| Quote #1
Then he [José Arcadio (II)] gave himself over to that hand [Pilar Ternera's], and in a terrible state of exhaustion he let himself be led to a shapeless place where his clothes were taken off and he was heaved about like a sack of potatoes and thrown from one side to the other in a bottomless darkness in which his arms were useless, where it no longer smelled of woman but of ammonia, and where he tried to remember her face and found before him the face of Úrsula, confusedly aware that he was doing something that for a very long time he had wanted to do but that he had imagined could really never be done, not knowing what he was doing because he did not know where his feet were or where his head was, or whose feet or whose head, and feeling that he could no longer resist the glacial rumbling of his kidneys and the air of his intestines, and fear, and the bewildered anxiety to flee and at the same time stay forever and ever in that exasperated silence and that fearful solitude. (2.19)
Here's another one of those mixtures of highbrow and lowbrow, just like with the supernatural. On the one hand, José Arcadio (II) is experiencing this elevated state where all the feelings are heightened. He's not just tired but "in a terrible state of exhaustion." He's doing something that had seemed impossible. Although he and Pilar are together, he realizes the depths of his "solitude," and he even has an Oedipal moment when he imagines his mother's face. On the other hand, "a sack of potatoes"? Feeling like he has to pee and pass gas? We're in lowbrow comedy territory here, too.
| Quote #2
Little Remedios had reached puberty before getting over the habits of childhood. In spite of the fact that her mother had taught her about the changes of adolescence, one February afternoon she burst shouting into the living room, where her sisters were chatting with Aureliano, and showed them her panties, smeared with a chocolate colored paste. A month for the wedding was agreed upon. There was barely enough time to teach her how to wash herself, get dressed by herself, and understand the fundamental business of a home. They made her urinate over hot bricks in order to cure her of the habit of wetting her bed. It took a good deal of work to convince her of the inviolability of the marital secret, for Remedios was so confused and at the same time so amazed at the revelation that she wanted to talk to everybody about the details of the wedding night. (5.1)
Okay, minors can't really give consent, so this is basically pedophilia. Still, we just love the extremely naturalistic description of this little kid super-psyched by every new thing she hears about. Menstruation? She's "shouting" about her underwear. Sex? She can't help sharing the crazy details with everyone. These few sentences are enough to convey her bubbling personality and suggest how devastating her death must have been for all those quiet, depressive Buendías.
| Quote #3
On a certain occasion José Arcadio looked at [Rebeca's] body with shameless attention and said to her: "You're a woman, little sister." Rebeca lost control of herself. She went back to eating earth and the whitewash on the walls with the avidity of previous days, and she sucked her finger with so much anxiety that she developed a callus on her thumb. She vomited up a green liquid with dead leeches in it. She spent nights awake shaking with fever, fighting against delirium, waiting until the house shook with the return of José Arcadio at dawn. One afternoon, when everyone was having a siesta, she could no longer resist and went to his bedroom. She found him in his shorts, lying in the hammock that he had hung from the beams with a ship's hawser. She was so impressed by his enormous motley nakedness that she felt an impulse to retreat. "Excuse me," she said, "I didn't know you were here." But she lowered her voice so as not to wake anyone up. "Come here," he said. Rebeca obeyed. She stopped beside the hammock in an icy sweat, feeling knots forming in her intestines, while José Arcadio stroked her ankles with the tips of his fingers, then her calves, then her thighs, murmuring: "Oh, little sister, little sister." She had to make a supernatural effort not to die when a startlingly regulated cyclonic power lifted her up by the waist and despoiled her of her intimacy with three slashes of its claws and quartered her like a little bird. She managed to thank God for having been born before she lost herself in the inconceivable pleasure of that unbearable pain, splashing in the steaming marsh of the hammock which absorbed the explosion of blood like a blotter. (5.18)
Two things here. First, Rebeca is a pretty aggressive woman, right? Especially for the time, and especially compared to the much more sexually passive Buendía women. Second, we're thinking that maybe José Arcadio (II) has an incest fetish that he's trying to make work. Think about it: Rebeca isn't actually his sister at all. And more than that, he ran off with the gypsies pretty soon after she showed up at the house with the bag of bones, so they weren't really even raised together as siblings. So it's not really all that perverse, in reality.