| Quote #7
For Colonel Aureliano Buendía it meant the limits of atonement. He suddenly found himself suffering from the same indignation that he had felt in his youth over the body of the woman who had been beaten to death because she had been bitten by a rabid dog. He looked at the groups of bystanders in front of the house and with his old stentorian voice, restored by a deep disgust with himself, he unloaded upon them the burden of hate that he could no longer bear in his heart.
The strategy that worked against the corrupt government fails against the capitalist imperialism of the banana company. Maybe because this time the enemy is too diffuse? Too many people stand to profit by what the banana company is doing to really want to fight them?
| Quote #8
Martial law enabled the army to assume the functions of arbitrator in the controversy, but no effort at conciliation was made. As soon as they appeared in Macondo, the soldiers put aside their rifles and cut and loaded the bananas and started the trains running. The workers, who had been content to wait until then, went into the woods with no other weapons but their working machetes and they began to sabotage the sabotage. They burned plantations and commissaries, tore up tracks […]. The summons announced that the civil and military leader of the province would arrive on the following Friday ready to intercede in the conflict.
Okay, this is beyond horrible, especially since it actually happened during a workers' strike in Colombia in 1928. Check out how the language heightens the reading experience. The guns go from being tools of the soldiers to being agents with seemingly no human controlling them. (It's as if the guns had been loaded with caps – but we don't get any sense of by whom.) Finally, the guns are completely anthropomorphized: they are "insatiable" and "methodical," both of which imply thinking and feeling. (Anthropomorphism is when objects or animals are given human qualities.)
| Quote #9
Meanwhile, the victims start out as active participants, moving and talking to each other in the square. Then they become part of a mythical animal (a dragon's tail). Then they are described as an inanimate but powerful phenomenon (a gigantic whirlwind). And finally they are reduced to an insignificant onion being peeled. It's a subtle but really resonant way of demonstrating the shifting power dynamic here.
There's a whole crazy confluence of themes in this passage. You've got the lost memory of the past, with José Arcadio (III) and Aureliano (II) having no idea who the seventeen Aurelianos were, even though that was a pretty significant part of their ancestors' lives. You've got a guy who has practically come back from the dead, having survived against nearly impossible odds. And you've got the unbelievable persistence of the random policemen who have been chasing Aureliano Amador for this many years just to complete the task of killing him, long after whatever danger he might have once posed to the regime or the banana company was gone.