Study Guide

One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 11

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Chapter 11

  • Two quick months after getting married, Aureliano Segundo runs back to Petra Cotes. (He thinks he's a twenty-first century celebrity, apparently.)
  • Turns out things aren't so hot in the bedroom department with Fernanda.
  • Why, you ask?
  • Well, Fernanda had a rather unusual childhood. Her parents locked her away, didn't let her play with any friends, and told her that she was going to be a queen when she grew up. For real: she grew up believing she was destined to become a queen.
  • Her mom died, then her dad lost more and more money, but he still didn't tell Fernanda the truth. Only when government soldiers took her to Macondo for the carnival did she figure out that maybe she wasn't really royalty.
  • It's all so insane that it makes the rest of the book so far look pretty normal by comparison, which is saying a lot.
  • So yeah, when Aureliano Segundo finds her six months after the carnival, she is a little nuts.
  • Also, she is super-religious and has a calendar of the days when she's allowed to have sex: forty-two days a year. On top of all this, on the sex days, she wears a long-sleeved, ankle-length nightgown to bed, which she refuses to take off. It's really not that hot.
  • The family hates her, especially Amaranta.
  • Fernanda starts to impose her own brand of martial law on them, and the house becomes more and more rigid and rule-oriented, especially as Úrsula becomes ancient and loses her authority.
  • When Fernanda and Aureliano Segundo have kids, he names the first one José Arcadio, after his grandpa. (We'll call him José Arcadio (III) to unconfuse the confusion a little bit.) When Úrsula wants to name their daughter Remedios, Fernanda says no way, and instead calls her Renata, after her mother. She's the only one who does, though. The family and the rest of the town calls her Meme, short for Remedios.
  • Fernanda starts to idealize her crazy old dad, and the kids grow up thinking their maternal grandfather was some kind of saint or martyr instead of the loony that he was.
  • After Meme is born, the government decides to celebrate the peace treaty signed by Colonel Aureliano Buendía. Part of the celebration will be specifically for him.
  • But Aureliano sees the peace treaty as the greatest failure of his life. He is so angry and upset that he refuses to have anything to do with the celebration.
  • During the celebration, he suddenly has a visitor. Actually, a whole bunch of visitors: the seventeen Aurelianos he fathered during the war, when all those hot babes would come to his tent at night.
  • They hang out in the house, partying and wreaking havoc, but they are fun and cheer him up a bit.
  • Just before they're supposed to leave, Amaranta takes them to church on Ash Wednesday to get ashes marked on their foreheads. When they get home, the seventeen Aurelianos realize that the marks are permanent.
  • One of them, Aureliano Triste, decides to stay behind and work for Aureliano Segundo.
  • In a few months, when Aureliano Triste goes looking for a house to rent, he comes across an abandoned-looking old building.
  • But the building isn't really abandoned. In it lives – wait for it – Rebeca! Remember her? Yeah, no one else does either, apparently, except Amaranta, who still hates her with every fiber of her being.
  • Rebeca is old and decrepit and doesn't ever leave the house. Ever after the seventeen Aurelianos restore the exterior, she won't let them in to work on the inside.
  • After finishing up the house repairs, another of the Aurelianos, Aureliano Centeno, stays to work with Aureliano Triste.
  • With the Aurelianos' help, the ice-making business that Aureliano Segundo owns is humming along so well that their production is outpacing demand. Obviously they need to expand: but to where?
  • Aureliano Triste gets an idea: Macondo needs a railroad.
  • As always, everyone immediately thinks he is crazy, but he goes ahead with the plan anyway.
  • Eight months later, a train rolls into town.

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