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"Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose." (Orwell)

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"Freedom of the Press, if it means anything at all, means the freedom to criticize and oppose." (Orwell) The impulse for journalists to expose the evils of society is often paralleled in novels. Through One Hundred Years of Solitude and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Garcia Marquez and Solzhenitsyn become a part of this prevalent literary trend of social criticism. In both works, the society portrayed experiences a period of political turmoil. Garcia Marquez uses Colonel Aureliano Buendia to illustrate an effect of the Liberal revolution against the Conservative regime in Macondo, criticizing the personality defects suffered as a result of involvement in this situation of political instability. Solzhenitsyn's characters exist in mid-twentieth century Russia under Josef Stalin's totalitarianist regime in a Siberian labour camp. Ivan Denisovich experiences loss of individuality, changes in character and his time in the camp eliminates any prospect of an ordinary life after his release. Social criticism in literature looks at how a situation affects characters and how it changes them. While Colonel Aureliano Buendia's demise conveys the vices of revolution and war and Ivan Denisovich is used to address the effects of placement in a labour camp under a dictatorial rule, such as under Stalin, the novels do contain a common thread. Both Garcia Marquez and Solzhenitsyn criticize how politically unstable societies cause character transformation through the development of their respective characters, Colonel Aureliano Buendia and Ivan Denisovich. ...read more.


While certain aspects of character are maintained, such as how Ivan Denisovich retains a great deal of dignity while in the labour camp, other aspects of personality are altered. In One Hundred Years of Solitude the alterations to Colonel Aureliano Buendia's personality caused by participation in a politically rooted war are evident. For example, one of his colleagues, General Moncada, said to the Colonel, "'What worries me...is that out of so much hatred for the military...you've ended up as bad as they are.'" (174). The General noticed changes in Colonel Aureliano Buendia's behaviour. This being the reaction of a colleague; his mother's reaction to her transformed son is an even better indication of the extent to which he's changed: "Ursula had the gloomy feeling that her son was an intruder.'" (174). Neither change connotated by Garcia Marquez is constructive: a developing harshness and unfamiliarity as well as a loss of good nature are implied. In One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich a degradation of Ivan Denisovich's character is used to illustrate the effects of forcible placement in a labour camp. Solzhenitsyn uses loss of hope, an essential aspect of life, to critique the effects on Ivan of extended exposure to a politically inflicted situation. Ivan's inner discourse reveals the fact that he, a previously self sufficient, small town carpenter, no longer has hopes or aspirations. He feels that, "Writing home now is like throwing rocks into a bottomless pit." ...read more.


(48) Though Ivan's sentence will end and he will no longer be directly affected by Stalin through his imprisonment, his time there will continue to ruin his quality of life through preventing him from working or returning to his family. Solzhenitsyn's criticism shows contempt for the effects that Stalin's political reign had on Soviet lives. Both authors illustrate that the respective situations of their characters affect not only present life, but that of the future as well. This is the final element of the criticism on the adverse effects of political instability as demonstrated through Ivan Denisovich and Colonel Aureliano Buendia. In both One Hundred Years of Solitude and One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich pointed social criticisms illustrate how politics cause harm to an individual. Garcia Marquez and Solzhenitsyn develop their characters Colonel Aureliano Buendia and Ivan Denisovich according to this purpose. Both characters exist in turbulent political situations and become involved in them through circumstance. Colonel Aureliano Buendia becomes harsh and detached as a result while Ivan Denisovich loses personal hope. Both authors construct their respective characters according to a motive of demonstrating the alterations to personality invoked by political involvement. They also show that political instability affects a character's future as well as their present existence. By subjecting each character to a period of political turmoil Garcia Marquez and Solzhenitsyn are able to criticize the effect of this political instability on the characters, exposing the effects as evils of society. Word Count: 1472 2 ...read more.

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