One Hundred Years of Solitude | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Chapter 7 | Summary



After Colonel Aureliano Buendía is captured, the war ends. As a lesson, he's scheduled for execution in Macondo. When he arrives, he asks Úrsula to visit him in jail. She comes alone and brings him a satchel. When she leaves, she gives him a revolver. After realizing executing the colonel may have severe consequences, soldiers postpone his punishment and draw names to decide who will shoot him.

On the dawn of the execution, José Arcadio, armed, intervenes. War breaks out. Úrsula houses Santa Sofía de la Piedad and her three children, Remedios the Beauty and the twins.

José Arcadio mysteriously dies (an unexplained murder or suicide) and Rebeca retreats into her house. When someone attempts to poison Colonel Aureliano Buendía, his mother nurses him back to health. He names Colonel Gerineldo Márquez as Macondo's leader so he can "die of old age making little gold fishes." In José Arcadio Buendía's last days, he only converses with Prudencio Aguilar, who visits twice a day.


Magic realism offers hope to a story with such a solemn subject matter. When José Arcadio Buendía passes, it rains yellow flowers, creating a sense that even nature mourns the dead patriarch. In the beginning of the chapter, Úrsula, knowing her son is a prisoner of war, hears his voice, his signal to her that he's alive. Both Úrsula and Colonel Aureliano Buendía have premonitions. Both of their intuitions are inconsistent. Pilar is the only person who can tap into their psychic faculties at will.

After José Arcadio dies in the house that he and Rebeca rented after Úrsula banished them, a drop of blood from his gunshot wound travels across town to his mother's house. It avoids the rugs to keep from staining them and goes into the kitchen, where she prepares bread. An incredibly long sentence displays how much distance the blood travels to notify the matriarch. Úrsula then follows the blood in another long sentence and distance to discover her son's body in his bedroom. The combination of a fantastical image of a son's blood seeking its mother with the long sentences shows the depth of familial love.

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