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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Chapter 17 | Summary



While reviving their lottery business, Petra and Aureliano Segundo host a weekly fair. As Úrsula loses lucidity, she shrinks and passes away on Good Friday.

When birds begin flying into things, the residents of Macondo suspect another plague has arrived. At Easter Mass, Father Antonio Isabel announces the arrival of a creature they call the Wandering Jew. At first they distrust him, but when a woman spots tracks, they vow to capture it. They catch the "monster" in a pit covered with leaves. After displaying it, the town burns it.

At the end of the year Rebeca dies, and the gypsies return. While Fernanda sleeps, the invisible doctors operate but they can't find anything wrong. José Arcadio Segundo discovers that the manuscripts are written in Sanskrit. When Aureliano Segundo realizes he's dying, he earns enough money to send his daughter to school in Brussels. Shortly after Amaranta Úrsula leaves, the twins die simultaneously.


In this chapter, the house is renovated three times:

  • After the rain, Úrsula restores it.
  • When José Arcadio announces he's returning after his final vows, Fernanda renovates.
  • After Úrsula's passing, the Buendía house is ignored until Amaranta Úrsula revives it.

The house tracks the deterioration of the Buendía family and Macondo. When Úrsula wants to clean the chamber pot room, Melquíades's old room where José Arcadio Segundo hides, Santa Sofía de la Piedad detours her. After three days they let her in. When Úrsula tells José Arcadio Segundo to help his twin, he rants about the hidden massacre, and Úrsula realizes that he's "in a world of shadows more impenetrable than hers."

When Aureliano Segundo hears what had happened to Macondo—the banana company took advantage of the thriving village and corrupted it—he recalls his twin's story. Even though everyone thinks José Arcadio Segundo is crazy, he's described as the "most lucid inhabitant of the house." The act of renovating the house becomes a form of denial and circularity. When the gypsies return, they introduce the same inventions they brought at the beginning of the narrative.

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