One Hundred Years of Solitude | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Chapter 6 | Summary



When Colonel Aureliano Buendía leaves, he appoints Arcadio as Macondo's leader. In his absence, he reigns as the "cruelest ruler that Macondo had ever known." When he attacks Don Apolinar Moscote's house, Úrsula whips him back to the courtyard and takes over leadership. Noticing that sad news depresses her husband, she begins lying to him.

Obsessed with Pilar, Arcadio visits her, seeking a sexual relationship. She tells him to return at night and pays Santa Sofía de la Piedad to be with him. After Colonel Aureliano Buendía directs Arcadio to surrender the town, he decides to "defend the town to the death." Within 30 minutes, the defense is depleted, and Arcadio is executed the next morning. For his last request he asks that Santa Sofía de la Piedad give his children family names.

Even though Úrsula supports Amaranta and Pietro's relationship, when Pietro proposes, Amaranta refuses cruelly, sabotaging an opportunity for romantic love. Mourning, Pietro—a romantic and sensitive man—commits suicide.


After the Buendía descendants leave their childhood home, Úrsula complains to her husband, "the two of us alone again, the same as in the beginning."

In a story that explores solitude, humor relieves the reader. Arcadio, whose character spirals when he receives power, is shown as an awkward child in ill-fitting, hand-me-down clothes with "female buttocks," which he inherits from his biological mother. Because of the omniscient narrator, the reader knows his only friend was a ghost and he cried "in secret." With this intimate knowledge of characters, the story examines masculinity. When a messenger, disguised as a woman and armed with one of Colonel Aureliano Buendía's gold fish, delivers Arcadio war orders, Arcadio is suspicious. Instead, he ignores the advice and 350 soldiers die. The proud and masculine dictator that he is, Arcadio will not take orders from a woman—or in this case, a man disguised as a woman—but chooses instead to act according to his own volition, leading to the death of many men.

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