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One Hundred Years of Solitude

Gabriel García Márquez

Important Quotations Explained

Quotes Important Quotations Explained

Quote 3

It 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.