Religion in Gabriel Garcis Marquez's "One Hundred Years of Solitude"

Essay by ceciliafaeUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, December 2005

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In "One Hundred Years of Solitude", one largely recognizable theme that Gabriel García Márquez presents is the role of religion. García Márquez repeatedly ridicules the extreme value Latin American culture has placed in organized religion. He also depicts the negative effects the outside religion, and technology, had on Latin American traditional culture.

In One Hundred Years of Solitude, the character Fernanda del Carpio embodies the rigidity of Catholicism, the major religion of Latin America. It is this outsider, a zealous Catholic, who brings the Buendía homestead under an iron-fist rule with strict religious practices. However, García Márquez expresses his animosity with organized religion when he first introduces Fernanda, illustrating her arrival, "The carnival had reached its highest level of madness ... when on the swamp road a parade of several people appeared carrying in a gilded litter the most fascinating woman that imagination could conceive" (217). The manner in which Fernanda is brought in, and idolized, elevated on a golden couch amongst the heathenish carnival reflects García Márquez's views on the invasion of Christianity into Latin America.

Fernanda's rigid rule and forced participation echoes the destruction of the traditional cultural beliefs. The hypocrisy in the event of the most strictly religious character being named the queen of a barbaric, out-of-control carnival ridicules organized religion.

García Márquez frequently uses miracles in One Hundred Years of Solitude to further express the hypocrisy he finds with religion and social constructs of Latin America. Throughout the text, seemingly miraculous happenings occur that to the people of Macondo are normal and accepted, and yet the Buendías find modern technological discoveries confusing. García Márquez uses the arrival of the telephone as a humorous miracle, depicting:

It was as if God had decided to put to the test every capacity for surprise ... to such an extreme...