Monday, March 17, 2008

Second half of The General

After last class' discussion about words that come to mind when reading about the General, various other adjectives pop into my head when Marquez describes him. He's such a vulnerable character, with so many health issues, it's hard to understand how he has such a distorted self-view. His weakness, if not just physically, is so intense it's almost palpable, it's hard to feel what he feels, what with not being able to sleep, his ever-present constipation, and a plethora of other issues.
I've heard that other books by him, i.e. Love in the Time of Cholera and 100 Years of Solitude are easier to read, less daunting, which I could see. After I The Supreme, this feels much easier, but I think Marquez probably really shows off his skills in those books. I really love some of his descriptions, though, the way everything feels as though it's right in front of you. On page 144, he describes a setting beautifully: "After three days of rain, the light was a gold powder that filtered through the leaves of the trees and moved the birds to sing among the orange blossoms. The General listened for a moment, heard them in his soul, and almost sighed: 'At least they still sing.'" This not only exemplifies a beautiful description, but the General's vulnerability and loneliness, as well. There's such a tangible sense of sadness throughout the book, as his life, and what the book focuses on, is almost entirely revolving around his themes of disillusionment and how to overcome it. He is a proud, stubborn, cynical, high maintenance man with a somewhat heightened self-view, but ultimately, he's just trying to make through each day, and all of his life ambitions and accomplishments have been thwarted through one form or another.


Hector said...

Yes, I agree with you when you talk about the general's situation. Also I have similar perceptions about Garcia Marquez, but 100 hundred years of solitude is mucho harder that General in his laberynth.

Darja M said...


I also find GGM's descriptions beautiful...well, until he interrupts them with something like the talk of constipation...Then I just find the whole thing funny :)