Lesson Plans: Grades 9-12

Lesson 3: García Márquez’s Nobel Prize Speech: “The Solitude of Latin America”

Created October 9, 2014


The Lesson


To clarify the concept of magical realism, it is helpful to turn to García Márquez’s acceptance speech delivered upon receiving the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982. He was awarded the prize “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.”

In his remarks, Márquez wanted to make the audience understand that the reality of Latin America was not the same reality experienced by Europeans, whose histories were centuries longer. He commented on the necessity of Latin America to seek its own identity apart from Europe and to be recognized for its own brand of social justice, as well as a unique type of literature.

In this lesson, students read and analyze García Márquez’s speech to understand the historical and cultural context he drew upon when integrating “magical realism” into his novels. This eloquent speech is also an excellent model for nonfiction writing.

This lesson is part of a unit on One Hundred Years of Solitude. Teachers may link to the full unit with Guiding Questions, College and Career Readiness standards and Background. Lesson 3 aligns with CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3

Learning Objectives

Summarize, analyze, and respond to the ideas that García Márquez presented in his Nobel Prize Lecture, “The Solitude of Latin America.”

Preparation and Resources

Lesson Activities

Activity 1. García Márquez’s Nobel Prize Speech: “The Solitude of Latin America”

Review with students that the Nobel Prize in Literature is an annual award given by the Swedish Academy in Stockholm to “the person who shall have produced in the field of literature the most outstanding work in an ideal direction.” Note that each Nobel laureate is invited to give an acceptance speech at that occasion. In his 1982 speech, García Márquez discussed aspects of his Latin American heritage and experience that led him to blur the line between reality and fantasy in his fiction.

Distribute copies of his speech and Worksheet 3. Have students use the worksheet as a series of guided questions for their reading. You may wish to have them do this for homework. (Worksheet 3: Teacher version is available with suggested answers.)

Ask students to summarize the main ideas of García Márquez’s arguments, using their worksheets for reference as needed. Write the main ideas they suggest on the board and have students take notes.


Have students write a paragraph to explain what García Márquez meant when he stated Latin America’s “outsized reality, and not just literary expression” deserved the Nobel Prize. Have students use their own words to complete the following comment García Márquez made in his speech: “A reality not of paper, but one that lives within us and determines each instant of our countless daily deaths, and that nourishes a source of insatiable creativity, full of sorrow and beauty…”

The Basics

Grade Level


Time Required

1 class periods

Subject Areas
  • Literature and Language Arts > Genre > Common Core
  • Literature and Language Arts > Genre > AP Literature
  • Literature and Language Arts > Genre > Fables, Fairy tales and Folklore
  • Literature and Language Arts > Genre > Novels
  • Auditory analysis
  • Compare and contrast
  • Critical analysis
  • Critical thinking
  • Cultural analysis
  • Discussion
  • Fairy tale analysis
  • Interpretation
  • Literary analysis
  • Representing ideas and information orally, graphically and in writing
  • Summarizing
  • Textual analysis
  • Writing skills
  • Eileen Mattingly, Director of Education for Journeys in Film, former chair of the Humanities Department at Indian Creek Upper School (Annapolis, MD)