Study Guide

One Hundred Years of Solitude Sex

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In <em>One Hundred Years of Solitude</em>, sex is shown to be an overwhelming, usually irresistible desire. However inappropriate the object of sexual desire might be (say, your sister or aunt), the drive to consummate the relationship causes characters to cast off any moral or ethical considerations that might hold them back. It follows, moreover, that the sexual experience itself is a transformative sensation so full of physical, emotional, and psychic pleasure that it frequently causes characters to abandon plans and dreams in order to pursue a repeat encounter.

Questions About Sex

  1. Compare the different brothels in the novel. How is Pilar Ternera's makeshift borrowed room different from Catarino's store? And how are these different from the brothel of girls who go to bed because of hunger? What does each place say about the people who visit it?
  2. Are there any other desires as strong as sexual attraction in the novel? Why is this specific human urge described as unstoppable and completely uncontrollable? Why is it always a transcendent experience?
  3. Why does no one ever have bad or awkward sex (even Aureliano Segundo at least finds Fernanda extremely desirable)? Does the way sexuality is presented in the novel make us more or less judgmental of the characters' sex lives? Is that good or bad? Why?
  4. How is female sexuality different from male sexuality in the novel? Do men and women want sex in the same way? Does desire tend to be presented as equal? Is sexuality different between the genders depending on whether the sex is taboo or not? Marital or extramarital?

Chew on This

This novel is strikingly progressive in its presentation of female sexuality as an active rather than a passive force.

Characters that stand in the way of sexual desire are necessarily seen as problematic or flawed rather than moral and upstanding.

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