Politics, Identity and Colonial Aftermath: García Márquez’s Use of Strategic Design to Break down the Polarization

By Faith N. Mishina.

Published by The Humanities Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Where colonial patterns continue to antagonize anti-colonial factions, the polarization of identity remains rigidly dualistic and violent. Colombia’s long history of violence illustrates the polarization of these two opposing concepts of identity. Both political perspectives revolve around the icon of the Liberator, Simón Bolívar, which has caused this mythic phenomenon to acquire two distinct faces. Each perspective has used a mythic face of the Liberator to justify its political platform. In his novel, The General in His Labyrinth, Gabriel García Márquez employs strategic design to unravel both faces of Bolívar, not only to collapse the dual-faced Janus-like myth, but also to bring down the rigid impasse that has so dominated Colombia’s politics. His labyrinthine architecture is deliberate. The nature of its architecture is dual and the dynamics of the labyrinth constantly invert perspectives, distracting the reader-critic. Both faces of the Liberator are consistently undermined by overwhelming documentation in an alternating rhythm. Labyrinthine objectives are also dual: the death of the critic’s voice or the metamorphosis of his opinion. Gabriel García Márquez invents a structure intending to destroy the rigid duality of colonial aftermath and orthodox hegemonic thinking in order to create a new space for dialogue which might include both perspectives. He utilizes design and invention to surpass the historical predicament.

Keywords: Labyrinth, Polarization, Death, Metamorphosis, Colonial Aftermath

International Journal of the Humanities, Volume 8, Issue 4, pp.31-40. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 607.871KB).

Dr. Faith N. Mishina

Assistant Professor, Department of Languages and Humanities, University of Hawaii, Hilo, HI, USA

Dr. Mishina’s life trajectory started in Asia, continued in the U.S. and culminated in Europe. Her doctoral studies were in languages and literatures at Middlebury. She is currently an assistant professor of language and literature at the University of Hawaii. Her research has centered on the political novels of Gabriel García Márquez and the elegant design of logic and theory in his labyrinths.


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