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Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Quotes

Quote #1

Prudencio Aguilar did not go away, nor did José Arcadio Buendía dare throw the spear. He never slept well after that. He was tormented by the immense desolation with which the dead man had looked at him through the rain, his deep nostalgia as he yearned for living people, the anxiety with which he searched through the house looking for some water with which to soak his esparto plug. "He must be suffering a great deal," he said to Úrsula. "You can see that he's so very lonely." She was so moved that the next time she saw the dead man uncovering the pots on the stove she understood what he was looking for, and from then on she placed water jugs all about the house. (2.14)

Check out how the ante keeps being upped in this passage. We get horror, with the first glimpse of the ghost and the spear. Then we get pity for the ghost. Then empathy, as José Arcadio understands what Prudencio Aguilar is feeling. And finally there's a strange slide into domestic comedy, as Úrsula fills up jars for the ghost to keep his bandage moist. And there in a nutshell you have magical realism: the transformation of the mystical into the mundane.

Quote #2

Aureliano gave her a look that wrapped her in an atmosphere of uncertainty.

"Somebody is coming," he told her.

Úrsula, as she did whenever he made a prediction, tried to break it down with her housewifely logic. It was normal for someone to be coming. (3.2-4)

Why does Úrsula resist Aureliano's predictions? Do the words used in this passage ("wrapped," "uncertainly," "logic," and "normal") give you a clue? What does this say about her?

Quote #3

"Just a moment," he said. "Now we shall witness an undeniable proof of the infinite power of God."

The boy who had helped him with the mass brought him a cup of thick and steaming chocolate, which he drank without pausing to breathe. Then he wiped his lips with a handkerchief that he drew from his sleeve, extended his arms, and closed his eyes. Thereupon Father Nicanor rose six inches above the level of the ground. It was a convincing measure. […] No one doubted the divine origin of the demonstration except José Arcadio Buendía […]

"Hoc est simplicissimus," Arcadio Buendía said. "Homo iste statum quartum materiae invenit." […]

He was so stubborn that Father Nicanor gave up his attempts at evangelization and continued visiting him out of humanitarian feelings. But then it was José Arcadio Buendía who took the lead and tried to break down the priest's faith with rationalist tricks. (5.4-6, 8)

Is the priest's levitation proof of God? Why doesn't José Arcadio Buendía think so? Does it matter whether the levitation is the same kind of magic as the other supernatural events in the novel or whether it's divine? (Oh, and by the way, the Latin translates to: "This is very simple. This man has found the fourth state of matter.")

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