One Hundred Years of Solitude

by: Gabriel García Márquez

Chapters 18–20

Melquíades’ prophecies also occupy a peculiar place in time, since, although they are written as predictions for what will happen in the future, they are read by Aureliano (II) as an accurate history of the Buendía family. As the wind swirls around him, Aureliano (II) is finally able to decipher Melquíades’ prophecies, and he finds that Melquíades has left behind a prophecy of the history of the town, which is accurate to the last detail. The text of the prophecy mirrors the reality of the town’s history, so that Aureliano (II) is reading about his destruction as he experiences it. The sense of unavoidable destiny is strong: the Buendías, we realize, have long been living lives foretold—and thus, in a sense, ordained—by the all-knowing book. It might even be argued that the text of the prophecy, in fact, is identical to the book One Hundred Years of Solitude, and that Melquíades has served all along as a surrogate for the author, Gabriel García Márquez. Certainly the prophecy has succeeded as literature that simultaneously shapes and mirrors reality, just as One Hundred Years of Solitude tries to shape a fictional world while simultaneously mirroring the reality of García Márquez’s Colombia. Melquíades’s vision, early in the novel, of a city with walls of glass, has come true in a sense: Macondo is a city made of glass and of mirrors that reflect back the reality of the author’s world.