This essay is due Wednesday, and I'm looking for comments/criticism.
While I know it is fun to critique the paper based on content (and please do so) please also look at my grammer and mechanics usage. While I'm pretty well educated in comma, etc, use, I can always use a little help.
I tried to make it is interesting as possible.
For anyone who participated in the "What makes a great literary character?" discussion, thanks, your comments really helped out.
In literature, each character takes on the specific role assigned to him or her by the author. Though each character is important to plot development, it is the character that is well written, dynamic, and human who is memorable to the reader. These basic traits and many more set a great literary character apart from an average one. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Gabriel Garcia Marquez brings to life a fantastic cast of characters while exploring the genre of magical realism. One Hundred Years of Solitude explores the family line of the Buendias over the course of one hundred years, emphasizing each family member’s inner struggles and the conflicts of many clashing personalities. While many of Marquez’s characters in this novel embody various attributes that an excellent character must possess, one character in particular stands out. This man, Colonel Aureliano Buendia, is the best literary character ever written based on the complexity of his role as a soldier, an artist, a family member, and a lover.
Throughout the story, Colonel Aureliano Buendia achieves much as a soldier. Marquez uses this element of the Colonel’s life to display his impulsiveness, stubbornness, and finally, his acceptance of reality. As a young man, Buendia engages in conversation with a few liberal townsmen. Throughout the conversation he learns of the ideals of the liberals, and on impulse, joins the revolutionary effort. After much military experience the Colonel starts a revolution. Although the liberal armies suffer defeat, he earns his military rank. Upon attaining this title the Colonel begins another revolutionary war. Over the next twenty years the Colonel revives the effort yet another time, leading eventually to the saddening realization that he is fighting a war he is destined to lose. In the end, the Colonel realizes that the two sides are only fighting out of an antiquated sense of pride and abandons the war effort. Throughout the three revolutions the Colonel establishes a sense of empathy with the reader, allowing the reader to identify with his flaws and admire him for his passionate drive to accomplish what he feels is right. The acceptance of reality rounds out Buendia’s life as a soldier, displaying with every battle the complexity of human free will.
The role of Buendia as an artist in One Hundred Years of Solitude aids in the development of a seemingly living and breathing character. The creation and destruction of his artistic works demonstrates with great and effective imagery the cycle of self establishment and gradual destruction that can occur in any artist’s life. Prior to Buendia’s military ventures, he establishes himself as a silversmith and a poet. His many volumes of poetry exist within the Buendia household, only to later be burned by their composer. The Colonel’s silver works are either destroyed or sold off with no indication of their creator save for fine workmanship. Later in life, the Colonel uses this eye for detail to create fish of gold with tiny ruby eyes. In his last years he makes twenty five fish and melts them down, only to make the same batch again. In this he acknowledges that time is merely a cycle. Marquez uses vivid imagery and human emotion to explain that the life of an artist is not only a complicated, but a solitary one. These actions, eccentric yet understandable establish Colonel Aureliano Buendia as a unique and memorable character. The existence of these traits and their consistency and explanation throughout the story of Colonel Aureliano Buendia add to the complexity of his character.
The complexity of human emotion and experience is perhaps most clearly displayed in this story by Buendia’s role as a family member. His drive for competition and desire for solitude mold his roles as both son and brother. Early on, the author's description of the boys depicts their personalities and demeanors as being nearly identical. As time progresses; however, the disparity of the boys’ personalities becomes increasingly apparent. After Pilar Ternera bares Jose’ Arcadio’s illegitimate son, Aureliano finds his way to his brother’s whore’s bedroom, where she then conceives Aureliano’s child. This theme of sibling rivalry and competition is existent not only with women, but in the quest fatherly attention. At one point in the boys’ childhood, Jose’ Arcadio Buendia brings his sons to the local fair to see and touch ice for the first time. This experience shapes the two boys’ view of their father to one of great admiration. Both boys follow in their father’s line of work as a silversmith. As young men they compete for his attention by completing projects quickly and accurately, and both seek their father’s approval. This drive for perfection later follows the Colonel onto the battle ground. As a son, he also demonstrates his most define trait, his solitude, in his relationship with his mother Ursula Iguaran and with his sister Amaranta. Both women attempt many times throughout their lives to connect with Colonel Aureliano Buendia, but receive hostility and indifference from the once happy little boy. With his family, the Colonel becomes easier to identify with to any reader, demonstration the very real conflicts that exist in nearly every family.
In perhaps his most intimate role, Colonel Aureliano Buendia plays the part of a lover. Both the broken hearted and the heart broken, the Colonel demonstrates the truly complex and human aspects of his character. Throughout the novel Marquez matches Buendia with an array of women, varying enormously in appearance, age, and social disposition. Still a boy, Aureliano Buendia seeks out his brother’s former lover, Pilar Ternera. This youthful fling produces a child and sets a precedent in Buendia’s life of women as objects of competition rather than potential companions. Colonel Aureliano Buendia sees Remedios Moscote, who is a young girl, playing in her yard and falls in love with her because of her beauty. Consistent with the quenching of his every impulse, Buendia raises the girl until she reaches womanhood, at which point he marries her. After a brief and lively marriage, Remedios dies after miscarrying twins. Buendia does not appear to grieve the loss of his child bride, but falls deeper into the solitude that so greatly defines his character. Through the duration of his military career, seventeen virgins enter the tent of Buendia. Each woman delivers a child and names him Aureliano. The willful offering of these women to Buendia only further establishes them as objects, elimination the possibility of any female companionship later in Colonel Aureliano Buendia’s life.
Over the course of this exciting yet bittersweet story, Marquez does a remarkable job exposing the multifaceted man who is Colonel Aureliano Buendia. In life, each situation evokes a certain set of emotions. The broad spectrum of situations that Colonel Aureliano Buendia endures makes him an interesting character, but it is the portrait the author paints of Colonel Aureliano Buendia as a representation of the human experience which makes him a great literary character. As a soldier, an artist, a family member, and a lover, Colonel Aureliano Buendia demonstrates the complexity of a living and breathing being. It is the culmination of these emotions and their universal appeal to every reader which makes Colonel Aureliano Buendia the best literary character ever written.