Themes and Meanings

(Masterpieces of American Fiction)

In Leaf Storm, as in many other works of García Márquez, the principal themes are those of the effect of economic forces in the shaping of society in Latin America and of the position of the individual within that society. In Macondo, the class divisions never change, although the town goes through a great upheaval. There is here a somewhat pessimistic view of individual control over destiny, but, at the same time, Macondo is a magical place in its everyday life, and that magic overcomes the harsh realities. The novel begins García Márquez’s experimentation with themes of Magical Realism, a kind of writing begun earlier in the twentieth century by Latin American writers and which is still important. This style incorporates elements of the fantastic (for example, a man who eats grass, a priest who takes his sermons from almanacs instead of the Bible) and combines them with details from daily life. The meaning of this combination is that life in Latin America is, indeed, often fantastic and somewhat magical, and that those elements of society are accepted as normal in a town such as Macondo, which serves as an archetype.

The narrative structure of Leaf Storm, the interior monologues that develop the plot and the characters, are inseparable from these themes. The structure reminds the reader at all times of the historical progression in the larger society, juxtaposed with the stagnation of individual lives. García Márquez constructs a narrative to be read both for the pleasure of the story it tells and for its broader message.