Study Guide

One Hundred Years of Solitude Family

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Family is a virtual prison in <em>One Hundred Years of Solitude</em>. Inherited family characteristics are inescapable. Family life lacks privacy or freedom. And family fate is shared by all relatives regardless of their own personal characteristics or actions. No one who leaves the family can ever really stay away, and those who come into the family from the outside are unable to bring any new perspectives or ideas. Family members are so locked in to the emotional psychodrama that even those human relationships meant to be expressed with non-relatives, like sexual love, are turned incestuous.

Questions About Family

  1. Why does Remedios the Beauty die? How does her character fit in in relation to her siblings? With her parents? Does her death show us anything about them? Why or why not? How would the book be different if she didn't die?
  2. Compare the relationships between fathers and daughters in the book. How are they different from each other? How are they different from mother-son relationships?
  3. Why are there so many children being raised by people other than their birth parents in this novel? Do these caregivers interact with their children differently than biological parents?
  4. Which personality traits can you trace down through the generations? Which are an improvement over existing genes? Which are worse?

Chew on This

Ultimately, family intactness is the book's greatest horror. Those who are able to separate from the family (Rebeca and José Arcadio [II], and briefly Amaranta Úrsula and Gaston) are cut a lot of slack for their foibles. Those that can't are doomed.

The female members of the family are completely secondary in this book. It's all about the men.

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