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Quotes

Quote #7

Throughout the long history of the family the insistent repetition of names had made [Úrsula] draw some conclusions that seemed to be certain. While the Aurelianos were withdrawn, but with lucid minds, the José Arcadios were impulsive and enterprising, but they were marked with a tragic sign. (10.3)

Do the names of characters predict how they will act, or does the expectation that characters will act a certain way make everyone fit their actions to the preconception? Do the names themselves prevent free will?

Quote #8

Aureliano Segundo was prepared to rescue his daughter with the help of the police if necessary, but Fernanda showed him some papers that were proof that she had entered the convent of her own free will. Meme had indeed signed once she was already behind the iron grating and she did it with the same indifference with which she had allowed herself to be led away. Underneath it all, Aureliano Segundo did not believe in the legitimacy of the proof, just as he never believed that Mauricio Babilonia had gone into the yard to steal chickens, but both expedients served to ease his conscience. (15.10)

Here is a case where a character voluntarily gives up free will to make life easier for himself. Aureliano Segundo could raise a ruckus and try to get his daughter back – and he knows he should – but free will always requires way more effort than going along with destiny. And Aureliano Segundo is a pretty lazy dude.

Quote #9

"What did you expect?" he murmured. "Time passes."

"That's how it goes," Úrsula said, "but not so much."

When she said it she realized that she was giving the same reply that Colonel Aureliano Buendía had given in his death cell, and once again she shuddered with the evidence that time was not passing, as she had just admitted, but that it was turning in a circle. (17.4-6)

When José Arcadio Buendía starts to go crazy, he thinks time is just standing still, that the same day keeps happening over and over again. Here, too, Úrsula starts to suddenly feel like time isn't linear but circular. Why does the perception of time shift for these characters in old age?

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