Gabriel García Márquez’s work reveals that he treats colonialism as a significant form of exploitation. Considering the politics in his country as a contributory factor towards colonialism, he is critical of the power game ongoing between the popular parties, as this power game leads to exploitation. Its after-effects (or postcoloniality) has been one of his major concerns. Márquez’s work cannot be fully understood without taking into consideration the colonial excursions of Spain and North America in Latin America, and the post-colonial experience of the people of this region.
From the exploitation of the Black community in the form of 17th century slave-trade to the miserable condition of postcolonial Colombia, Márquez’s fiction is “a product of violence”. He attributes the arrival of modern technology to be a source of corruption for indigenous people because colonial masters used technological revolution to exploit the resources of the indigenous population.
Márquez uses the literary style of magical realism, which makes the reader question the nature of reality and ultimately the authenticity of a political philosophy that makes a person think in a certain way. It is a way of “writing back to the centre” and an important tool used to provoke protests against the lingering effects of colonialism.
By presenting the bizarre as normal and vice versa, a ‘developing world’ perspective is provided in the ‘First World’ form of the novel, and the reader is encouraged to exercise his or her imagination in order to invent an alternate and just reality, and to attempt a political interpretation of the text.
Márquez establishes the importance of narrative, identity, and names, in order to stress on the importance of recognizing the past of a country that allowed history to be rewritten or inaccurately conveyed, and forgot it as a result. He writes about what happens when a character has no history, who needs the other characters to orchestrate a narrative, allowing Márquez to critique the neocolonialism and imperialism that occurred in Colombia and changed the narrative. This strategy can be seen in several of his works: the short stories “A Very Old Man With Enormous Wings” and “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World,” are such examples. The main characters of these stories show up in an already established narrative as unnamed characters. The remaining plot then relies on the named characters and their existing communities, who attempt to establish a narrative for the unnamed characters.
The Latin American Boom was a time in which many Latin American authors were experimenting with narrative, including Márquez. There was a stylistic and conceptual revolution that included commentary on Latin America’s history of neo-colonialism at the hands of the United States of America.
Thus, magical realism became the tool through which Márquez could make political commentary. The fluidity of time and history in this style allowed him to express his ideas about imperialism, identity, and neocolonialism, in a way that was safe from censorship. It enabled him to critique the Colombian people’s acceptance of external political powers infringing on their government similar to the characters he wrote about, who fully accepted the fantastic and absurd in their day-to-day lives.