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Characters

Tránsito Ariza

Character Analysis

Tránsito Ariza is Florentino's mother, a hardworking and practical lady who makes good money running a pawnshop out of her home.  Her name means "traffic," so it stands to reason that she'd be a successful merchant.  She does a lot for her lovesick son, including renovating the house in preparation for his married life and acting as an intermediary during his breakup with Fermina.  When Fermina plans to marry someone else, Tránsito gets her son a job in another city and arranges for his passage.  When Florentino comes back to the city, Tránsito even sets him up with a pretty widow in the hopes that a love affair will help him get over his ex. 

When Tránsito gets old, she goes senile, forgets who she is, and gives away the family valuables to the neighborhood children.  Florentino has to track them all down after she dies.  Tránsito's childlike behavior in her final days, including her penchant for dressing up as the character from a popular children's story, is another example of old age as a second childhood in the novel – a time when people forget their adult responsibilities.  Compare Tránsito's experience to that of Dr. Juvenal Urbino, Fermina, and Florentino as old people. Are all of these experiences meant to suggest that Jeremiah de Saint-Amour's decision to commit suicide rather than grow old was a societally responsible one?

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