Many authors like to write fantasy novels, stories that detached themselves from reality, novels that tell us about magic, parallel dimensions, between others. But even in these fictional stories there is still the presence of the universal themes that can be touched not only in this kind of novels but also in the simpler ones, themes like the fight between good and evil, love, between others.
There are also the authors that actually mix the fantasy and the reality to a point that it is really hard to see the difference between them, Gabriel Garcia Marquez is said to be the father of this gender called “Magic Realism”, he said that the reason that he sees the world in that particular way of his, is because of the persons that raised him when he was really young “He was made by the sententious, worldly, rationalized tone of his grandfather and the premonitory and supernatural exclamations of his grandmother seasoned by his unique humor, with this he would be capable of making a new vision of the world” (Gerald Martin 41).
And even in this extraordinary vision we can still catch the reality like when he speaks about the natural oppression that exists in the countries of Latin America, when he talks about the 1000 days the conflict that actually won the independence of Colombia from Panama an event that his grandfather love to tell him about after all he fought in this war and lose in it, also he talks about the massacre in the United Fruit Company a really striking episode on Colombian history.
We can also catch his own reality, we can appreciate in his writings all of those special and striking memories that were kept in him, the one that made a mark on the man he became, in the stories there is not only memories there is also characters based on members of his own family and also towns based on the ones of his childhood and we are not only talking about how he used Aracataca to create Macondo, there is also the mention of how he uses Sucre to describe a place that he really despised.
So we are going to explore how Gabriel Garcia Marquez used parts of his life to write his famous stories. First of all in his autobiography Garcia Marquez talks about how his grandfather used to drag him around Aracataca (the small town where he lived most of his childhood) and while he was at this he create a bunch of memorable moments that he would immortalize in his novels. This memory, the one were the grandfather takes the kid to meet new things is very repetitive even the own author says it “I had a bunch of mages but the one were the old man takes the kid by the hand is the most vivid one” this one is used in two of his novels in the “Leaf Storm” when the father takes the son to a funeral and also in his Nobel Prize winner Novel One Hundred Years of Solitude when the father takes the kids to see the ice, in the book he uses his own impression when Aureliano Buendia says “It’s Burning” (Garcia Marquez).
Another one of those memories is the one about the Belgian that lived in Aracataca that committed suicide by inhalation of cyanide, “He drag me to the house of the Belgian… The first thing that shock me was the smell of the cyanide that the Belgian had used to committed suicide” (Gabriel Garcia Marquez). This story is represented also in two of his novels in “The Leaf Storm” where he is the doctor united with the Venezuelan pharmacist Alfredo Barbosa; the other one is in the novel Love in the Time of Cholera where he is Jeremiah de Saint-Amour (Gerald Martin).
Another one of the moments that make a big impact in his life was while he lived in Venezuela, by the time Garcia Marquez lived in the country Marcos Perez Jimenez a dictator was in the power, he start to ask himself why did so many people find it attractive to have a dictator in the power , after all it wasn’t an uncommon characteristic in the many countries of Latin America to have a dictator, the impressive thing was that only a month after Garcia Marquez moved to Caracas (the capital of Venezuela) there was a movement against the president that finally took him out of the power, it was the first time a dictator had been taken of the power in Latin America. This fact was what inspired him to write “Autumn of the Patriarch” a story that talks about an eternal dictator, he based this character in real-life autocrats like Gustavo Rojas Pinilla, Francisco Franco and Juan Vicente Gomez. Many of the characters in his stories are based in real-life persons not only in famous characters like the autocrats in the “Autumn of the Patriarch” but also people of his own family.
The first character and one of the most obvious one would be Jose Arcadio Buendia one of the characters of his most famous novel “One Hundred Years of Solitude” Jose Arcadio Buendia married to Ursula Iguaran was an adventurous man that took his wife from of what all that they knew to a mysterious place, he was always looking for new hobbies to entertain himself and because of this he ended up lacking as a father, this is a clear mirror of the father of the author a men who would constantly travel looking for adventures, moving the family from one city to another to look for a way to make business and easy money, always leaving the care of his own children to other persons, most of the time to his in-laws and because of that the relationship with his children wasn’t really good.
Another one would be Ursula Iguaran a women full of character and a strong command, a person who loved her supernatural beliefs and would do anything to sustain her family, in this character there is the reflection of two persons of great importance in the life of the author one of them would be his grandmother Tranquilina Iguaran (obviously this is where the last name comes from) this one gave the character her belief for the supernatural, her being very superstitious even when this characteristic is very common in older people even today they still carry this kind of fears, maybe because this fears also come from the strong feeling they have for their religion (mostly catholic) another common trait in Latin American society, the other one would be his mother Luisa Marquez while at the beginning of his life he didn’t have a strong vincula with his mother after all she left him to be raised by her parents (even when this was very common back in those days) but after Gabriel Garcia start living with her many years later there would be a time when she was variably able to feed all of the children but she pull through and by this time she made a strong bond with her son, so the strong will of Luisa Marquez was represented in Ursula Iguaran.
There is also Florentino Ariza a character of his novel Life in Times of Cholera this one was based on a mix between the author Garcia Marquez and his father Gabriel Eligio, while the character was a person who didn’t seem to notice the levels that make him different from others and was always trying to reach to this ones like Gabriel Eligio there is also the fact that Florentino Ariza was a telegraphist like Gabriel Eligio, also there is a part in the novel where Fermina Darza’s father tries to separate them by sending Fermina (Florentinos’s love interest) to visit her family to another town this actually happened to Luisa and Gabriel Eligio, Luisa’s father try to separate them by sending Luisa out of Aracataca.
While from the author Florentino took the dreamer the passion for writing, in the book Florentino wrote many letters to her something that the own author did with his wife Mercedes. There is also Fermina Daza a mix of Mercedes and Tachia (a lover of Garcia Marquez), Fermina was represented for being secure of her way of being, straightforward and down to earth quite the opposite of Florentino. While the doctor Juvenal Urbino was a representation of everything the author hated and envied of the high class people of Cartagena in this character there was even a bit of Gabriel Eligio with his petulant and Self-confident character and it was also notable a bit of his Granfather in Juvenal.