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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Study Guide

Gabriel García Márquez

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One Hundred Years of Solitude | Chapter 8 | Summary



After Aureliano José—the son of Colonel Aureliano Buendía and Pilar—begins shaving, Amaranta pursues a sexual relationship with him. When Amaranta realizes her mistake—an "autumnal passion"—she ends the affair. Aureliano José, completing military training, moves to the barracks.

When the parties seem "on the verge" of reaching armistice, Colonel Aureliano Buendía orders Colonel Gerineldo Márquez to leave with him and "five of his best men," including Aureliano José, for an uprising. In his years-long absence, he leads many revolts, and José Raquel Moncada, a Conservative, becomes mayor of Macondo. Aureliano José returns, determined to marry Amaranta. She avoids and then discourages him by locking him out of her bedroom permanently.

Over 12 years, 17 different mothers bring sons of Colonel Aureliano Buendía to Úrsula to be baptized. While at the movies, Aureliano José is murdered by Captain Aquiles Ricardo, who has taken over "municipal power." He is immediately shot to death. José Raquel Moncada assumes power again. When Colonel Aureliano Buendía, "condemned to death," attacks the Conservative Party, General Moncada is ordered to resist. He's captured trying to escape.


Much of the chapter outlines the many religious, economic, political, and educational changes that occur in Macondo. An extremely long paragraph that spans a few pages begins with José Raquel Moncada wishing Colonel Aureliano Buendía was a Conservative. Eventually, the enemies forge a friendship and Aureliano José returns. Amaranta enters the room and the previously romantic relatives face each other. This seamless transition accentuates the political climate's effect on family.

Even though Amaranta is a Buendía, she serves as an antagonist by consistently disrupting the harmony of the family. As an adult she has a responsibility, as guardian, not to cross the line of familial love with Aureliano José. When he confronts her, she reasons that she fears their children will be born with a pig tail, mirroring Úrsula's fear. He responds, mirroring José Arcadio Buendía's sentiment, "I don't care if they're born as armadillos." This mirroring between generations illustrates the theme of past and present. After the possibility of romantic love with Amaranta disappears, Aureliano José withdraws from the family.

When General Moncada is jailed, the town's mothers complain. Úrsula is the last to speak, threatening the power of a mother to whip her sons when they are wrong. Despite her resonating words, General Moncada is scheduled for execution. The mothers' disapproval illustrates Colombia's unsettling history through the symbol of Macondo.

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