Gabriel Garcia Marquez, the author of One Hundred Years of Solitude, lived and experienced a religious Latin American life. These experiences played a vital function in the development of his characters, specifically Jose Arcadio Buendia. Jose Arcadio Buendia was the founder of the innocent city of Macondo where “the world was so recent that many things lacked names. ”(p. 1) He was a strong coordinator and looked to as a leader.
As Melquiades and the other gypsies passed through the village, Jose Arcadio Buendia’s attention was quickly captured. Fascinated by their magic and determined to learn more, he bartered the most valuable possessions of his family in exchange for their mystical tools. He would then spend his time trying to figure out how to use these tools and what they meant, unaware of the fact that his constant pursuit for knowledge would soon lead to his downfall.
In the meantime, he became obsessed with trying to find civilization outside of Macondo, a task he had failed to do but his wife, Ursula, had simply completed months later. I believe Jose Arcadio Buendia’s desire to find other civilization is related to his obsession for knowledge and information for reasons beyond just the simple founding of people. The discovery of civilization will not only allow him to find more unknown information, but will also subconsciously allow him and his family to interact with more people.
It is possible that this subconscious quest for social interaction is the actual cause of the introversion and solitary confinement that is evidently a characteristic of his family line. This unintentional corruption of his family is consistent with the significance of Jose Arcadio Buendia within the novel. The innocence of the rest of Macondo was also corrupted through Buendia’s obsession for facts and information.
If he had not sought answers, the gypsies may have had no incentive to return to Macondo, Jose Arcadio would have never impregnated the gypsy girl or joined the gypsies as they left town, and Ursula would have never followed Jose Arcadio and returned with knowledge of the path through the swamp that led to other civilization. In fact, even if the gypsies continued to pass through the village and Ursula still found the path through the swamp, it was her husband’s obsession of finding other civilization that made mentioning of this path significant.
Beyond this unfolding sequence of events, the search for truth corrupts human’s abilities to live in fantasy worlds without realizing the fantasy of it. Once truth is revealed, the world previous to that truth will be interpreted as an incorrect way of life. Thus, continuing the attempt to live that “incorrect” life after knowing the truth will now be interpreted as a fantasy. If truth had not been revealed, the village of Macondo could have lived in a fantasy world without interpreting it as a fantasy.
In searching and revealing the truth, Jose Arcadio Buendia corrupted the imagination of the villagers with a correct answer for things. Soon things began to have specific names and people had correct ways of life. I find Macondo to be the Garden of Eden’s second chance. If the world of the novel were compared to the Holy Bible, then Jose Arcadio Buendia would symbolize Adam. His obsessions and constant search for knowledge is clearly analogous to Adam and Eve when they eat from the tree of knowledge of good and evil.
The subsequent downfall of the Buendia family as well as the rest of Macondo is the same as Adam and Eve being outlawed from Eden and sentenced to live a mortal life. When Jose Arcadio Buendia is tied to a tree by the other villagers, it is a symbol for how Bible followers, such as Christians, are trying to separate themselves from Adam and Eve through redemption and reconciliation. Through the death of the Buendia line, Marquez may be trying to reveal the possibility that the line of Adam and Eve can also be ended.