One Hundred Years of Solitude Symbols


The story starts with a relationship between two cousins, named José ArcadioBuendía and Úrsula. The two falls in love and escapes to a faraway town they discovered which they later on named as Macondo. Throughout the years, Macondo remains as a place untouched by civilization as the entire clan alienated themselves from the rest of the society.

Throughout the years, some improvements were seen and the town eventually opened up to its neighbors while interacting with the society. It was later on perceived as a flourishing town filled with glory, violence, wild sexual conquests and terror. Distress also added up to the story with the presence of civil wars and a series of battles between the government and its enemies.

The story eventually ends with a hurricane wiping out the entire town, bringing it back to its former days when it was nothing but a strange place unknown to the rest of the outside world.

The story offers a wild combination of events that depict a general view of how situations unfold in the society. Overall, it portrays plenty of symbols which are hidden in characters, plots, and events that represent the message that the author is trying to convey.

One Hundred Years of Solitude Meanings and Symbols

The Railroad

In the story, the railroad is built in order to link Macondo to the rest of the world. This symbolizes the arrival of the modern society to a place which, before it was discovered, was merely a town unknown to the rest of the society and even to its neighbors.

At the later part of the story, Macondo eventually starts to lose its magnificence, as symbolized by the railroad falling into ruins. This represents the fall of a great town which has experienced success at some point in time but eventually fell back to its pre-glorious days.

Yellow and Gold

Yellow is a color that was dominantly mentioned on the story plenty of times. Yellow is seen as an element of change in the novel. When José ArcadioBuendía died, yellow flowers were witnessed to be falling from the sky. Also, yellow butterflies were pictured to have been following Mauricio Babilonia around town. Whether positive or not, yellow is used as a symbol to depict a major change about to occur in the story.

Gold, on the other hand, is associated with money and power. In the story, gold was used as the main component of Colonel AurelianoBuendía’s fishes, which he utilized as a main source of income.

Little Golden Fishes

These golden fishes were seen as works of art created by Colonel AurelianoBuendía, the son of José ArcadioBuendía, who also happened to be a goldsmith. In the story, these gold fishes paved a way for Aureliano to earn money and eventually provide for his family. Gold was seen as a valued metal which people found important in the town. However, after the civil war broke up in the town of Macondo, these goldfishes eventually lost their value as Aureliano was witnessed to have been melting these pieces of gold to escape boredom and lose track of time.

The English Encyclopedia

Meme, the great granddaughter of the patriarch José ArcadioBuendía, was given an English encyclopedia by a friend. The appearance of this book marks yet another turning point in the town of Macondo as it symbolizes the unwelcome arrival of the owners of the American plantations.

The English Encyclopedia represents an impending horror that is about to happen and in the story’s context, it served as an advent of a very catalytic occurrence that later on destroyed the entire town and left it in ruins.

The Golden Chamber Pot

Meme’s mother and Aureliano Segundo’s other wife, Fernanda, was seen in the story carrying a golden chamber pot which she brought along wither to the town of Macondo. This chamber pot was perceived as a sign of status and importance, as she saw herself to be a person of extreme value.

Since gold is a color which is highly symbolized by money and fame, so is Fernanda’s view of herself. It, later on, reveled that this chamber pot is not completely made of gold, depicting Fernanda’s sense of false importance and superficiality.

One Hundred Years of Solitude Lesson

One Hundred Years of Solitude is a novel filled with allegory and deep context which shows a lesson of modernization and how it affects a society and the people living in it. Overall, it is an interesting mix of characters, who, for a longer period of time, was able to experience a sense of magnificence and success as it welcomed the outside world before returning back to its old and pre-glorious days.


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February 26, 2017

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