begins as a...

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez. (1969, December 31). In Retrieved 20:58, May 27, 2020, from