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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Chapter 2 | Summary



Despite their families' disapproval, cousins José Arcadio Buendía and Úrsula marry. Because of the "sinister predictions" of Úrsula's mother, Úrsula avoids consummating their marriage, fearing their children will have pig tails.

A year later, José Arcadio Buendía wins a cockfight. His opponent, Prudencio Aguilar, mocks him and his wife, so José Arcadio kills him. After the murder, the couple see the ghost of Prudencia; José Arcadio is tortured by this apparition. They decide to leave.

After sacrificing roosters and burying the murder weapon, they cross the mountains, searching for the sea. Because of a dream, José Arcadio Buendía convinces his family and friends who have accompanied him to remain at the river. There they found Macondo.

Shortly after their daughter Amaranta is born, José Arcadio discovers he's going to be a father with Pilar, sleeps with a young gypsy, and leaves with the gypsy caravan. Úrsula tries to track them. José Arcadio Buendía follows her but returns to care for Amaranta. After several months, Úrsula returns to Macondo with a group of people who live across the swamp.


The juxtaposition of rebellion and fate creates tension. The legend of their pig-tailed uncle doesn't detour José Arcadio Buendía and Úrsula from getting married. This choice seems like youthful rebellion, even though the narrator states "their marriage was predicted from the time they had come into the world." This presence of fate supports the magic realism theme. When the patriarch hears a "supernatural echo" in his dream, naming the town they're sleeping in, he entices everyone to stay. It becomes clear this family's future is dictated by dreams, strengthening the presence of magic.

With such fantastical elements, the story is balanced with concrete and specific details. Amaranta is born on a "January Thursday at two o'clock in the morning." This information grounds the reader and contributes to the story's believability.

The ability to navigate between past and present creates a circularity. José Arcadio, named after his father, rebels by sleeping with "provocative" Pilar. After his father strikes him for saying his "recovered gold" resembles dog feces, he leaves with the gypsies, rebelling against his rebel parents.

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