Friday, March 27, 2020

One Hundred Years of Solitude Read-along Week #3


I sure hope I am right in my summaries. These are my marginal notes that I record while I read, and I have to return to them and try and make sense of them. But are there any incorrect understandings to One Hundred Years of Solitude?

REVIEW OF CH. 8 - 11

Chapter 8: I was wrong! War was not over. In fact, war and rumors of war continued. There was so much war, it had hardened many hearts. In fact, there was so much hardness of heart, many characters retreated into solitude. As a result of alienation, immorality was encouraged. For example, A.J., who deserted the rebel army, pursued an incestuous relationship with his Auntie Amaranta.

Meanwhile, José Moncada, a compassionate official, became the mayor of Macondo. Ursula resisted aging. Twins were born to Santa Sofia de la Piedad and Arcadio: Aureliano II and José II, as well as a daughter, Remedios "the Beauty." And A.J. was determined to make an honest woman of his Amaranta, but he should have known she would never marry any man, least of all her nephew.

Col. Aureliano had 17 sons with 17 different women, and then led "the most prolonged, radical, and bloody rebellion of all those he had started up till then." Ursula had this to say about her sons:
They're all alike. At first they behave very well, they're obedient and prompt and they don't seem capable of killing a fly, but as soon as their beards appear they go to ruin. 
A.J. was shot and bled to death. General Moncada entered the war to defend Macondo against Col. Aureliano, but was captured and executed by Aureliano, who's heart, as I said earlier, had been hardened by war.

Macondo...

Chapter 9:

Col. Márquez became the new military leader of Macondo. As the war spread, it became more clear that war was empty and served no purpose. Meanwhile, Col. Aureliano was drunk with his own power and lost the use of good judgment. He knew "that all we're fighting for is power." Soon Col. Márquez was also condemned to death. Ursula was angry with her son, threatened him, and told him,
It's the same as if you'd been born with the tail of a pig.
That night Col. Aureliano had a change of heart. He had spent twenty years at war, and his children hardly knew him. So he agreed to a peace treaty and went home to seclusion. I think he needed time to assimilate after all those years of war. He needed time to get his memories back.

Chapter 10:

This chapter focused on Aureliano II and his life. There is a lot of back and forth.

Aureliano II married Fernanda. They named their son José Arcadio. Ursula was frustrated with the repetition of names and thought it a "tragic sign."

The story retraced the history of the twins, Aureliano II and José Arcadio II. One wanted to see an execution and the other was curious about the locked room. Ursula permitted her great grandson to enter the room, and there he had meetings with the ghost of Melquíades.
Aureliano II recognized him at once, because that hereditary memory had been transmitted from generation to generation and had come to him through the memory of his grandfather.
When they grew up, the twins shared the same woman, Petra Cotes. Eventually, J.A. II quit his sexual escapades with Petra, but Aureliano II continued. Their wild sex life has an affect on Aureliano's farm animals, multiplying them and making him very wealthy.

Poor Ursula was disgusted by the immoral behavior of everyone, and begged:
Dear Lord, make us poor again the way we were when we founded this town so that you will not collect for this squandering in the other life. 
Then I'm a little unclear of what happened next: A carnival came to Macondo and Remedios the Beauty was crowned the most beautiful woman ever. And the Conservatives opened fire on the Liberals during the celebration, and a bunch of people died. Six months after the massacre, Aureliano II married Fernanda, whom I told you about at the beginning of the chapter.

Chapter 11:

Fernanda and Aureliano had a poor start to their marriage because she had a complicated upbringing. Well, and Aureliano continued his affair with Petra, and Fernanda found out. She had difficulty being accepted by the Buendia family. Nonetheless, she and Aureliano II had two children: José III and Meme, short for Remedios.

A celebration was set to acknowledge the peace treaty from chapter 10, but Col. Aureliano did not participate because he believed the treaty was a mistake. But his 17 sons, all named Aureliano, showed up to the celebration, and one of them, Triste, looked for a house to rent. He discovered an abandoned house, but there was a woman living in it. It was Rebeca! She was totally ruined and not worth discussing.

Macondo was growing and expanding, and Triste decided the town needed a railroad. So...he built one.


source

WEEK THREE WRAP UP

I'm beginning to see themes that I did not the first time. Besides solitude, memory is an essential theme. The need for memories, the loss of memories, and the purpose of memories are present throughout. There is also something very cyclical about One Hundred Years. Besides the repetition of names and behaviors or personalities through the generations, we can see through Ursula, the strongest and most well grounded character, when she called Col. Aureliano's repetitive work "an exasperating vicious circle." (Just like their generations.)

QUOTES ON SOLITUDE
He was seeking consolation for his abrupt solitude, for his premature adolescence with women who smelled of dead flowers, whom he idealized in the darkness and changed into Amaranta by means of the anxious efforts of his imagination.
They brought children of all ages, all colors, but all males and all with the look of solitude that left no doubt as to the relationship.  
More than mother and son, they were accomplices in solitude. 
...overcome by the unbearable weight of her own obstinacy, Amaranta locked herself in her bedroom to weep over her solitude unto death after giving her final answer to her tenacious suitor: Let's forget about each other forever... 
Col. Márquez looked at the desolate streets, the crystal water on the almost trees, and he found himself lost in solitude. 
Lost in the solitude of his immense power, he began to lose direction. 

2 comments:

Silvia said...

I am loving your posts. Yes, those themes of solitude, memories, I'm adding this, going out to the world, and coming back home. The new events happen in a claustrophobic Macondo. It's always Aureliano, Amaranta, Jose Arcadio... war and carnivals, celebration and mourning, new love and old obsessions. The new generations fall into the ways of their predecessors. Time is somehow stagnated. It's so strange, something in this book. I don't know what it is. Do you find the voices not so different? I don't know why I have all this trouble to differentiate time, place, people and the events in order. When I read your summaries, I recognize those events, but I couldn't put them in order. They are all jumbled in my mind. And yet this is not a criticism, for I'm loving the experience of reading it very much. I'm lucky that the war chapters didn't bogged me down in the least. I don't know, I breezed through them. Maybe it's that submission to not knowing what, who, where, but just being mesmerized by some of the beautiful sentences, by the words and the profound thoughts.

Ruth said...

Thank you, Silvia.

Yes, "the new generations fall into the ways of their predecessors." They do repeat history. If I have the family tree in front of me, I may be able to put some events in order.

Oh, I find that it is really not difficult to follow Marquez's back and forth. It makes for interesting reading. How about you?