One Hundred Years of Solitude
by Gabriel García Márquez
This one's a little creepy. The nine-year-old daughter of Macondo's Conservative mayor, Remedios becomes the wife of forty-something Aureliano Buendía before he starts calling himself Colonel. She dies of pregnancy complications shortly thereafter.
Creepy or Romantic? The Jacob-Renesmee Dilemma
Well, there's no way around it, folks. Remedios is a little girl; Aureliano Buendía is a grown man. This is pedophilia. But what are we supposed to do with this information? After all, the novel doesn't seem to present Aureliano's love for Remedios as anything other than genuine. He tries to stop thinking about her but can't. When he does end up marrying her, he seems to treat her well, and she is always described as happy. Her death is horrible and grotesque, sure, and probably the result of the fact that her body was still too underdeveloped to carry a pregnancy to term. But the message being sent is, "hey, them's the breaks."
What's the Message?
Or is it? Shmoop would like to throw a few things out there that suggest that maybe we're supposed to take the whole Remedios thing with a grain of salt. Or a tablespoon. First, remember that crazy scene where they wake her up to see if she wants to marry Aureliano? Just how seriously are we meant to take the idea that a sleepy nine-year-old has the ability to give consent to something that will affect the rest of her life?
Second, for another perspective, we can turn to Úrsula's reevaluation of Aureliano at the end of her life. She decides that he has never actually loved anyone – that he was born without the ability to love. How does that square with the proposal and the marriage?
And finally, we can try to think about Remedios' function as a character in the novel, as a piece of the puzzle that makes certain themes work and certain ideas come to light. Shmoop will throw out there the notion that maybe Remedios is supposed to be the up-close and personal representation of a lack of agency – of a person who will never be active or equal in a relationship. Does seeing her in this light give us any insights into the other inequities in the novel? For example, the people whose land José Arcadio (II) and Arcadio take over, or the banana company workers?