Explain the complexities of myth and memory in the novels of Gabriel García Márquez.

Gabriel García Márquez's routine fascination with both myth and memory is apparent in two of his major novels, Love in the Time of Cholera and One Hundred Years of Solitude. The former reveals a couple whose forbidden union, despite selective memory on the part of the main characters, allows the two to be together in their old age. The latter follows seven generations of a family that lives in a mythical landscape.

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Myth and memory play significant roles in many of Gabriel García Márquez's novels. Love in the Time of Cholera is a mythical love story in the sense that it showcases a sublime form of love between a man named Florentino and the object of his affection, Fermina. Memory is of paramount importance, as Florentino professes his endless love for Fermina, even after their union is forbidden and she marries a wealthy physician, Urbino, who devotes his life to eliminating cholera. Florentino and Fermina can finally be together only after Urbino dies (many decades later).

The setting is an unspecified landscape in Colombia. The town's weather is described fantastically, featuring sunken shifts, rampant mosquitos, and the occasional dramatic storm. Though Love in the Time of Cholera is not commonly considered a magical realist novel, there are mythical elements in the narrative descriptions of the landscape. In addition, though Florentino is a complex character whose behavior is not altogether unimpeachable, their sublime love is mythical for its heroism.

Márquez's most famous novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, also includes elements of both myth and memory. The novel is strongly magical realist in nature, as it takes place in a fictional town in Colombia called Macando. José Arcadio Buendía is the patriarch of a family and has an incestuous relationship with his cousin, Úrsula. Their union begets seven generations of family members, many of whom share their names. The novel jumps around in time to show that these family members tend to commit the same mistakes as their ancestors. A major theme in Márquez's novel is the idea that memory is what shapes history, though memory itself is complex and vulnerable. For example, there is a plague at one point in the novel that causes insomnia and loss of memory among the town's inhabitants.

Myth is patently showcased in One Hundred Years of Solitude, too. One of the main characters outside of the Buendía family is Melquíades, an immortal person who haunts the family with his inscrutable prophecies. The novel features a flood that lasts for five years, and the only representative of the Buendía family is born with a pig's tail (in illustration of one such prophecy) and is eaten by ants.

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