One Hundred Years of Solitude | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Chapter 5 | Summary

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Summary

A month after Remedios becomes a woman, she and Aureliano marry. Father Nicanor introduces religion to Macondo and starts building a church. Rebeca and Amaranta's fighting continues as Rebeca and Pietro plan the inaugural wedding. To expedite the building of the church, Úrsula and Pietro donate large sums. Amaranta intends to poison Rebeca.

Unexpectedly, Remedios, while pregnant with twins, dies after Amaranta prays for something to delay her murdering Rebeca. After the wedding is postponed, Rebeca eats earth again. When estranged José Arcadio returns, the family rejects him. Attracted to him, Rebeca sneaks into his room, and they begin a romantic relationship. Soon after, they marry, and Father Nicanor reveals they aren't siblings.

As the Moscotes gain popularity from their association with the Buendías, Don Apolinar implements more government. After Aureliano discovers that his father-in-law fixes the election and supports the town being under martial law, he joins forces with the Liberal Party and declares war on the Conservative Party with an army of 21 men. He is henceforth known as Colonel Aureliano Buendía.

Analysis

The introduction of religion to Macondo complicates the town dynamics even further. At an impromptu mass, Father Nicanor levitates "six inches" above ground, then repeats the act door to door to gain donations for the church. The use of magic realism in this monetary situation displays the church's manipulation. José Arcadio Buendía, the only person who doubts Father Nicanor, demands proof of God. Because José Arcadio Buendía is ostracized, Father Nicanor tries to help him out of a desire to save his soul, then simply because he feels sorry for him when he realizes José Arcadio Buendía has no interest in converting. The church is unable to manipulate José Arcadio Buendía into donating money. Father Nicanor abandons the project, fearing for the security of his own faith as he cannot prove the existence of God. In this scenario, the two represent polarities: religion and science, old and new, conservative and liberal.

During the celebration, Remedios delivers cake to her father-in-law, a symbol of their new bond of familial love. Her "sense of responsibility" and "natural grace" allude to her positive role in the family. The presence of Remedios within the Buendía family brings a refreshing peace that feels foreign to the family but is welcome. This peace is short-lived as Remedios dies shortly thereafter. Úrsula demands a mourning period of one year without talking and keeps Remedios's picture with a lit oil lamp next to it. Out of guilt, Amaranta adopts Aureliano José, whom Remedios was raising as her own. After Rebeca leaves Pietro for José Arcadio, Pietro maintains his routine visits and seeks out Amaranta for a romantic relationship. Typical of the Buendía family, Rebeca and José Arcadio engage in a lustful relationship, even though they grew up together. Pietro, who was once the object of desire of both Rebeca and Amaranta, now moves from one to the other. Amaranta now has the upper hand, knowing that Pietro is very fond of her.

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