Thursday, March 25, 2021

Linear time and cyclical time in the first sentence of "Cien años de soledad"

The title of Gabriel García Márquez's novel is "Cien años de soledad", but it begins not with the specificity of "one hundred" but with the indeterminacy of "many years": "Muchos años después [...]." That span of time is a linear time marked by striking events: the firing squad in Aureliano Buendía's adulthood and his childhood memory of that "tarde remota en que su padre lo llevó a conocer el hielo." Such moments make time measurable along a line in terms of "before" and "after" ("después"), but this first sentence also introduces the cyclical time of nature (that remarkable ice) and the generational repetition of parents, children, and the transmission of knowledge. (Andrew Shields, #111words, 25 March 2021)

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