One Hundred Years of Solitude
How we cite our quotes:
In almost twenty years of war, Colonel Aureliano Buendía had been at his house many times, but the state of urgency with which he always arrived, the military retinue that accompanied him everywhere, the aura of legend that glowed about his presence and of which even Úrsula was aware, changed him into a stranger in the end. […] Amaranta could not reconcile her image of the brother who had spent his adolescence making little gold fishes with that of the mythical warrior who had placed a distance of ten feet between himself and the rest of humanity. But when the approach of the armistice became known and they thought that he would return changed back into a human being, delivered at last for the hearts of his own people, the family feelings, dormant for such a long time, were reborn stronger than ever. (9.45)
Úrsula and Amaranta are about to be pretty disappointed. This is such a strange and telling description. Why do you think growing into a hardened soldier distances Colonel Aureliano from his family? Is it because he's too used to ordering people around? Because he's seen too much?
In spite of the visible hostility of the family, Fernanda did not give up her drive to impose the customs of her ancestors. She put an end to the custom of eating in the kitchen and whenever anyone was hungry, and she imposed the obligation of doing it at regular hours at the large table in the dining room, covered with a linen cloth and with silver candlesticks and table service. The solemnity of an act which Úrsula had considered the most simple one of daily life created a tense atmosphere […]. Even Úrsula's superstitions, with origins that came more from an inspiration of the moment than from tradition, came into conflict with those of Fernanda, who had inherited them from her parents and kept them defined and catalogued for every occasion. As long as Úrsula had full use of her faculties some of the old customs survived and the life of the family kept some quality of her impulsiveness, but when she lost her sight and the weight of her years relegated her to a corner, the circle of rigidity begun by Fernanda from the moment she arrived finally closed completely and no one but she determined the destiny of the family. (11.21)
How do you think Fernanda is able to impose her rules on the family when no one seems to want to follow them? Ordinarily we tend to appreciate it when chaos is transformed into order (think of all those home makeover shows). So why does it sound so terrible here when Fernanda categorizes her superstitions? Why is it bad that she makes the family eat meals at set times?
Fernanda was able to count on an atmosphere that enabled her to keep [Aureliano II] hidden as if he had never existed. She had to take him in because the circumstances under which they brought him made rejection impossible. She had to tolerate him against her will for the rest of her life because at the moment of truth she lacked the courage to go through with her inner determination to drown him in the bathroom cistern. She locked him up in Colonel Aureliano Buendía's old workshop. She succeeded in convincing Santa Sofía de la Piedad that she had found him floating in a basket. […]
Little Amaranta Úrsula, who went into the workshop once when Fernanda was feeding the child, also believed the version of the floating basket. Aureliano Segundo, having broken finally with his wife because of the irrational way in which she handled Meme's tragedy, did not know of the existence of his grandson until three years after they brought him home, when the child escaped from captivity through an oversight on Fernanda's part and appeared on the porch for a fraction of a second. (15.1-2)
This is one seriously evil, disturbed, crazy woman. Since she is by far the most visibly Catholic character (the rest of the family is either non-religious or has some kind of mixture of Christianity and mysticism going on), are we supposed to connect her religion to her insanity? In general, how does the novel portray Catholicism and its relation to family life?