Macondo’s Ultimate Ruin & Ice
There was one object so magical and mysterious within 100 Years of Solitude that the crazed Jose Arcadio proclaimed: “This is the greatest invention of our time” (Marquez 17).
Upon finding that this ‘brilliant’ invention was actually ice, it’s unique and baffling qualities are slightly diminished with it’s commonness. Ice, however, holds much more significance than it first appears; it acted as a symbol of the late town of Macondo. Ice represents Macondo in it’s final stages of existence due to both of their translucent appearances and unescapable fates. In it’s last stages of being, Macondo was understood to be a “…
city of mirrors…[that] would be wiped out by the wind and exiled from the memory of men..
.” (Marquez 417) much like ice on a hot day. Both Macondo and an ice cube can be described as ‘mirrors’ in different senses of the word. An ice cube shows mirror-like qualities literally as it’s crystallized structure reflects the objects around it. The town itself was like a house of mirrors because everything once presumed real is merely a reflection of a prophecy.
An ice cube is transparent literally as an eye can look through it’s translucence. The town of Macondo is transparent or a ‘mirage’ as it no longer exists and although the reader learned all about the town’s genesis, the ‘gust of wind’ exiles it from any tangible memory. An ice cube is not solid as it can morphs into water in an instant. Macondo cannot be described as ‘solid’ as it is uprooted by that prophecy. An ice cube and the town of Macondo both show mirror-like qualities, transparence, and solid forms, thus proving their similairites. An ice cube placed in the middle of a desert has little choice but to melt.
No force or human involvement can deter the ice cube’s fate. Macondo, much like that doomed ice cube, had a prophecy from the beginning and no human could deter its’ ultimate sinking into limbo. As Aureliano Babilonia frantically deciphered those dooming prophecies, he came to realize that “…
everything written on them was unrepeatable since time immemorial and forever more, because races condemned to one hundred years of solitude did not have a second opportunity on earth” (Marquez 417). Gabriel Garcia Marquez used such stinging words like “unrepeatable”, “condemned” and “forever” to express Macondo’s irrefutable fate. Once ice melts, one cannot reverse the natural cycle and turn the puddle back to hard ice without some aid. Macondo too had no second opportunity and once Aureliano deciphered those disheartening prophecies, he knew he could do nothing to stop the ultimate, and natural fate of a town plagued with solitude. To express the concept of ice and its’ relation to the downfall of Macondo I created a visual representation. In my drawing I have four ice cubes stacked upon each other.
On top of these large ice cubes I have the small town of Macondo being uprooted by a gust of wind. This ‘wind’ is coming from a small figure on the right representing the last living member of the Buendia family line. Because Melquiades wrote the scripts in “…Sanskrit, which was his mother tongue, and he had encoded the even lines in the private cipher of the Emperor Augustus and the odd ones in a Lacedemonian military code” (Marquez 415), writing comes from the body of Aureliano.
Aureliano’s body is shown slowly evolving into eternity because he was “..deciphering it as he lived it, prophesying himself in the act of dechiphering the last page of parchments” (Marquez 416). The eye on the picture shows a small representation of the town melting just like the ice cubes it is next to. The brow of the eye becomes a hand that is squeezing a face representing the ultimate struggles of the last of the town and their inability to conquer their fates. In the puddle to the right a small pig’s tail can be seen showing the extension of the prophecy that incest would ultimately overpower and a child will be born with a curly pig’s tale.
As my drawing of ice slowly melts off the page, the town of Macondo disappears from existence.