Study Guide

One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 10

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Chapter 10

  • Buckle in, everyone, and watch out for the whiplash: we're getting another quick flash forward in time.
  • Eventually, on his deathbed, Aureliano Segundo would look back on when he had his first son and decided to name him José Arcadio. Which is a crazy jump forward, then back. (Although the back is still in the future for us, since in the novel's current present, Aureliano Segundo is still a kid himself. Yikes!)
  • But yeah, it's going to be another José Arcadio, even though Úrsula is kind of having the heebie-jeebies about all the recurring names and the way the men in the family seem to just cycle through the same personality traits and characteristics.
  • Okay, back to the present, when the Segundo twins are still in school.
  • They like to play twin tricks on everyone, switching identities for fun. Úrsula thinks that they've switched so much that they forgot who is actually who and ended up the wrong way around. Their mom, Santa Sofía de la Piedad, eventually realizes that they can each feel what the other is feeling.
  • Aureliano Segundo lobbies to open up Melquíades' old room, which magically is in pristine condition with no dust or cobwebs or anything.
  • He hangs out there, reading, until one day Melquíades himself appears and starts to teach him about the world and history.
  • Aureliano Segundo doesn't much care about that. (This is important! Lots of characters in the book want to forget about history at one time or another. Hint, hint.) Instead, he wants Melquíades to translate all those crazy scrolls he wrote earlier. Melquíades says that no one can read those until a hundred years have passed. Hmm. (That might be where the title of the book comes from.)
  • Meanwhile, Aureliano's twin, José Arcadio Segundo, starts getting involved in the church, to the point that the priest prepares him for communion.
  • This is a pretty crazy rebellion in the Buendía house, considering that Colonel Aureliano Buendía went to war for twenty years fighting against Conservatism and Catholicism.
  • One day, Aureliano Segundo meets a girl who seems to know him, and they end up in bed together. (Duh – what else do young men and women do in this novel?)
  • It turns out that the girl, Petra Cotes, is sleeping with both twins, not realizing that they are two different people.
  • José Arcadio Segundo soon leaves her, but Aureliano Segundo will be with her until he dies.
  • When Aureliano Segundo starts his relationship with Petra Cotes, they have a grand, wild time, bathing in champagne and generally going nuts. Their crazy sex life has some kind of transfer effect on Aureliano's animals, which breed out of control. This soon makes Aureliano the richest man in Macondo.
  • Úrsula, who is still running the show even though she is now about one hundred years old, is outraged by the wasteful party behavior. One day, Aureliano Segundo wallpapers her entire house in peso bills.
  • While this is happening, José Arcadio Segundo decides yet again to try to open up a channel to the sea from Macondo, just like his grandpa José Arcadio Buendía once tried to do.
  • It's mostly a failure, but he does manage to bring in a boat filled with French women who may or may not be prostitutes. (It's sort of unclear.)
  • The French women propose the idea of a carnival, with Remedios the Beauty as the queen.
  • Remedios is so beautiful now that Úrsula has to keep her in the house or covered up in the street. One man comes to Macondo just to get a glimpse of her face, and when he finally does, he goes crazy from love.
  • Remedios herself is either mentally handicapped or preternaturally intelligent, depending on who is describing her. She goes around the house naked, sometimes plays with her poop, and can't read or write at age twenty.
  • The carnival comes and Aureliano Segundo gets to dress up as a tiger.
  • News that Remedios Buendía is going to be queen stresses out the government, even though Colonel Aureliano Buendía has now totally renounced all military and political life and gone back to making his little gold fish full time.
  • At the carnival, another float appears with a rival queen. When the two queens are placed together on the dais, the second queen's attendants whip out rifles and fire crazily into the crowd.
  • No one really knows what has happened, but most likely the attendants were government soldiers in disguise.
  • The second queen, Fernanda del Carpio, has no idea what's happening either. She's there because she won a huge beauty contest.
  • Six months after the massacre, Aureliano Segundo takes her home and marries her.

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