The Campaigner

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The Campaigner

60

mediator, the vehicle which transmits the disease from mad fool. In a series of conversations between him and

generation to generation. There are two main the local priest, it is learned that his supposed drivelings

interrelated reasons for this. are nothing less than classical Latin which the people of

Firstly, women are without doubt the most oppressed Macondo and his wife are too ignorant to understand.

layer in bourgeois society. Even within the ghetto of Furthermore, the priest is forced to discontinue his

oppressed people generally, it is still the woman of that conversation with the supposed madman because his

sub-culture which, because of her sex, is forced to bear a lucid scientific rationality begins to undermine the entire

double burden of oppression. The men of any society, basis of the priest's faith. Marquez nonetheless does not

because it is they who are allowed a certain measure of draw the obvious conclusion regarding Ursula's true

activity in the world outside the home, develop a sense of character from this his own piece of irony.

identity, of their necessary place in the outer world. All of Ursula's behavior follows this (unconsciously?)

Women, on the other hand, are to a lesser or greater destructive pattern. Pietro Crespi, a pathetically

degree (depending on the backwardness of the society) impotent fool who switches his love from one of her

not allowed an individual place in society, except as the daughters to the next as each one in turn refuses him, a

appendage of a male. They care for the home without man who reacts to these refusals by spending hours

any sense of its connection with the real world outside, crying in Ursula's lap, unable to muster himself to do

which for themtherefore becomes a place of magic and a anything more useful, a man whom M arquez quite

source of fear. clearly intimates is effeminate this man Ursula

Secondly, it is women who bear children, and who in considers to be a saint and the quintessence of manhood

general are most responsible for the upbringing of in some mystical way"none of us can understand."

children certainly during the first few years of life -- In one of many examples of how she undermines her

and these are precisely the years in which the core of the Son the revolutionary (Aureliano), she presents herself at

personality is developed within the child.[5] a court-martial convened by Aureliano and with the

First it is necessary to consider how Marquez paints !'dignity of a mother" informs the convened judges that

the women of Macondo -- actually a very lucid portrayal !they have carried the "game" of the revolution too far

of the Latin American woman, and that they dare not forget that, revolutionaries

The looming female character of Macondo is without though they may be, she as a mother has the right to

doubt Ursula, the mother of the entire tribe of the lower their pants and give them a thrashing at the first

Buendias. What sort of person is Ursula? Marquez gives sign of disrespect. (She does not neglect to bring to the ,

away her true character by the consistency of her court with her the other mothers of the examining

reactions in all the episodes in which she is involved. Her judges.)

husband Jose Arcadio the only member of Macondo In this way she undermines all the male children given

society to be interested in science (reality) -- wants to to her care. An example is her great grandson whom she

move the location of the town, since in its God-forsaken raises to be Pope, who accordingly spends his miserable

location it can not possibly ever receive the scientific life in Rome helping to foster this lie by writing

benefits of civilized society. Ursula irrationaly opposes fraudulent letters home as he dissipates his life in

him, and "with the secret and implacable labor of an confused misery.

ant" aborts his plans. The above are no more than isolated examples given to

She not only dissuades her own husband from making clarify the character of the Big Mama of the Buendia

his attempt at relocation but cunningly organizes the clan. Yet how does Marquez himself react to this woman

other Macondo wives to act similarly upon their whom he created as a not-too-exaggerated version of the

husbands. This is only one of her many and clearly Latin American upper class woman? Marquez, whose

chronicled efforts to undermine her husband's more ironical wit is always ready to tear down the facade of any

rationally conceived plans, character or situation, is absolutely impotent to do this

Marquez pictures her husband, Jose Arcadio, as a in the face of this woman.

strong, determined man, with a passionate interest in He even has difficulty in letting her die. He allows her

science. Ursula's role in the marriage is continuously to to live through generation upon generation of Buendias,

mock his attempts at learning, until she literally reduces and even in her senility endows her with greater strength

him to a drivelling fool whom she, for "unexplained" than all her descendants together: "and none of her

reasons, keeps tied to a tree outside the house, totally at descendants had inherited her strength."

the mercy of the weather and the lice which cover his There is another "Big Mama" of sorts in Macondo,

body. who must be studied as Ursula's complement. This other

Yet, Marquez makes it clear that Jose Arcadio is no woman is Pilar Ternera. She represents the "whore" half

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