What are the magic realism techniques used throughout One Hundred Years of Solitude?

1 Answer | Add Yours

accessteacher's profile pic

accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

This famous novel is full of examples of magic realism, where the fantastical and the everyday coexist and mingle without clear lines of division. This is why the novel contains references to flying women, premonitions, and dead people walking around and interacting with the living, to name but a few examples. Marquez uses these examples as a literary strategy to force the reader to question the nature of reality and also to produce massive uncertainty in the reader, as nothing it is seemed can be guaranteed or counted upon in a world where anything can happen. An example of magic realism in the novel is the frequent premonitions that Colonel Buendia has, that are described in the following way:

They would come suddenly in a wave of supernatural lucidity, like an absolute and momentous conviction, but they could not be grasped. On occasion they were so natural that he identified them as premonitions only after they had been fulfilled. Frequently they were nothing but ordinary bits of superstition.

Just like the dead walking and women flying, Buendia's premonitions are described in such a way as to make them appear completely normal and just another part of reality. Authors such as Marquez use magic realism as a particular way of commenting upon the state of socio-political changes in Latin America, particularly the violence and the terror associated with the various military dictatorships. The supernatural events depicted in this novel are related to the emotional action, but it is important to identify how supernatural events are often presented in this novel as being destructive and negative.

Sources:

We’ve answered 318,936 questions. We can answer yours, too.

Ask a question