Use Irony and Magic Realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude

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Use Irony and Magic Realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude

In Marquez's One Hundred Years of Solitude, the realistic description of impossible events is an example of both irony and magic realism.

Irony is the use of words, images, and so on, to convey the opposite of their intended meaning. Garcia Marquez employs irony on several levels. Sometimes a single word, such as a character's name, suggests something opposite to the character's personality: for example, Prudencio Aguilar, who is not the least bit "prudent".

Sometimes a character's style of speech is ironic. For example, in the chapter on the banana workers' strike, the court uses very stiff, pompous language to state something that is ridiculous: that
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The effect of irony is generally comic, but as we can see from these few examples, Garcia Marquez also frequently uses it to underscore a tragedy. Even the novel's last sentence, which appears to be giving the moral of the story, is ironic. Why should "the bloodlines condemned to one hundred years of solitude" not have "a second opportunity on earth"? and how does any family get such a terrible condemnation? The real lessons of this book, if we are bent on finding moral lessons, have to do with the nature of power, of love, of solitude, but also of capitalist development and of literature itself.

It is this reporting of fantastic, bizarre events in a perfectly straight, seemingly objective tone that is what has been called "magic realism" or "the marvelous real," the technique, or attitude, most popularly identified with Garcia Marquez's writings. The two terms are similar in meaning, but they have a little different history.

Magic realism, according to the Oxford Companion to English Literature (1985:606), is a term coined by the German writer Franz Roh in 1925, to describe works of art that are realistic in style but represent imaginary or fantastic scenes. More recently, it has been applied to the works of several writers of fiction, Garcia Marquez prominent among them, as well as Gunter Grass (Germany), John Fowles

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