A woman raised with the idea that she is heir to the crown of a Latin American kingdom, Fernanda lives her life in endless disappointment and super-strict observance of a very harsh Christianity that she tries to impose on those around her.
Just what is the nature of evil in this novel? Lots of bad things happen, some of them very disturbing. But there aren't too many characters who do malevolent things specifically to hurt others.
Who would we put on that list? José Arcadio Buendía, for killing Prudencio Aguilar. Amaranta, maybe, for driving Pietro Crespi to suicide. Definitely the banana company, for slaughtering innocent people for no particular reason. Probably a few others.
But pretty high on that list would be Fernanda, a woman who has her daughter's boyfriend shot to death, packs the girl off to a convent while telling the family that she died, then raises her grandson in hatred and captivity. Seriously, that's one long-term, highly calculated plan for inflicting as much damage as possible to the people who are supposed to be nearest and dearest to the heart.
And yet, Fernanda's actions aren't without context. No one who grows up fully convinced by her parents that she is to be queen of some Latin American country, only to discover that all that was an elaborate lie, would end up being a mentally altogether kind of person.
In a way, Fernanda must have been raised in nearly the same kind of imprisonment she ends up inflicting on Aureliano (II). Imagine how much her parents must have sheltered her from the outside world to keep the lie going. Later in life, she goes totally bonkers and starts communicating with invisible doctors who perform telepathic operations on her.
Are we meant to feel sorry for Fernanda? To understand the horrible things she does to others?