One Hundred Years of Solitude
How we cite our quotes:
One September morning, after having coffee in the kitchen with Aureliano, José Arcadio was finishing his daily bath when through the openings in the tiles the four children he had expelled from the house burst in. Without giving him time to defend himself, they jumped into the pool fully clothed, grabbed him by the hair, and held his head under the water until the bubbling of his death throes ceased on the surface and his silent and pale dolphin body slipped down to the bottom of the fragrant water. Then they took out the three sacks of gold from the hiding place which was known only to them and their victim. It was such a rapid, methodical, and brutal action that it was like a military operation. (18.23)
You can compare this scene to the way, many years before, Colonel Aureliano Buendía captured the town from the government soldiers who had been sent to control it (see quotation #2 in this section). Why does what looked so heroic then look so pathetic now?