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was as if God had decided to put to the test every capacity for
surprise and was keeping the inhabitants of Macondo in a permanent
alternation between excitement and disappointment, doubt and revelation,
to such an extreme that no one knew for certain where the limits
of reality lay. It was an intricate stew of truths and mirages that
convulsed the ghost of José Arcadio Buendía with impatience and made
him wander all through the house even in broad daylight.
This quote occurs just after the arrival
of the railroad, when dozens of new inventions—the phonograph, the
telephone, the electric lightbulb—have flooded Macondo. The citizens
of Macondo, who have accepted flying carpets and miraculous rains
of yellow flowers as part of the natural way of things, doubt the
reality of technological inventions. This passage therefore represents
a turning point for Macondo. Whereas the citizens of Macondo once
believed in the magical and mythical world as their only reality,
they must now accept both science and magic. García
Márquez makes use of humor here, since one of the people
who cannot believe in the telephone is the ghost of José Arcadio
Buendía, who is, himself, much more unbelievable to modern eyes
than any technological invention. But, in reading One Hundred
Years of Solitude, we are asked to abandon those modern
eyes in favor of the perspective of those in Macondo. We must read at
all times with an awareness of both points of view.
Ace your assignments with our guide to One Hundred Years of Solitude!