Study Guide

Gastón in One Hundred Years of Solitude

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A wealthy Belgian dude who marries Amaranta Úrsula in Europe, Gastón comes back to Macondo with her for a short visit. When he realizes that she will never want to leave, and that she's all about incest with her nephew, Aureliano Babilonia, he's pretty cool about it, asking only for his bike back.

The most interesting thing about Gastón is the unreliable description of him that we get through the eyes of Aureliano Babilonia, who can't really be trusted, since he's in love with Gastón's wife (his aunt, Amaranta Úrsula). Aureliano Babilonia is at first totally impressed that Gastón is so sexually uninhibited and lets his wife lead him around on a leash. He seems like a cool, new kind of man, different from the machismo-driven dudes that Macondo seems to generate.

But slowly, Aureliano Babilonia starts to realize that Gastón is actually even more domineering and paternalistic towards Amaranta Úrsula than those outwardly macho men. Gastón treats her like a tantrum-prone toddler, giving in to her whims and desires while slowly making her dependent on him. Is this a true description? Does this square with how calmly Gastón takes the news that Amaranta Úrsula is leaving him? Why or why not?

And one last question: seeing that Gastón is European, how do you think he's different from both the Latin American and American men we see in the novel?

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