Compare “Gould’s Book of Fish” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude”
Have you ever heard about “Gould’s Book of Fish” and “One Hundred Years of Solitude”? Recently I read these two books. “Gould’s Book of Fish” is a novel written by Richard Flanagan and narrates the story of a 19th century conman and thief named Gould.“ One Hundred Years of Solitude” is a novel written by Gabriel Garcia Marquez. It tells the history of a small town in South America namely Macondo as well as that of its founders. They both write the juxtaposed identities of various characters in “Gould’s Book of Fish” and personalities in “One Hundred Years of Solitude”, but their characters are different in some ways which are destiny, life, and disposition.
The characters in the both books are destined from bad to worse destiny where their fate delivers the characters into both terrifying and purgative ending. Majority of the characters in the both books have struggled to shape their lives but all appears to turn sour when their lives worsens. In the Gould’s Book of Fish characters are subjected to brutality and virtual farcicality of Tasmania’s origins (Flanagan 21). The book reveals how the characters are dumbed in antipodean ground which is set aside for the lower class British and Irish. For instance, Gould life was characterized with poverty, madmen around and debauchery, but he wished that his fate would deliver him into a more descent life. In its place, he ends up being convicted in a terrible and disgusting Van Dieman’s Land in a punitive colony.
Similarly, in the One Hundred Years of Solitude, the fate of all the characters in the novel delivers them from bad to worse. The novel insists on the collective memory loss of the character which aids to protect them from horrible and life-changing truth that they cannot control. Just like the characters in the Gould’s Book of Fish, characters in this book could expect that they life would be renewed. Instead, they lands in a more disgusting and absurd destiny (Gabriel, 54). Every character introduced in the novel ends up dead or gone. For instance, in the last generation of Buendias, one character is killed by a crowd of oversexed youngsters, the other one is killed by the hurricane while the third one bleeds to death after child birth. Another example is Jose Arcadio who in his early life was enterprising and energetic visionary but in the end he becomes a madman and has to be tied on a tree. Romedios on the other hand had early life when she was married at the age of nine years. In the end she died of pregnancy difficulties.
According to the both books, the authors have illustrated a reversed destiny of the characters. Majority of the authors plot their stories such that the destiny of the main characters is “happy life thereafter”. After all the struggle and commotion the characters went through, their life continues to worsen. However, in the Gould’s Book of Fish, the main character, Gould, adopt a new way to survive the harsh environment as a convict (Flanagan, 120). Contrary, the characters in the One Hundred years of Solitude could not survive their punitive lives, thus they are destined to death or disappearance.
"Gould's Book of Fish”
In both the books the characters suffer a lot after ending up in troubles; this is because just like in the novels, it just goes from hot pan into the fire. The characters experience the bad as they head to worse.
Gould as the central character and his illustrations of the sea life are rooted in reality. This is because the content that makes up Gould's Book of Fish is as slippery as the fish (Flanagan, 11). Gould (American bird-painter) is an artist who has a great talent that keeps him alive; however the talent always put him in trouble. Although, Gould seems always to be comfortable in his troubles, later they get him carted off to Van Diemen's Land (modern Tasmania) he survived in and out of prison because of his artistic talents. In general the life in Van Diemen’s Land was full of troubles. Gould via his experience, in his wretched life wishes a soft place to lay his head, instead he finds himself locked in a cell for life imprisonment that located near the shore in Sarah Island during penal colony (Richard, 67). His life turned to worse than even he was a prison, the cell that was twice filled with water twice a day which make it impossible to write his story in cuttlefish ink and blood dipped from beneath his scabs upon a parchment of pages that contain his previously painted fish. Gould quickly recognizes disconnect between his created images and the actual specimen when he begins to paint fish for the aspiring scientist, Mr. Lempriere, the Surgeon. Sid Hammet used Gould’s talent of painting artifacts which after he could sell to American tourists.
One Hundred Years of Solitude
According to José Arcadio he believes that what goes around comes around, this is because the way his history repeats itself. He is an enterprising visionary who founds the town of Macondo, where later he gets way into alchemy and gets it completely backward where he becomes a mad man. On the other hand Ursula Iguarán is a woman takes care of her giant family as well as runs a business. She lives to over 150 years. Remedios Moscote is a nine year old daughter of José Arcadio who was the conservative mayor of the Macondo. She dies later due to complication of pregnancy. The characters’ lives end up in misery after the Macondo was destroyed by the hurricane. The desire for the change and progress ends in misfortune which spread even to the final generation of Arcadio Family.
Flanagan’s believe is that paper and ink holds it all. The characters in his novel are holds on the spirit that past cannot be separated from the present and the future. The three concepts are believed to be closely related and the characters do each of their actions bearing this in mind. Tasmania’s past and future was of great concern to the characters bearing in mind the issue of colonialism (Whitlock 45). After a critical analysis and thorough engagement with books the characters start to think otherwise (Flanagan 21). For instance Jorgen Jorgensen read too many books when he was a youth and later he realizes that there is a great difference between the real world and all that he had read in books.
Sid Hammet’s read the story of William Gould. His mind opens up, and he misplaces and rewrites the story. Gould hoped that life in Tasmania will be a bit better. However, when he came to Tasmania he realizes that life is even tougher. Gould eludes from strict labeling. He believes that the various labels such as convicted murderer that were attached to him were not good. He goes to Van Diemen’s Land and takes up his position as a painter for the surgeon, Mr. Lempriere. He ascertains that claiming to be an artist made him look like something else other than the criminal that people used to know. Through art, Gould’s mind opens and he starts telling the story of fish using fish (people using people). Other characters such as the surgeon, Capois Death, Jorgen Jorgenson starts changing their negative perception of Gould and sees him as a good person after all. Gould notes that he was a cell shit. This clearly illustrates that he was beginning to remorse for being in jail. He uses very obnoxious words to describe the kind of life that he went through in jail (Flanagan 365).
Just like Gould in the Gould fish Jose Arcadio in 100 years of solitude started being very positive about life. He discovers the town of Macondo. He later turns out to be mad and life loses meaning to him. Ursula is very hard working and takes full responsibility of her life and views life with lots of positivity (Gabriel 19). Despite her efforts to maintain her family, it still goes down. She still believes things will get better. However, this is no different from the surgeon. They both believe that life holds so much for them. Gabriel Melquíades believes so much in the world of magic (Gabriel 42). All his life revolves around magic. Capois believes also revolve around the same. José Arcadio seems to be an extraordinary being. His huge size makes him a bully and mayor accumulating property at the expense of the subjects. This is exactly how the commandant and the king behave in the Gould fish.
In a nutshell, the life of the characters in the two novels is similar in which, they suffer at the begging but struggle to overcome the suffering. Instead, their lives get worse and their fate delivers them into more suffering. However, their destiny is dissimilar in a manner that the characters of the Hundred Years of Solitude end up dying.