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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Chapter 15 | Summary



When Meme's baby is delivered to the Buendía house, Fernanda convinces Santa Sofía de la Piedad she found him. After quitting his supervisor position, José Arcadio Segundo encourages the employees to strike. Someone tries to kill him because he's identified as contributing to the "international conspiracy against public order." The union leaders are jailed and released.

Under martial law the workers rebel, and "authorities" ask the workers to gather in the square to mediate the conflict. An army lieutenant asks the crowd for silence, reads the statements of officials, and authorizes the soldiers to shoot the crowd. They kill over 3,000 people. José Arcadio Segundo wakens on a train among the dead and jumps to safety. After walking back to Macondo, he discovers no one will speak of the tragedy. Santa Sofía de la Piedad hides him in Melquíades's old room. A proclamation is released granting the workers their wishes, to be implemented after the rain. When soldiers search the house, they're unable to find José Arcadio Segundo, who knows the war is over and dedicates himself to deciphering Melquíades's manuscripts.


Fernanda's character is a contrast to Úrsula's. Úrsula wants her daughters to stay at home, so she allows them relationships and keeps watch. Severe Fernanda not only denies Meme romantic love but also orders her daughter to accompany her. Meme, who hasn't spoken since Mauricio Babilonia is shot, obeys. Fernanda takes her daughter to the convent where Fernanda was raised. The lovers die of old age, mute. While returning from her hometown, Fernanda notices the rising "tension."

The rising political discomfort coincides with the fate she delivers the Buendías: Fernanda, an antagonist, tells José Arcadio that Meme is dead. She considers killing Aureliano but instead hides him from others. It takes Aureliano Segundo three years to learn of the child's existence.

Fernanda's suffocating motherly love, steeped in tradition, is also contrasted with Santa Sofía de la Piedad. She hides her son in Melquíades's room for his safety, not out of shame. She feeds him and tries to conceal him, even when faced with potential death. At José Arcadio Segundo's urging, she promises to verify that he's dead before he is buried. He fears being buried alive by the Conservative Party, a lingering trauma from surviving and escaping the invisible train of dead bodies.

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