Study Guide

Petra Cotes in One Hundred Years of Solitude

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Petra Cotes

Petra is a half-native local woman who becomes Aureliano Segundo's concubine. She seems content to share him with his wife, Fernanda, whom she initially loathes and then eventually comes to love and financially sustain.

We obviously think pretty highly of this book – and the Nobel committee has our back. Still, some criticisms have been waged against the novel, and one of them is relevant to this character.

Petra Cotes is one of many female characters who are happy to provide a soft resting place for some man who is not much of a prize, expecting almost nothing in return. Petra sticks by Aureliano Segundo's side even after he goes off and marries another woman. That really takes a heck of a chill attitude.

What do you think? Is Petra simply a sexually available pushover, like Pilar Ternera or Nigromanta? Or is there some nuance that this criticism is missing?

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