Role of Visitors in One Hundred Years of Solitude
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In One Hundred Years of Solitude, the main plotline revolves around the fictional Colombian town named Macondo, and its main inhabitants, the Buendia family. Though it is obvious to the reader that each member to the Buendia is crucially important to the novel, each visitor to Macondo also carries his or her own importance. Three of such visitors are Melquiades, Rebeca, and Moscote. None of them are purebred Buendias, yet each of them has a profound effect on the town of Macondo, the Buendia family, and the novel, itself. The first group of visitors to come to Macondo is the group of gypsies. These gypsies, specifically their leader, Melquiades, influence the Buendia family is a variety of ways, right from chapter one. One prominent example of how Melquiades had an effect on the town is the fact that he is the one who introduced Jose Arcadio Buendia to the concept of alchemy, and of science in general. From then on, Jose Arcadio Buendia spends most of his time in his laboratory trying to do things such as making gold and proving the existence of God. It is Jose Arcadio Buendia's self consumption in these types of scientific works that eventually lead to his ultimate solitude and eventual demise.
Rebeca comes in the form of an orphan girl, who eats earth and whitewash and seems to have a strong attachment to her childish ways. Her arrival plays greatly into the idea of magical realism in the plot, as it causes a plague of insomnia. It says, "Visitacion recognized in those eyes the symptoms of the sickness whose threat had obliged her and her brother to exile themselves forever from an age-old kingdom where they had been prince and princess. It was the insomnia plague" (43). This plays into the idea of magical realism in the plot because insomnia is not a contagious disease, so the idea that there could be plague of it, deals very much with the mystical side of the plot development. Her arrival also affects the Buendias in that their insomnia causes memory loss. In addition to this, her arrival also directly affects Jose Arcadio, who, upon his return falls madly in love with her. This is yet another example of how incest affects the Buendia family. Though they are not technically related, Rebeca is essentially Jose Arcadio's sister, because she was adopted by the Buendia family, though Jose Arcadio did not know this.
If he had never done this, Macondo may not have ever been exposed to the evils of war, and therefore Aureliano would not have become Colonel and got involved in the war. If Aureliano had not gotten involved in the war, he conceivably would have had no experience to lead him into his solitude. It can be deduced that Aureliano's sense of solitude was a result of the war from the quote, "As far as I'm concerned, I've come to realize only just now that I'm fighting because of pride" (135). It was after Aureliano uttered that quote that he became disbursed in his sense of solace. The myriad of other effects of the war can also be linked to being Moscote's fault as well, because of the fact that the war, itself, can be linked back to him. Each and every visitor that comes to Macondo has a distinct purpose. Whether they affect a certain character, the town in general, or the overall plotline of the novel, they are there with a meaning, and their presence cannot go unnoticed. Because the novel does not have one main protagonist, the whole Buendia family acts as protagonists. Therefore, Marquez uses these visitors to act as antagonists throughout the course of the novel. These visitors also serve as the Buendia family's connection to the outside world.
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