One Hundred Years of Solitude
Fate and Free Will Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
[Pilar Ternera's] five daughters, who inherited a burning seed, had been lost on the byways of life since adolescence. Of the two sons she managed to raise, one died fighting in the forces of Colonel Aureliano Buendía and the other was wounded and captured at the age of fourteen when he tried to steal a crate of chickens in a town in the swamp. In a certain way, Aureliano José was the tall, dark man who had been promised her for half a century by the king of hearts, and like all men sent by the cards he reached her heart when he was already stamped with the mark of death. She saw it in the cards. (8.23)
Pilar's tarot cards might be the only device in the novel that actually leaves something up to chance or unpredictability. Maybe it's because she doesn't actually have any powers of clairvoyance, but the vagueness of the "tall, dark man" is refreshing in the face of the many spoiler-y forecasts about the future we get from other characters.
Carmelita Montiel, a twenty-year-old virgin, had just bathed in orange-blossom water and was strewing rosemary leaves on Pilar Ternera's bed when the shot rang out. Aureliano José had been destined to find with her the happiness that Amaranta had denied him, to have seven children, and to die in her arms of old age, but the bullet that entered his back and shattered his chest had been directed by a wrong interpretation of the cards. Captain Aquiles Ricardo, who was really the one destined to die that night, did indeed die, four hours before Aureliano José. As soon as the shot was heard he was brought down by two simultaneous bullets whose origin was never established and a shout of many voices shook the night. (8.30)
Are there other places in the novel where we get a peek at an alternate future that doesn't come to pass? How does this one compare? Can we compare this to other failed love affairs in the novel?
[Colonel Aureliano Buendía] was never a greater soldier than at that time. The certainty that he was finally fighting for his own liberation and not for abstract ideals, for slogans that politicians could twist left and right according to the circumstances, filled him with an ardent enthusiasm. Colonel Gerineldo Márquez, who fought for defeat with as much conviction and loyalty as he had previously fought for victory, reproached him for his useless temerity. "Don't worry," he would say, smiling. "Dying is much more difficult than one imagines." In his case it was true. The certainty that his day was assigned gave him a mysterious immunity, an immortality for a fixed period that made him invulnerable to the risks of war and in the end permitted him to win a defeat that was much more difficult, much more bloody and costly than victory. (9.44)
How does the certainty that his death is a matter of fate free Colonel Aureliano Buendía to be a better commander?