Study Guide

One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 13

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Chapter 13

  • Úrsula just keeps getting older and older, too.
  • She's actually been blind for a while but has managed to hide it. She has an amazing array of tricks. She uses all of her other senses: smell and sound are obvious, but her sense of touch becomes so developed that she can tell what color a fabric is just by touching it. Now this is cool.
  • She realizes that each family member follows a set path throughout the day, so she always knows where everybody is.
  • She even adjusts these paths in her mind based on the time of year, since the position of the sun causes slight shifts.
  • Wow.
  • Úrsula also develops sudden deep insights into everyone. She realizes that Colonel Aureliano Buendía is a cold, proud man who is incapable of love. Ouch.
  • She also realizes that Amaranta is not actually a vengeful monster, but just so scared that she lets fear chase away love. She even feels bad about how they treated Rebeca.
  • Úrsula does her best to get José Arcadio (III) ready for the seminary. When he finally goes away, it's pretty depressing for everyone.
  • Meanwhile, Fernanda starts taking over the house. She puts the kibosh on the open-door policy and now only invites people who have nothing to do with the banana plantations. That means José Arcadio Segundo is out – he's been working there as a foreman.
  • Aureliano Segundo is tired of Fernanda's nonsense and starts to live at Petra Cotes' house full-time, especially since Meme (their daughter, remember) is now at a boarding school.
  • The parties at Petra Cotes' house are ragers.
  • One time, there is a huge eating contest in which Aureliano Segundo is bested by a woman called The Elephant. The Elephant wins because she's figured out that the way to eat a marathon amount of food is by being completely calm and peaceful. Aureliano Segundo almost dies, then starts to spend days with Fernanda and nights with Petra.
  • Around this time, Meme invites a bunch of classmates to come stay at her house (68 to be exact... plus 4 nuns). She just shows up with all of them in tow without asking anyone first.
  • Úrsula and Fernanda scramble to house and feed everyone. It's generally a miserable week of long lines for the bathroom. They have to use chamber pots because there aren't enough toilets for them all. (Ew, chamber pots.)
  • For reasons that aren't clear, Amaranta starts weaving her funeral shroud.
  • José Arcadio Segundo starts coming to the house to hang out with Colonel Aureliano Buendía. No one really knows what they're talking about, but Úrsula can tell from the way he walks that José Arcadio Segundo isn't really part of the family. He's been damaged by the childhood memory of seeing a man killed by a firing squad.
  • Now we take a little trip into the mind of Colonel Aureliano Buendía.
  • He doesn't care about anything anymore. All he does is make little gold fishes, then melt them down and remake them – over and over again.
  • This day, October 11, he gets some coffee, thinks about one of the women who came into his tent during his war days, works a little bit on his gold fish, then falls asleep and dreams about an empty house.
  • He hears a circus coming to town and realizes that he has to pee. He goes out to the tree in the backyard and pees on the ghost of his father, José Arcadio Buendía. Oops. The ghost tries to talk to him, but the colonel doesn't hear.
  • He leans against the tree… and that's it for him. When they find him the next day, buzzards are eating his corpse. Ugh.

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