| Quote #7
The Ash Wednesday before [the seventeen Aurelianos] went back to scatter out along the coast, Amaranta got them to put on Sunday clothes and accompany her to church. More amused than devout, they let themselves be led to the altar rail where Father Antonio Isabel made the sign of the cross in ashes on them. Back at the house, when the youngest tried to clean his forehead, he discovered that the mark was indelible and so were those of his brothers. They tried soap and water, earth and a scrubbing brush, and lastly a pumice stone and lye, but they could not remove the crosses. On the other hand, Amaranta and the others who had gone to mass took it off without any trouble. (11.28)
It's so creepy that the Ash Wednesday marks that are supposed to be a protective religious symbol in the novel become targets on the boys' heads. Also, imagine scrubbing your forehead with a pumice stone and lye – ouch!
| Quote #8
The supposition that Remedios the Beauty possessed powers of death was then borne out. […] Amaranta noticed that Remedios the Beauty was covered all over by an intense paleness. "Don't you feel well?" she asked her. Remedios the Beauty, who was clutching the sheet by the other end, gave a pitying smile. "Quite the opposite," she said, "I never felt better." She had just finished saying it when Fernanda felt a delicate wind of light pull the sheets out of her hands and open them up wide. Amaranta felt a mysterious trembling in the lace on her petticoats and she tried to grasp the sheet so that she would not fall down at the instant in which Remedios the Beauty began to rise. Úrsula, almost blind at the time, was the only person who was sufficiently calm to identify the nature of that determined wind and she left the sheets to the mercy of the light as she watched Remedios the Beauty waving goodbye in the midst of the flapping sheets that rose up with her, abandoning with her the environment of beetles and dahlias and passing through the air with her as four o'clock in the afternoon came to an end, and they were lost forever with her in the upper atmosphere where not even the highest-flying birds of memory could reach her. (12.23)
Again we get this amazing mix of the transcendent and the mundane. On the one hand, we've got the world's most beautiful woman rising naked into the air. It's like a vision out that famous Botticelli painting of Venus rising out of the sea on a shell. On the other hand, we've got two women trying to keep the laundry from going up with her, bringing the scene back down to a mundane, daily level.
| Quote #9
It was then that she realized that the yellow butterflies preceded the appearances of Mauricio Babilonia. […] One morning, while she was pruning the roses, Fernanda let out a cry of fight and had Meme taken away from the spot where she was, which was the same place in the garden where Remedios the Beauty had gone up to heaven. She had thought for an instant that the miracle was going to be repeated with her daughter, because she had been bothered by a sudden flapping of wings. It was the butterflies. (14.23)
In a way, Fernanda's fears come true. After all, Meme is going to be taken away forever – except it's Fernanda herself who's going to be doing the taking. Also, why yellow butterflies? Why that color and that insect?