Immigration in Americando
In the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez The Buendia family has come to agree that their town is moving from the virtues they once held before. They blame this change on the newcomers in Macondo. In the beginning the majority of the town is content with its seclusion from other civilizations, except Jose Arcadio Buendia.
“The idea of a peninsular Macondo prevailed for a long time, inspired by the arbitrary map that Jose Arcadio Buendia sketched…. He drew it in rage, evilly, exaggerating the difficulties of communication, as if to punish himself for the absolute lack of sense with which he had chosen the place.”(Marquez, 12)1 The town’s people know there are other societies besides theirs but they are not able to access them because of natural borders surrounding Macondo like a treacherous mountain range and huge ocean-like waters. When they finally came in contact with other civilizations they blamed them for all the problems that were caused. This is similar to immigration in America near the turn of the twentieth century. Although, the townspeople of Macondo were searching for new civilizations, when they finally found them they were frightened and wary of their new cultures.
In 1924 America the Immigration Act regulated the amount of immigrants entering the country. Although our economy was eminent since the turn of the century, the government decided to induct laws limiting the amount of foreginers coming into the country. Additionally the act excluded all people of Asian ancestry from becoming naturalized citizens. The purpose of this Act was to preserve the ideal of American homogeneity.2 Similar to the people of Macondo who also were fearful of new races and people coming into their town. Americans of the early twentieth century seemed to not be as open to changing society.
“At that moment the town was shaken by a whistle with a fearful echo and a loud painting reparation during the previous weeks they had seen the gangs who were laying ties and tracks but no one paid attention because they thought it was some new trick of the gypsies…” (Marquez, 2223) In this quote alone one can see that the town is fearful of the newcomers. Furthermore, they don’t welcome new technology but they are unease and viewed as evil.
They also see the gypsies who live on the fringe of society and are filled with temptation. Macondo has likely been so isolated for so long that the other countries are likely years ahead of them in technological advances. Jose Arcadio saw the importance of interacting of different cultures and spent his life’s work trying to find a way of transportation over their high mountains or through the swamps that surrounded Macondo. Most of the inhabitants were content with staying in there own town and not ever meeting new people. “Incredible things are happening in the world” “Right there across the river there are all kinds of magical instruments while we keep on living like donkeys” (Marquez, 8)4This in itself can relate to our society today and the big problem we have with overpopulation of America and immigration laws. In the United States we have an estimated eleven million illegal immigrants living here.
This amounts to a problem not just socially, as in Macondo. When new people immigrate in history there is a pattern that showing these newcomers as ostracized from the rest of society. Many Macondon’s made comments about unusual things they were witnessing. Stating that the immigrants dressed as if they were gypsies, or part of the circus. The Macondons also didn’t agree with some of the different customs and ways of living. The Macondons are often left asking why God sent the odd people to their town to live.
The people of Macondo don’t understand how to accept different backgrounds, cultures, customs, and traditions as the newcomers accepted and assimilated into there own. They just view the new people as bad for the society. It is likely in Macondo’s case that they are the foreign aliens compared to the societies and communities surrounding it. “It was then that he thought of a decisive step, not only for the modernization of his business but to link the town with the rest of the world (Marquez, 221)”5. In Chapter 11 as we see Aureiliano Triste, taking the ideas straight from his great- grandfather Jose Arcadio Buendia, he builds a train and tracks that connect Macondo and another civilization.
When the train first comes the people of Macondo are terrified because they have never witnessed anything like it before. Aureliano’s strange new clothes that he is wearing from the other society confuse them, and the technological advances that he has found. Although, these advances may be beneficial to Macondo and may help them to stop there growing issue of incest and isolation in the Buendia family the citizens are not open to the new ideas of the transportation. Macondo is like the United States because some Americans share the same fear of immigrants. Like Macondo, the first Americans traveled here in search of new land and people to meet.
“War, in fact, had broken out three months before. Martial law was in effect in the whole country”(Marquez, 100)6. In American this caused a rift and progressed to fighting between Native Americans and the Pilgrims from Europe. When the pilgrims arrived they only met Natives and did not associate with the natives much because of their divergent ways of life.