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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Chapter 4 | Summary



Following the renovation of the Buendía house, Úrsula furnishes it with "costly necessities" and organizes a dance. Pietro Crespi arrives to set up the pianola. He teaches them how to use it.

Aureliano sleeps with Pilar, who promises to help him win Remedios. When Aureliano confronts his parents about his intention to marry her, his father, upon his wife's agreement that Rebeca marry Pietro, seeks Remedios's hand. After a discussion, Aureliano promises to wait until she reaches "the age of conception."

Melquíades passes away. José Arcadio Buendía gives him an honorable and well-attended funeral.

After asking Pilar to read her cards, Rebeca discovers that she must bury her parents' bones to find happiness. José Arcadio Buendía finds the bones in the wall and buries them next to Melquíades. Prudencio Aguilar begins visiting José Arcadio Buendía again and begins to drive him mad. Aureliano, unable to stop his father's madness, seeks help. José Arcadio Buendía is tied to the chestnut tree.


A representation of Colombia, Macondo, previously without death, is complicated when it buries Melquíades, then later, Rebeca's parents. Both are outsiders, yet the deaths have different effects on the Buendía family. Melquíades's death seems to trigger José Arcadio Buendía's descent into madness, and burying the bones of her parents enables Rebeca to move on from familial love to romantic love, a theme that drives the plot.

Romantic love disrupts the harmony in the house. Rebeca is in love with Pietro, who returns to fix the pianola that the patriarch takes apart and assembles incorrectly. Lovesick, she returns to her bad habit of eating earth. When Amparo delivers a letter to Rebeca from Pietro, the girls become friends, which stirs Aureliano's desire for Remedios. When the mail is late, Rebeca acts out.

After Rebeca's love is revealed, Amaranta's romantic feelings for Pietro arise. During Melquíades's wake, Amaranta confesses her love to Pietro, who doesn't take her seriously, and confides in Rebeca. Love and jealousy become intertwined in this love triangle. Rebeca has buried her parents' bones to find happiness but returns to her miserable habits of eating dirt on account of Pietro. Pietro cares for Rebeca but Amaranta may be a more suitable mate for Pietro. However, Amaranta's behavior shows that she, much like Rebeca, is overcome with desire for Pietro, and this affects her relationship with Rebeca in a negative way. Even though one love is reciprocated and another isn't, both amorous feelings are discovered by Úrsula when she finds exchanged and unsent letters in the girls' rooms. The letters are packaged the same: perfumed, tied with a pink bow. After Amaranta threatens Rebeca's life, Úrsula arranges Amaranta's trip.

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