Study Guide

One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 20

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Chapter 20

  • Fair warning: this chapter is incredibly brutal and horrible.
  • Pilar Ternera dies, along with the weird brothel she was running.
  • The Catalonian closes up shop and goes back to Spain. Aureliano (II) and his friends pack him up and load him onto the train. He sends them letters, which grow progressively sadder.
  • One by one, the friends also leave town.
  • Amaranta Úrsula and Aureliano (II) have been sneaking around behind Gaston's back, but now they don't need to because Gaston goes back to Brussels to work out all the problems with the airmail situation.
  • Much sex is had. In the process, the house is totally wrecked and invaded by vicious red ants. (Keep an eye on the ants, they'll be important soon.)
  • The sex is awesome, and Amaranta Úrsula and Aureliano (II) are deeply in love.
  • When Gaston writes that he's about to come back, Amaranta Úrsula responds with a very nice letter saying that she still loves him, but she to really wants be with Aureliano (II). Gaston writes a nice letter back asking for his bicycle to be returned.
  • Amaranta Úrsula is pregnant.
  • There is a minor freak-out when they suddenly think that they are brother and sister. They can't figure out where he came from, but, to the best of their knowledge, Fernanda isn't his mother. Amaranta Úrsula thinks maybe Petra Cotes is.
  • Aureliano (II) does some searching in the church records, but learns pretty much nothing. They decide to believe that they aren't related – mostly because it would be too disgusting.
  • A letter comes from Spain, but not in the Catalonian's handwriting. They don't open it because it's clearly bad news about him.
  • Eventually Amaranta Úrsula goes into labor. With some help from a midwife/brothel madam, she gives birth to a son who has… a pig's tail. Just like Úrsula's mother's original prediction, remember?
  • Well, you remember, but they don't, so they don't stress about it; they assume it will eventually be cut off. They name the baby Aureliano (III), not Rodrigo, as Amaranta Úrsula originally wanted.
  • Suddenly, Amaranta Úrsula starts to bleed out. Twenty-four hours later, she is dead.
  • Aureliano freaks out, overcome by love for his friends and for Amaranta Úrsula. He leaves the house and wanders around town. He gets drunk and sick in a bar, and finally Nigromanta finds him and takes care of him.
  • The next day, he wakes up and remembers the baby.
  • He runs back to the house, where he finds that the baby is dead, swarming with red ants, which are dragging him into their holes.
  • Ugh.
  • At that moment, Aureliano (II) realizes what Melquíades' parchments really are: a prediction about and a history of the whole Buendía family, from José Arcadio Buendía being tied to a tree to the last Buendía being eaten by ants.
  • He grabs the parchments and starts reading, not noticing that the wind outside is picking up.
  • He reads about Sir Francis Drake, then skips ahead to see who his parents are. He learns that Amaranta Úrsula was actually not his sister but his aunt.
  • The wind blows the doors and windows away.
  • He skips ahead again to read about how he is going to die, and realizes that, as the wind wipes Macondo off the face of the earth, no one will ever remember that he or any of the town or the family had ever existed.
  • Wow.

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