One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Fernanda del Carpio and her daughter Renata Remedios are two characters in One Hundred Years of Solitude that have solitude in common. Fernanda came from an aristocrat family that had fallen in disgrace. She was forced into solitude due to her family’s fallen position. Her daughter is forced into solitude by Fernanda. Instead of breaking the cycle, Fernanda created a life similar to her own for Renata. The futility of the abusive child/parent’s cycle goes along with the books circle or timeless theme. For those caught up in an abusive home life, the parent passes the same type of lifestyle. These lifestyles could be interchanged. The timelessness of the whole situation is the core theme of the book.
Fernanda del Carpio came from a family that believed she should remain isolated. The only time she was let out of isolation was to compete for the Queen of the Carnival title. She ends up marrying Aureliano Segundo. Since she had been locked away, Fernanda comes into the family with an isolated attitude. She bullies Ursula and takes over the management of the family. Although the family listens to her guidance, she never really fits into her husband’s family. She rules the family until her death.
Renata is a carefree child. Her love of life is well known. Fernanda decides Renata’s free spirit will get her into trouble. As a result she forces Renata to play the clavichord. She is sent off to school to learn the clavichord. Renata does not rebel, but plays the clavichord with a determination to please her mother. Her mother is not pleased. Since Fernanda is unhappy, nothing Renata does will make her happy. Upon falling in love with Maricio, Renata tries to find happiness for herself. Fernanda has Maricio killed. Renata goes to a convent, where she gives birth to a son. He is given up. Renata never spoke again due to the grief.
The two characters, Fernanda and Renata, could be interchangeable in this story. Fernanda sent Renata away to school, killed her lover, and took her child away. However, Renata did not protest, or try to keep her son. Keeping mute was more important to Renata. If the whole story was known, Fernanda’s parents treated her poorly. Shipping her off to a beauty pagent and then marrying her off after a lifetime of isolation does not make her parents the best. Parenting skills in this family are passed down, not naturally learned instincts. Most mothers love their children. Cycles of abuse can be stopped by a natural instinct. This story natural instincts did not win. The interchangeableness of mother, daughter, and grandparent’s skills as a parents show that life is a circle that never ends.
One Hundred Years of Solitude was written based on no specific time. The generations continued, but the town stayed stagnant in time. The surety that the town did not age is like the two main characters. The cycle of child abuse, parenting, and child/parent relationships are also timeless. Many families could go back generations and have an ancestor with similar parenting styles. The generations of a family do not have to necessarily be set in one time. Fernanda and Renata were isolated like the fictional town. The timelessness and isolation make these two characters mesh with the overall story.
Fernanda and Renata both make sympathetic figures. Their parenting skills were learned behaviors. The cycle of the book and child abuse show a never ending circle. The parent can sometimes be a victim too.
- Marquez, Gabriel Garcia. One Hundred Years of Solitude. New York: Harper Perennial, 2004.