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Saramago and Garia Marquez

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Gabriel García Márquez was born: on 6 March 1927, in Aracataca, Colombia and and died on 17 April 2014,in Mexico City, Mexico . He was a Colombian novelist, short-story writer, screenwriter and journalist. García Márquez became the first Colombian to win the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1982. Prize motivation: "for his novels and short stories, in which the fantastic and the realistic are combined in a richly composed world of imagination, reflecting a continent's life and conflicts" He is best known for his novels One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) and Love in the Time of Cholera (1985). Jose Saramago was born on 16 November 1922, in Azinhaga, Portugal and died on 18 June 2010, on Lanzarote, Spain He was a Portuguese novelist who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1998. Prize motivation: "who with parables sustained by imagination, compassion and irony continually enables us once again to apprehend an elusory reality” The novels ; The Gospel According to Jesus Christ (1991)and Blindness (1995) are two of his masterpieces. Saramago and Garcia Marquez have often been compared and it is interesting to see how two men from different continents were excellent writers, sympathized both strongly with communism, shared the same ideology, and had, at least, some controversies.

In their personal lives Saramago and Garia Marquez both had to deal with rejections of their beliefs and ideologies by society. There are some interesting similarities in their beliefs and how society responded. Saramago was a dedicated communist who joined the Communist party in 1969 In an interview in 2008 he said,’ I don't make excuses for what communist regimes have done - the church has done a lot of wrong things, burning people at the stake. But I have the right to keep my ideas. I've found nothing better." He also was a confirmed atheist which reflects in his novel ‘’The Gospel according to Jesus Christ’’, It brought him the curse of the Vatican. Garcia Marquez also sympathized with communism. His controversial friendship with Fidel Castro dated back to the early 1960’s and resulted in numerous tourist visa rejections to enter the USA. Garcia Marquez and Saramago were both atheists. However, Garica Marquez once said “”I don’t believe in God but I’m afraid of Him’’.

In their professional lives Saramago and Cabriel Garcia Marquez have gained acknowledgement for being writers of what can be called "realismo mágico" (magic realism). Magic Realism is embedded in the Spanish language and has a specific way in describing the color of the words, describing the flavors, the scenarios, the smell, and the details. Magical Realism uses the words to describe simple and ordinary events in a way that they appear to be magical. García Marquez: and Saramago both have been experts in the way they use the Spanish language in a way that the choice of words and structure of the sentences make that the words come alive, they combined the real world and the fantasy world extremely well, and their works are timeless. Some of the main themes that frequently appear in both writers’ works are loneliness and dualism.

In both Garcia Marquez’s Death Constant Beyond Love and Saramago’s The Centaur; the leading characters die at the end. Both stories also have a strong magical element represented in the rose in Death Constant Beyond Love and in the half man half horse creature in The Centaur. Besides these interesting similarities there are also some differences, mainly in how the stories are presented and the somewhat different main themes. Loneliness is a main theme is in Garcia Marquez’s Death Constant Beyond love and is well reflected at the beginning and towards the end of the story. At the beginning of the story when he thinks about his own coming death he reflects; ‘’Except for the doctors, no one knew that he had been sentenced to a fixed term, for he had decided to endure his secret all alone, with no change in his life, not because of pride but out of shame’’ (p.78, lines 23-26). This could be seen as a tragic form of loneliness as he was not able to share his terminal disease. Not even with his family. Pride often might lead to loneliness as it restricts people in seeing things objectively. Towards the end his feeling of loneliness becomes even more clear when he says to Laura Farina, the woman of his dreams who he just recently met; ‘’forget about the key and sleep with me. It’s good to be with someone you love when you’re so alone. (p.86, lines 14-15). This could show that at the end of the day the feeling of being with someone you really love is a form of happiness that makes everything else less important ,, even the thought of dying. Dualism is a main theme in Saramago’s The Centaur. The half mean-half horse creature are regular faced with dualistic circumstances wherein the half horse represents the basic needs and the half man the more intellectual needs. Most humans have probably experienced dualism more than once during their lives. In The Centaur it’s represented in; ‘’The horse was thirsty (p.17, line 10) but ‘’the man drank at his leisure despite feeling no thirst’’ (p.17, lines 13-14) This could symbolize the basic, instinctive needs of the half horse part of the creature while the half man part man half. When faced with a threatening situation the half horse responded again in a instinctive way while the half man had a more critical approach ‘’The horse reared into the air, shook its front hooves and swung around in a frenzy. The man tried to retreat.’

Marquez, G. G. (2004). Death Constant Beyond Love. In N. Gordimer (Ed.), Telling Tales (77-86).

New York: Picador Press.

Saramago, J.. (2004). The CentaurDeath . In N. Gordimer (Ed.), Telling Tales (15-35).

New York: Picador Press.


"Some people spend their entire lives reading but never get beyond reading the words on the page, they don’t understand that the words are merely stepping stones placed across a fast-flowing river, and the reason they’re there is so that we can reach the farther shore, it’s the other side that matters."

-Jose Saramago…...

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