© 2014 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
 

Quotes

Quote #1

Úrsula suddenly realized that the house had become full of people, that her children were on the point of marrying and having children, and that they would be obliged to scatter for lack of space. Then she took out the money she had accumulated over long years of hard labor, made some arrangements with her customers, and undertook the enlargement of the house. (3.21)

Instead of being psyched at the thought that her adult children are about to move out of the house, Úrsula's instinct is to keep the family together no matter how many generations are on top of each other under the same roof. Maybe this extreme closeness is what leads to the unhealthy kind of family closeness. You know, the incestuous kind.

Quote #2

Amaranta suffered a crisis of conscience. She had begged God with such fervor for something fearful to happen so that she would not have to poison Rebeca that she felt guilty of Remedios' death. […] Amaranta took charge of Aureliano José. She adopted him as a son who would share her solitude and relieve her from the involuntary laudanum that her mad beseeching had thrown into Remedios' coffee. […]

Having lost her bearings, completely demoralized, Rebeca began eating earth again. (5.14-15)

It's interesting how guilt brings out different roles in these two women. Amaranta suddenly becomes maternal, raising Aureliano José (with whom she will later get all inappropriate and incesty). Meanwhile, Rebeca reverts to childhood, the last time she was doing the dirt eating.

Quote #3

Arcadio gave a rare display of generosity by decreeing official mourning for Pietro Crespi. Úrsula interpreted it as the return of the strayed lamb. But she was mistaken. She had lost Arcadio, not when he had put on his military uniform, but from the beginning. She thought she had raised him as a son, as she had raised Rebeca, with no privileges or discrimination. Nevertheless, Arcadio was a solitary and frightened child during the insomnia plague, in the midst of Úrsula's utilitarian fervor, during the delirium of José Arcadio Buendía, the hermetism of Aureliano, and the mortal rivalry between Amaranta and Rebeca. Aureliano had taught him to read and write, thinking about other things, as he would have done with a stranger. (6.12)

This is one of the few places where the novel admits how crucial those first childhood experiences are for shaping the rest of a character's life. Seriously, this little kid has no dad, no mom, no idea who his parents even are in the first place, and of course all the other stuff mentioned in the paragraph. Which other kids grow up totally abandoned in crazytown? What ends up happening to them?

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement
back to top