Analysis of the Aspect of Warfare in Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s Novel One Hundred Years of Solitude
Thousand Days of War remains one of the memorable conflicts in Colombian history. New historic criticism is a literary theory that claims that literary texts should be compared to the ancient historic texts to determine their origin. It has been confirmed that new historicists review historical happenings before writing literary texts. In this paper, new historic criticism will be used to analyze a novel entitled One Hundred Years of Solitude, written by Gabriel Garcíia Márquez Marquez. New historic criticism is based on the argument that that literary texts can be better understood when analyzed with reference to other historical texts. Besides, history documents can be analyzed with the tools of literary analysis. As such, most authors of literary materials apply new historic criticism to ensure that they can link the past occurrences with the present so that they can determine the progress. Therefore, they ensure that their literary works resemble historical documents so that new historicists can find it easier during analysis.
This novel One Hundred Years of Solitude will be linking to the events of thousand days war. Gabriel García Garcia Márquez Marquez throws much reference to the timeframe such that the major aspect in the novel, which is warfare, resembles the “a thousand days war” witnessed in Columbia between 1899 and 1902. The aim of this comparative analysis is to relate how the warfare depicted in the novel relate to the real historical events. Also, the analysis is meant to discuss value of the war, the dangers of war on the people and the consequences of the changes brought by war on Macondo.
Pre-Columbian History and Thousand Days War
Thousand days war in Columbia took place from 17th October 1899 to 22nd November 1902. It involved the partisans of the Liberal and Conservative parties (Margarita 29). The war resulted from the fact that the Conservative party had ruled Columbia since 1867. As such, Liberals enjoyed fewer privileges as compared to their counterparts. More so, Liberals consisted mostly of the less privileged as most of them practiced peasant farming. In 1885, the Liberals organized the first attack to the ruling party, the conservatives. However, they faced a strong defeat since their soldiers were less compared to those of the ruling party. After the war, many people died from both sides. Thereafter, the Liberals planned their next step until 1895 whereby they organized another revolutionary outbreak. Still, it did not bear fruitsgive any positive outcome as per their expectations. Their rivals were well prepared since they were the ruling government.
On 17th October 1899, came up with another attack with the aim of overthrowing the ruling government. However, its intensity was weaker as compared to the previous ones. This happened because the government placed 75, 000huge number of soldiers on the battlefield, while the rebelling side had only 35, 000had half of it soldiers. After the war, about 50, 000 people died from both sides. Due to the massive loss of people’s livesdeath, the vice president, Jose Marroquin, planned the imprisonment of the acting president in January 1900. This led to the rise of another civil war since the vice president planned serious attacks against the Liberals. Within seven months, the main liberal forces had been defeated. However, the remaining ones replaced their tactic with guerrilla warfare, which led to massive destruction of property and killing of residents living in rural areas. For the first time, the government failed to stop the Liberals from carrying out their attacks. Thus, they decided to hold peace talks with them whereby they agreed to bring political reforms and start carrying out free and fair elections.
During the warfare period, the needy in Columbia suffered the most since they could not afford to buy commodities from sellers who had taken advantage of the country’s state. Also, the government made the lives of Liberals difficulty by implementing laws that prevented them from accessing government offices. They as well gave many powers to the Catholic clergy such they were eligible to get payment from the residents. Such actions annoyed the partisan Liberals who continued to fight for freedom even after failing consecutively. However, the guerrilla tactic attracted the government’s attention, and on 22nd November 1902, the war ended after signing the treaty of Neerlandia.
Apart from the consistent war between Liberals and Conservatives, the slave trade and unfair trade were common during the Pre-Columbian erawar. Many indigenous people were kidnapped and forced to work in plantations, and also as servants in royal families. During the ‘a thousand days war,’ Liberals were subjected to slavery and unfair trade such that most of them could not afford basic products. This approach was meant to deprive them of basic needs so that they can surrender to the Conservatives. Lastly, Pre-Columbian history was characterized by the Banana Company. In this caseThereafter, Colombia and Panama introduced the banana fruit which was cheaper compared to indigenous fruits such as apples. Thereafter, banana growth expandedexpanded, and its exportation came in place.
Connection between the Novel One Hundred Years of Solitude and Pre Columbian History and A Thousand Days War
There is a clear connection between the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude and the Pre-Columbian History and the A Thousand Days War. “Four soldiers under his command snatched a woman who had been bitten by a mad dog from her family and killed by rifle butts” (Márquez 100). First The tension rises as Colonel Aureliano see the bitterness of the soldiers on his people. of allFirst, the aspect of war unveils itself in both contexts. In the novel, signs of war begin when the sounds of guns are heard in Macondo town. Some people are killed while others get injured during the attack from the intruding soldiers. As a result, Aureliano Buendia who is in charge of the native soldiers in Macondo is heard saying, “Get the boys ready,” he said. “We’re going to war.”( (Márquez 55100). Such a declaration meant that the attackers were serious about taking over the city. Therefore, the local fighters had to take action quickly so as to save their town. Aureliano wanted to make sure that the Liberals retain their way of life and not to give in to the Conservatives whose aim was to destroy the town and its inhabitants and goes on becoming a dictator. At first, Gerineldo Márquez thought Aureliano was joking, and that it was just madness. However, Aurelito answers: “Not madness,” Aureliano said. “War. And don’t call me Aurelito anymore. Now I’m Colonel Aureliano Buendía.” Similarly, the “Pre-Columbian History and A Thousand Days of war” talks about the preparations of war between 1895 and 1902. The Liberals assembled their soldiers so as to attack the Conservatives who made up the ruling government in Columbia.
Also, the issue of cheating during elections is evident in both contexts. In the novel, Aureliano says; “If I were a Liberal,” he said, “I’d go to war because of those ballots.” (Marquez 5396). This statement comes after it was confirmed that the Conservative Party had exchange ballots so as to win elections. As such, Liberals becaome furious with the act and so they had to prepare for war. In Pre-Columbian history, tThe Liberal party as well face the same fate whereby their votes are stolen by the Conservative party. “Another war begins right there. Captain Roque Carnicero and his six men left with Colonel Aureliano to free the revolutionary general Victorio Madina” (129). Due to the intense suffering they were going through as the opposition, they decide to fight for their rights by attacking the government. However, they are defeated on all occasions due to their little number and faultyfewer weapons. This is similar in the novel whereby tThe Liberals comprise of only twenty-one soldiers carrying homemade knives and farming tools as their weapons. Their rivals on the other side were armed with firearms. As a result, the Liberals lost the war terribly.
Apart from using the use of faultyimproper weapons in both the novel and in pre-Columbian history and a thousand days war, both contexts were characterized by massive suffering among the liberals. The writer of the novel One Thousand Years of Solitude, Gabriel García Garcia Márquez, Marquez, seemedlaid out the to be aware of the events well of the ‘a thousand days war.’ “Visitacion died around that time. She had the pleasure of dying a natural death after and her last wish was they should dig up the wages she had saved for more that twenty years and send it to colonel Aureliano Buendia to fund the war” (144). With all the help they could get, For incidence, tthe Liberal in the novel led by Aureliano fights a losing battleetter in which they end up gaining nothing. With no least funds and resources available Colonel and the soldier’s survival gets questionable. Besides, most of them are peasant farmers who depend on farm produce to earn a living. In the novel, Aureliano Buendia complains: ‘When the banana company arrived, however, the local functionaries were replaced by dictatorial foreigners whom Mr. Brown brought to live in the electrified chicken yard so that they could enjoy.” (Márquez 118). The statement shows the Colonel Aureliano was in deep sorrow because of the loss brought by foreigners in Macondo. The Macondo people were going through intense suffering despite their previous efforts to improve their lives. The false promises made by the Banana Company shows a tragic effect on the Maconda people. This state of the town must have annoyed Aureliano who is heard saying; “One of these days,” he shouted, I’m going to arm my boys so we can get rid of these shitty gringos!” (Marquez 119). As the opposition party, their role was to act as a watchdog to the ruling government. Since the government was ruling unfairly, organizing for a revolution was the only option left. A similar action was taken by the Liberals in Columbia after they were subjected to untold suffering by the Conservative Party.
Lastly, the ending of the novel as well connects itself to the Pre-Columbian History and a thousand days war. There was no giving up for Colonel Aureliano but at the end he had no option. “Let’s not waste time on formalities, he said and prepared to sign the papers without reading them” (176). If not for the immediate signing of the treaty of Neerlandia, Columbia could have remained lifeless. The core of the war with no purpose rather that fighting for pride. After the death of Aurelianosigning of the treaty, the whole of Macondo starts undergoing a continuous transformation. There is a deterioration in health, security, and culture. The ruling government does not care about what people are going through, instead, they engage in evil deeds such as beating and killing residents, stops pension for the war veterans. At last, the town goes back to its initial state. “The child described with precise and convincing details how the army had machine-gunned more than three thousand workers penned up the station and how they loaded the bodies and threw them into the sea” (348).The unrealistic action of the Banana Company claiming not to be having any worker and not agreeing to improve and other facilities was a injustice deeds for the people of Macondo those who raised their voice were shot down due to dominance and power of control by United Fruit Company. Ursula exclaimed: “It’s as if the world were repeating itself.” (Marquez 146). Being among the few peoplepioneers of Macondo left alalive, Ursula had all the reasons to be worried. She has seen all of it from the incarnation of Macondo till the apocalypse. Again, these events can be related to the “thousand days of war.” It also involved massive killings and destruction of property. If not for the immediate signing of the treaty of Neerlandia, Columbia could have remained lifeless.
How the Historical Event Informs the Present Day
The events depicted in Pre Columbia history and a thousand days war and the novel One Thousand Years of Solitude shows that war involving the ruling and the opposition parties can result in unexpected damages to the residents. In both cases, there is a massive loss of lives as soldiers try to win against their opponents on the battlefield. Also, a lot of property is damaged as the intruding soldiers try to get space to accomplish their evil acts. Although the Pre Columbian war took between 1899 and 1902, sSimilar outcomes of the war have been witnessed in the present worldday when a country is involved in a civil waras our country has always been at war against terrorism, war against drugs or war against poverty.. Also, the events discussed by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the novel One Thousand Years of Solitude have been witnessed widely in the present day.
Firstly, the historical event clearly informs the events that have been witnessed in the Democratic Republic of Congo since 1996. A President Joseph Makapila had been stubborn such that he could not accept defeat from the opposition. As such, civil wars arose from time to time. The intensity of the war was worse between 1996 and 2003, whichThis led to the death of millions of residents (Khosa 12). In 2017, the country’s opposition leaders signed a deal with President Joseph Makapila so that he can stand down to allow others to rule. The public was also furious with the reluctance of the Makapila to step down since he had led the country into unintended wars which led to the destruction of property and loss of lives. Similar occurrences have been reported in South Sudan whereby the opposition side has been fighting the government since December 2013 (Krause 481). This year, the situation worsened such that many residents were killed in the civil war. Not only in South Sudan but Iraq, Afghanistan, Hongkong are some countries to be spoken of, as the addiction of war haunts every individual.
Based on the occurrences in DRC and South Sudan, it is clear that developingDeveloping countries in the present, experience frequent civil wars more than developed countries. Also, as in the discussed historical event, the rebelliousdisadvantage side suffers the most, and the low-class residents end up losing most of their property since they have less income and savingsed in banks. Moreover so, the countries experiencing frequent civil wars have reported slow development. This is as well depicted in the novel as well as the Pre-Columbian history and a thousand days of war. Therefore, the historical events have a great relevance to the present-day happenings and a lesson for most of us. This shows that the writer, Gabriel GarcíaGarcia Márquez Marquez of the novel One Thousand Years of Solitude had an insight into what is expected to happen in countries that have colliding parties.
Based on the analysis above, new historic criticism involves analyzing literary texts in relation to historical happenings. Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, is a true reflection of the Pre-Columbian History and a Thousand Days War and the history connected to it. The author related the events in the text including the warfare, slavery, and the political proceedings to the actual historical events. Those reading the text can easily relate to the Pre-Columbian History. More so, the text does not only relate to historical events, but it also informs on the present happenings. For example, the political instability witnessed in the Democratic Republic of Congo and South Sudan. Like in Pre-Columbian history, the cause of political instability currently and misuse pf power, false promises before electionsis cheating in elections and stubbornness of the ruling government are few to be spoken of. Thus, the only way to solve the issue of political instability is to conduct free and fair elections so that transparent leaders can occupy top seats.Hoping one day apart from war the democratic leaders come up with more peaceful solution,
- Diaz Caceres, Margarita J. Religion, Politics and War In the Creation of an Ethos of Conflict in Colombia; The case of the War of the Thousand Days (1899-1902). (2018).
- Khosa, Alvin Green. A critical analysis of the influence of various role-players in and contributing factors to the ongoing armed conflict in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Diss. University of Johannesburg, 2016.
- Krause, Jana. Stabilization and local conflicts: Communal and civil war in South Sudan. Ethnopolitics 18.5 (2019): 478-493.
- Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Penguin UK, 2014.
- Márquez, Gabriel García. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Harper, an Imprint of HarperCollins Publishers, 2014.
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Introduction Thousand Days of War remains one of the memorable conflicts in Colombian history. New historic criticism is a literary theory that claims that literary texts should be compared to […]