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Death in ‘One Hundred Years of Solitude’ and ‘The House of the Spirits’

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Death in 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' and 'The House of the Spirits' Attitudes toward death tend to differ between cultures. The Latin American novels 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' and 'The House of the Spirits' show us an attitude toward mortality that stems from many of the attitudes towards life itself. Death in the novels serves as a commentary on life, society, the characters and their spirituality. Each death and the way in which it is received, mourned and celebrated by the other characters is unique but each as significant as the life that preceded it. Consciousness transcends death and is inborn in the next generations ensuring that physical death is not the end. In other cases however a person 'dies' in a spiritual or emotional sense well before their actual physical mortality. The deaths are not incidental, rather the timing and manner of each is crafted and developed by the author for a distinct reason often reflecting the life, relationships and spiritual standing of the individual character. The reactions to death are unusual and often less dramatic than expected. This arises from the characters' belief that death isn't a permanent separation but instead, the creation of a more spiritual relationship. ...read more.


The names of both the novels imply a continuity of consciousness regardless of physical death, time or change. 'The House of the Spirits' is a title that doesn't refer to any particular person or event, but rather uses the house as a constant figure that holds the spirits, souls and consciousness's from previous generations. Likewise, 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' indicates a continuity of a feature, in this case solitude, over the entire novel. The very first character of the novel in a sense creates the solitude that remains with the subsequent generations in both a geographical and spiritual sense. Some characters cease to exist within the social and emotional world before the time of their actually physical passing. This often occurs due to a dramatic or emotionally scarring incident in their life. Colonel Aureliano Buendia and Colonel Gerineldo Marquez suffer the tragedies of war and withdraw into their own minds, neglecting their family, friends and social obligations. This is a social death that in many ways retracts a person from life to the same or greater extent as a physical death. Both these characters lose all capability of loving, and become emotionless and oblivious to the world revolving around them. ...read more.


The family sagas of 'The House of the Spirits' and 'One Hundred Years of Solitude' are not just the histories of the lives of the characters, but also the history of their deaths. The deaths are not incidental; the authors have employed them to convey messages. These messages are different and purposeful, some commenting on the importance of maintaining strong relationships and existence in the social world whilst still living, others implying the insignificance of physical death in spiritualistic lives. Whatever the individual meaning, in each novel, spirituality ensures an appreciation that death is not necessarily the end of being, it is just another stage. As Clara says 'Just as when we come into the world, when we die we are afraid of the unknown....dying is like being born; just a change.'9 1 Pg. 332 The House of the Spirits - Allende. 2 Pg. 337 The House of the Spirits - Allende 3 Pg. 190 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Marquez 4 Pg. 189 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Marquez 5 Pg. 178 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Marquez 6 Pg. 226 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Marquez 7 Pg. 469 The House of the Spirits - Allende 8 Pg. 240 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Marquez 9 Pg. 332 The House of the Spirits - Allende ?? ?? ?? ?? Page 1 ...read more.

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