There is always at least one student fascinated with One Hundred Years of Solitude. Today one such student said that in this novel, the characters are impelled to act according to a series of paradigms, with which they work but which they do not control. The containing and shaping influence of these paradigms does not give the desired results or indeed, any desirable results. The repetition of paradigmatic acts holds the characters together while at the same time isolating each.
The novel ends with a kind of return to its beginning. Ursula Iguarán’s fear that too many incestuous unions will cause the family to produce a child with a pig’s tail is realized. Yet at the same time the curse upon the family, if one wishes to call it that, is lifted. The tribe which was condemned to a hundred years of solitude, will not have a second opportunity on earth.
That is what the student said. And there is much to say about this novel, and much has been said. I myself have said a great deal on occasion. And yet in the end, I never really know what to do with this text.
As my student spoke today, I found myself thinking of Tarot cards. I saw the strongest characters accepting their cards, writing their roles large, and fulfilling them.