Sample English Book Review paper on A Glimmer in the Dark

A Glimmer in the Dark

            In the novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Marquez chronicles the history of the Buendia’s family across 100 years of seven generations, and the rise and fall of a fictitious town called Macondo. The novel endeavors to depict history as a chain of events that not only move in cycles but also in circles. The story evolves from Jose Arcadio Buendia who commits incest by marrying his cousin Ursula, and absconds from Riohacha (Marquez 13). On their way to find a new home, Jose invents the world out of a dream and calls it Macondo where their life starts. Albeit their fears of bearing a child with a pig’s tail after committing incest, they are blessed with three children and start a family in Macondo. However, as Marquez unveils, the rapidly growing city of Macondo becomes a living hell throughout the generations of Buendia who face numerous self-inflicted misfortunes. The city is ultimately destroyed by a hurricane marking the novel’s pessimistic ending of humanity. The Buendia’s family generations are engulfed in a canvas of misfortunes characterized by a life away in solitary and haunted by recurring acts of incest that threaten to tear the family apart. Despite the novel’s pessimistic ending, this essay shades light on Ursula Iguaran as an optimistic outlook on humanity.

            It is imperative to note that Marquez’s story does not revolve around any specific character, and the characters used in the story are barely defined. Instead, every character is individualized and Marquez does this by developing and forming each of them with distinctive traits throughout the novel. Right from its inception, the city of Macondo was destined to doom and this meant the end of the Buendia’s family generations starting from Jose Arcadio Buendia who found the city of Macondo (Marquez 59). Despite his gigantic strength and energy that was directed towards his scientific pursuits, unlike towards his family, he ends up chained to a chestnut tree as his final days approached. His miserable death is also followed by his son’s, Jose Arcadio, who died from an enigmatic gunshot wound that he sustained a few days after saving his brother from a deadly execution.

Colonel, Jose’s second son, begot 17 sons with different mothers but unknown assailants assassinate 16 of them at their youthful age. The following generations also faced other tragedies where the Buendia’s men lost their lives in unprecedented manners. However, as in most of Garcia Marquez novels, women seem to live longer than men and in this novel, the phenomenon is exhibited through Jose Arcadio Buendia’s wife, Ursula Iguaran, who lives over 100 years to oversee Buendia’s family through to the sixth out of the seven generations. She is seen as the pillar of the Buendia’s family and Marquez does a wonderful job to exhibit her as a strong character that succeeded even in situations where the Buendia’s men had failed, such as finding a route to the outside of Macondo, that even her own husband or any other man could not find for ages (Marquez 189). In other words, she is used as a symbol of hope for humanity, and as the reader reads the story, he or she can articulate how important her character is in this novel.

            Ursula’s decisive decisions aim at saving the Buendia’s family through many generations a reason she lives very long to oversee her household despite the fact that her husband’s demise came prematurely. The first decision she makes that seeks to keep the family going, which gives an optimistic outlook on humanity is her order to have her own husband tied to a chestnut tree after he went insane. She wants the best for her daughter and unlike her marriage to her own cousin, which meant the sin of incest that she lives to detest. She endeavors to arrange a marriage for her daughter Amaranta to Pietro Crespi, an Italian piano specialist (Marquez 210). Fearing for the worst of bearing a child with a pig’s tail, she vehemently opposes the relationship between her son, Jose Arcadio, and his adopted sister, Rebecca. This explains why she banishes them when they finally get married.

Ursula’s passion for life is also unraveled when she prevents her dictator grandson from executing Mayor Don Apolinar Moscote (Marquez 412). This shows how much love she had for her family by trying to make them become good people in a bid to avoid the recurring woes that befell them. Through her actions, she appears to represent optimism as she endeavors to try everything despite the fact that she fails in a couple of them. Even when she fails in her covert mission to bring her son, Colonel Aureliano Buendia home, she remains optimistic until he is saved from execution and brought home safely by his brother. However, this decision covers the Buendia’s family with a thick cloud of misery, which she escapes narrowly to become the only human being who succeeds in penetrating it (Marquez 318). Notably, despite the woes including numerous misfortunes, diseases, demise of the loved ones, and floods that her family is subjected to throughout her life, she remains calm and collected believing that all will be alright at the end of each tragedy. Her equanimity represents a sense of positivity and hopefulness for humanity and her long life only remains as a robust point to prove her optimism.

She might have lost everything including her sight and other things but she could still afford to memorize almost everything despite her old age. Her profound intuition into character made her realize that it was fear that drove her son Colonel into his careless escapade (Marquez 401). Besides, she is the only person who approves of Fernanda’s discreet bravery and the seriousness of the sin of incest, which shares a greater part of the themes used throughout this novel. Ursula dies at an older age having lived many years than any other character in the novel, and her death is marked by the beginning of the plague of dead birds (Marquez 497).

In conclusion, despite the pessimistic ending of the novel, the life lived by Ursula the wife of the founder of Macondo suggests an optimistic outlook on humanity. As explicated in this analysis, the essay unveils that her decisions and actions throughout her life suggest a hopeful outlook on humanity because unlike all other characters used in the novel, she represents hope, equanimity, and love. Despite all the adversities and woes that befell the Buendia’s family through the 100 years, she managed to overcome them and stand out as a strong and optimistic woman who wanted the best for the Buendias.

Works Cited

Marquez, Gabriel. G. One Hundred Years of Solitude. New York: HarperCollins, 2014. Print