Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Postscript - Spanish 365

I enjoyed reading a majority of the set texts of the course especially Las Hortensias. The only text that I really disliked was Cumanda. It was simply too wordy for me and I could not get into it. Each page was truly a battle to get through. I thought the blog system was good because it made sure you kept up with the assigned readings as well as it offers self reflection about the readings and a good exchange of ideas between classmates, which really bolstered my understanding of the texts. It was nice to be able to choose between writing in English or Spanish but I wish I would have got my self to write in Spanish because I could have improved my Spanish even more. It was nice to read novels and short stories from a variety of regions of Latin America its great to be able to compare author's style and stories. I would have preferred if we would have had less group work. While in small groups I found we didn’t have enough time to really get into the tasks at hand and I found it really did not help me, I would have preferred more lecture time or a class discussion instead. All in all I enjoyed this course and I look forward to continue to read Latin American Literature and take more Spanish literature courses. Thank You.

Monday, March 26, 2007

Garcia Marquez #3

Many parts of the book, Cien Años de Soledad are interesting and each page develops something more intricate in the story line. If you happen to skip a few pages surprisingly you miss a lot since each page advances the development of the characters. The lives of many of the characters come to sorrowful ends such as Pietro Crespi’s life but what still puzzles me is the fact that Rebeca killed her husband José Arcadio. I was quite surprised that Rebeca murders him and until I did some research I realized why she had done it.
Rebeca is an orphan and she is depicted through out the story as rather odd since she sucks her thumb, has a habit of sleeping with her face to the wall and she eats dirt. She would even put dirt in her pockets and would eat it in bits when nobody was looking. At one point in the story, when she is love sick she eats so much dirt she becomes delirious. She frantically loves Pietro Crespi but because of many things she ends up marrying José Arcadio which is against Ursula’s wishes because of the remote chance that they were related.
Rebeca shoots her husband and according to Ma Eulalia Montaner, who wrote Guía para la lectura de Cien Años de Soledad, she states that Rebeca truly loved Colonel Aureliano but he marries Remedios. One sign of this love is when Rebeca shoots her husband the blood goes under the door, down the street, around the corner, on and on until it reaches the kitchen where Ursula is cooking. The blood is careful not to dirty the rugs, and it reaches the kitchen when Ursula is cooking eggs. The blood flow foreshadows the time when the Colonel arrived back to Macondo. It follows the exact steps that the Colonel took that day. This section of the book, I believe truly depicts, how this novel has so many stories within stories and one must really analyze each character and their every more to really understand the novel with more depth.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Garcia Marquez # 3

In Juan-Manuel García Ramos’ book, Guías de Lectura, I read an interesting analysis of Cien Años de Soledad. The author quotes, Ricardo Gullón’s interpretation of the novel in which Gullón says that Cien Años de Soledad parallels sections of the Old Testament.
I agree with this interpretation as it adds another level of meaning to the book. The book of Genesis in the Old Testament recounts the story of the beginning of the world. Cien Años de Soledad begins with the settlement and establishment of a new place called Macondo.
The book of Exodus is in the Old Testament is about the Jews leaving Egypt due to the persecution suffered at the hands of the pharaoh. In Cien Años de Soledad, José Arcadio Buendía kills Prudencio Aguilar and he is plagued by guilt and continual nightmares throughout the story. He and his family flee the place of the murder and find a new territory which becomes Macondo but it is not a promised land that was chosen for them. Part of the punishment for the crime for the Buendias and the people of Macondo is the plague of sleeplessness, forgetfulness, civil wars, the covert invasion of foreigners and the continual suffering.
The novel is written in such as way that the reader can not really perceive a sense of time but the stories within the stories have a continuation which transcends time and gives it the aura of universal truth. In this sense, the Bible is similar because there are stories which are not associated with particular time periods and do not have a particular chronological order.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Cien años - 2

Ursula, one of the main protagonists of the novel, maintains the structure of the family, their house and ultimately the village. Jose Arcadio, her husband, is the founder of Macondo but Ursula is the one who keeps it all together. She is the matriarch and forms the nucleus of the family. For example, when the house does not suit their needs, she organizes the construction of the house and makes grand improvements. Out of all the characters in the novel, Ursula lives the longest and her presence keeps the Buendia family together.
Her worst fear is that children born into the family will have some sort of deformity since there has been many instances of incest. Ursula and her husband, Jose, are cousins. At first, she fears that if they have children she will have iguanas. A family member in the past had a child with a pig’s tail. When her orphaned daughter Rebecca marries Jose Arcadio, her son, she suspects they are somehow related and expects the worst. Throughout the novel she is worried about this and is always involved in the love relationships of her children and their offspring. This character shifts and adjusts to the story line. This keeps the reader intrigued and curious about the unfolding story.
The author, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, is the master of building a story full of different facets and magical events. That is to say he combines mundane even banal events of everyday life together with magical occurrences which are suddenly presented to the reader and then quickly vanish, only to later reappear in a different guise. Then the author ties together the banal and the magical as the story progresses toward its conclusion. The result is sometimes bewildering but always riveting.

Sunday, March 4, 2007

One Hundred Years of Solitude

I started reading the novel and I immediately like the way the author introduced the story. He keeps the story moving by introducing the gypsies, inventions, miracles and magic; which all form part of the lives that the characters live in. This enhances the reader to want to find out more. Jose Arcadio Buendia, the main protagonist, is intrigued with elaborate inventions that the gypsies bring to town. The story shifts and the reader is introduced to the discovery of the mythical town of Macondo. Throughout this first chapter, Ursula, Jose Arcadio Buendia’s wife keeps hinting to the reader that Jose Arcadio is eccentric. He is constantly questioning who he is, his existence and the past. This makes the reader question his credibility.

By chapter two we are introduced to Ursula’s ancestors, getting a glimpse into the intertwined family history. Then another story arises, the story of a woman who is burnt and can not sit down. The reader has to stop and get a grip of who is who because so many characters are added to the novel that it is confusing. There is another shift in the story about moving to Macondo. The story talks about Jose Arcadio Buendia and also about his son Colonel Aureliano Buendia. It is confusing… Then as the story continues, Ursula gives birth to a son called Jose Arcadio.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Piedra Callada

Throughout this course there are recurring themes of the family, love, jealously and betrayal. However, each book deals with these themes in their own way. After reading these books Piedra Callada so far has been my favorite one in this course. I really liked the intricate and complex characters that Marta Burnet has created and I enjoyed how she carefully tells her story using a complex family situations and issues. This story once again emphasizes on the importance of family in Latin America but shows the reader that even families who on the surface appear to be “perfect” can also be filled with turmoil and conflict. In this book however, the author goes to the extreme case of murder. Eufrasia is driven to murder her son in law after becoming so intertwined in the family saga.

I also liked the writing style that Burnet uses throughout the story. The writing style used allows the reader to get a closer understanding of each character and this brings each character to life. The section about Bernabe and Esperanza were carefully written to imitate there accent allowing the reader to set them apart from the other characters. The slang used was at times hard to understand but I found that by reading it out loud it allowed me to comprehend the storyline.

Another main theme that was not characteristic of the other stories we have read is the idea of vengeance. Vengeance is intriguing to many readers because the reader tries to anticipate the moves that the character may make which keeps the reader turning the pages of this short story. I also found that the pace Burnet used in the novel was also an important aspect that kept the story quick and exciting. Furthermore, I enjoyed how the story was to the point but this did not sacrifice the storied complexity.

Sunday, February 4, 2007

Memorias de mama blanca

Me gusto leer Las Memorias de Mama Blanca de Teresa de la Parra. Al leer el comienzo de la novela encontré difícil ciertas secciones y esto caso dificultad seguir el cuento. La novela es un cuento de ficción sobre las memorias de la niñez de la escritora De La Parra. En la clase del miércoles pasado encontré nuestra discusión muy interesante. Me gusto oír sobre los varios niveles del cuento. Esto mejoro mi comprensión de la novela y me ayudo comprenderlo con más profundidad y claridad. Al leer la segunda parte pude leerlo con más gusto y lo encontré mucho mas interesante.

La novela esta basada sobre la memoria. Esta escrita en tres niveles. Uno las memorias de Mama Blanca, segundo el editor de la novela lee lo que dice Mama Blanca y el lo interpreta a su manera, y tercero la autora del libro escribe sobre lo que escribió el editor cuando estuvo con Mama Blanca.

Es obvio que al escribir sobre de memoria de la niñez de uno es sumamente difícil. Con el tiempo la memoria cambia. La persona quizás olvide las cosas como verdaderamente fueron o sin darse cuenta omite cosas de mucho dolor.