Date of Award

Spring 5-13-2017

Degree Type


Degree Name

MA English




Mary Balkun, Ph.D

Committee Member

Jeffrey Gray, Ph.D


Garcia Marquez, short story, A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World, One Hundred Years of Solitude, History, Narrative, Magical Realism, Colombia


Gabriel García Márquez establishes the importance of identity, names, and narrative in order to highlight the importance of recognizing the past for a country that has allowed history to be rewritten and, as a result, forgotten. Márquez writes about what happens to a character with no history, for whom it then becomes imperative that the other characters orchestrate a narrative, thereby allowing Márquez to critique the neocolonialism and imperialism that occurred in Colombia. This strategy can be seen in several of his most well-known works—the short stories “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” and “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World,” as well as his best-known novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude. The main characters of the stories come to an already established narrative as unnamed characters. The remaining plot is then dependent on the named characters and their existing communities attempting to establish a narrative for the unnamed characters. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, Márquez more explicitly focuses on what happens when memory is erased and history is forgotten. The result is narratives that critique passiveness and demonstrate that people should actually take active roles when an unknown entity or foreign government tries to invade and change the status quo and history. Ultimately, his determination to write about the corruption in Colombia and Latin America led to his use of magical realism.