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 Post subject: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Sun Apr 30, 2017 7:45 pm 
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One Hundred Years of Solitude
Gabriel Garcia Marquez

:bagpipe:The contents of current chapters and previously summarized chapters may be discussed as they relate to the story. Please do not post any spoilers in the chapter threads.

Note: Because this book does not include chapter numbers, we decided that it would be helpful to include the first line of each chapter in the summary so people can make sure they are in the right place.

Chapter 12
Dazzled by the many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo did not know where their amazement began.

The train brought amazing modern conveniences like electric bulbs that fed from a generator (it says "plant" but that sounds too big,) movies, cylinder phonographs and a telephone "as if God had decided to put to test every capacity of surprise and was keeping the inhabitants of Macondo in a permanent alternation between excitement and disappointment, doubt and revelation, to such an extreme that no one knew for certain where the limits of reality lay."

Strange people that look normal come to town. Some of these "acrobats of commerce" sell whistling kettles and some the salvation of the soul on the seventh day. One of these strangers, Mr. Herbert, comes to start a "captive balloon" business that doesn't make many customers because he can't compete with the flying carpets the gypsies had brought to town before. Instead he gets interested in bananas and brings experts and a Mr.Jack Brown who had his own train car and an orange convertible (the first car in Macondo). The foreigners build what I guess we could call a green zone on the other side of the tracks with electrified chicken wire on top of a fence that roasts swallows. They also move the river and change the rain pattern. They plan to plant banana in the "Enchanted region"

Everyone is coming to Macondo, including two more of CABs sons, Aureliano Serrador (someone who saws, a sawyer) and Aureliano Arcaya (a Basque little town). The other two that had stayed in town are Aureliano Triste (sad) and Aureliano Centeno (rye). The town becomes dangerous and unrecognizable with lots of new women of the night, gambling and people passing out drunk or being shot all over the place.

Remedios the Beauty causes several deaths just by ignoring men and simplifying her life. She wears a simple dress with nothing underneath and shaves her head, which men find irresistible. She also has a natural odor that the people in the house can't smell. Ursula worries about her having a pig tailed child with one of the 17 but stops worrying when her future pope great great grandson is born. Remedios the Beauty ends up levitating into the sky with Fernanda's good sheets.

The barefoot and stick armed soldiers who protected the town and worked for the apathetic conservative mayor of the day are replaced by foreign assassins armed with machetes who kill a child and his grandfather for bumping into one of them and they go after the 17 with the indelible ash cross on their forehead leaving only one of them alive, Aureliano Amador (lover) who is a carpenter and who runs away into the mountains. CAB decides to start a war against them and asks CG Marquez for help but he responds "Oh, Aureliano" "I already knew that you were old but now I realize you're older than you look."

In this chapter we lose 17 family members: 16 of CAB's sons and Remedios the Beauty. What is your thought on their importance? Were you surprised one of them survived?

The ghost of the patriarch is back and moves around but Aureliano doesn't see him. Why would that be?

Aureliano Segundo seems to be the only family member happy with the changes and the strangers' invasion. What's in it for him?

Where is José Arcadio Segundo while all this is going on?

I found parts of this chapter very upsetting and others I really welcomed as going back to the old "reality" of the Buendía household. I was disappointed to see Melquiades' room decaying. I believe where it says a flower was growing on the damp manuscripts it actually was a mistake on the translation and it should be "flora" as in moss, mildew or fungi.

Looking forward to your comments and interpretation.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 10:31 am 
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Clan Fraser
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I listened to part of this last night and the rest this morning and realize I missed some things. For example, I knew the foreigners had moved in, but didn't realize their area had an electrified fence. :scared: Thanks for the summary that clarified some things for me.

Are we to assume that Remedios the Beauty is gone for good? I know she levitated into the sky (with Fernanda's sheets), but I'm not sure that means we won't see her again since so many others have returned from the dead or long times away (such as apparently JAB in this chapter and Melquiades and others). Though, she seemed so separate from the world and the family that I suppose she could be gone for real. I just won't be surprised if she turns up again.

Like you Demetria, I felt in parts of this chapter that we were circling back to the early parts of the book with some of the magic and quirkiness of Macondo and the family. But, at other moments, it was clearly not the old place/people. As the train brought in so many inventions, it was reminiscent of the gypsies bringing various wonders early on. In fact, the magic carpet was mentioned here and that was one of the things I had thought of.

I was surprised that one of the 17 Aurelianos has survived (so far). I thought earlier it said that they'd all be killed, so I'm wondering if the last one will also be killed in a future chapter. I was kind of sad that CAB gave up making his fish and is back in thinking about fighting mode because I really didn't enjoy the chapters focused on the war.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 11:36 am 
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Clan Fraser
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Thanks for the summary, Demetria. I found this to be another confusing chapter. The foreigners must have really made some changes to Macondo to be able to move the river. I was not clear why the 16 Aurelianos were shot (actually, I am not clear why a lot of things happen in this book), but it was very sad. Now I am worried for the last one, because I am sure it said a few chapters back that they all died.

Demetria wrote:
Remedios the Beauty ends up levitating into the sky with Fernanda's good sheets.

This was such a funny image, as is the fact that Fernanda wanted her sheets back. It would not surprise me if Remedios were to reappear. I am confused about JAB in this chapter - I thought he could not possibly still be alive, but it makes sense that he could be there as a ghost. If the 16 dead Aurelianos decide to come back as ghosts the place will become very crowded.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 12:51 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Thank you, Demetria, great summary.

The main aspect of this chapter is the stark criticism Gabo makes of the "gringo" invasion -- one of the unintended consequences of the train-- and the corruption it brings to the somewhat innocent, naive (it's a better word, I think) inhabitants of Macondo. Gabo was highly critical of United Fruit Company's monopoly -- "Mamita Yuni"-- throughout Central and South America.

BTW, many believed "Mamita Yuni" acquired the choicest lands, exploited the laborer with extreme hours and conditions, and never gave a cent back to the Banana Republics (thus the name) the company abused.

Gabo does not paint a flattering image of Americans and American businesses, neither does Pablo Neruda.

Here is a link to Pablo Neruda's ode to United Fruit Company More on that topic. Pablo Neruda

This, in turn, is the direct cause of the attempt and death of CAB's sons. Once the famous Coronel uttered a verbal threat against the despised "gringos" with the help of his sons, they became instant targets.

I wonder if the elevation of Remedios la bella, the marvelous guileless creature, had to occur in concert with Macondo's decline. The best lines in the chapter (I apologize for the variances) "Remedios la bella was left wandering in a desert of solitude, without carrying a cross, and maturing in her dreams without nightmares" until she ascended to "the highest winds where not even the tallest birds of memory could reach". To Fernanda, such a lofty disappearance is too much for her jealous nature. She had to complain about something a bit more prosaic, like sheets. LOL

So now we wait to hear the fate of Aureliano Amador. Interesting note: Amador "the lover" is a common last name in Latin countries. The roots date to the XVI century, popular in Catalunya, Portugal, and Spain. Ancestry.com

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But the wine had been too strong for her, as it had for the others; and like the others she had stepped from the safe shores of friendship. She stood now in another country, whose sun burned and whose air was too rare for her breathing. Checkmate


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 4:12 pm 
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Thanks Demetria for the summary, as usual with this book it is so hard to remember all the events in one chapter that we really rely on the summary.

Thanks also Anam Charaid for explaining the connection with the United Fruit Company. I could vaguely see the connection with American invadors but didn't understand it completely without that reference. It actually made me think of descriptions of life in India when it was under British rule - and I realize that the situation isn't all that different. Anyway I really found that whole bit about the arrival of the foreigners very confusing.

On the other hand, the arrival of modernity was pretty funny. It was a lot like the arrival of the gypsies. But that makes me wonder: other than Ursula, who seems immortal, were there a lot of centenarians in Macondo? Otherwise, I don't see how the younger generations could remember the gypsies.

I agree about Aureliano Amador. They did tell us earlier that all 17 of them get shot so seeing him survive is suspicious and makes you feel like you're waiting for the other shoe to drop. Either that or we're just satisfied with the line about how no one ever saw him again. I understood that they were all killed because of CAB's outburst but I didn't fully understand the connection with the foreigners until you guys pointed it out. This book really isn't easy to read on your own.

On other notes: I've been wondering about José Arcadio Segundo for a while now. He seems to have dropped out of sight for at least two chapters. The original José Arcadio has been dead for a while, so another thing I didn't understand is why it said that he died from having been left outdoors for half a century. Really? Was he tied to that tree for 50 years before he died or has it been 50 years since he was tied up including the time since he died? And I still don't understand Remedios the Beauty. Was she an angel on earth? what is she telling us with the fatal beauty (femme fatale literally??).

I guess I found this to be a pretty difficult to understand chapter. I'm not sure I'd use the word "upsetting" though. I'm curious why you did.

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Da mi basia mille, deinde centum, dein mille altera, dein secunda centum, deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.

Donne-moi mille baisers, et puis cent, et puis mille autres, puis une seconde fois cent, puis encore mille autres, puis cent.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 5:49 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Thanks for the summary, Demetria.

Anam-Charaid, the reference was very helpful in clarifying the chapter. I didn't connect Aureliano's comment about the gringos and the death of his sons. Thanks.

Come to think of it, José Arcadio Segundo hasn't been around.
I don't know for sure, but I don't think anyone would be surprised if Remedios la Bella were to return, sheets and all.

DLT wrote:
I thought he could not possibly still be alive, but it makes sense that he could be there as a ghost. If the 16 dead Aurelianos decide to come back as ghosts the place will become very crowded.
:lol: Yes. It would be crowded.

I especially enjoyed the reactions to the new inventions and this line had me chuckling:
Quote:
"...he (Mr. Herbert) had not succeeded in taking anyone up in Macondo because they considered that invention backward after having seen and tried the gypsies' flying carpets." (231)


I did find it upsetting that the Aureliano's were getting killed one after the other and glad that Aureliano Amador survived. There is still more left to the novel so I fear that A.Amador will also meet an early end.
The arrival of the gringos has certainly corrupted the place even more. It makes sense. The bananas themselves look unnatural. I can't find the quote but that are described as being striped. Quite an odd look to them. They seem foreign, processed or something.

I feel a certain comfort when the old ghosts appear but JAB's appearance is a sad prognostication for Aurealiano. I do wonder why Aureliano is the only inhabitant of the house who is unable to see his father's spirit. What does that mean? I'd love to hear some interpretations?

I wonder if the train being yellow might represent the fruit, the bananas. The train, to piggy back on A-C's reference of the company, may very well represent the fruit company. Mr. Herbert seems to engulf the profits (the bananas).

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"'I wish to God,' said Gideon with mild exasperation, 'that you'd talk--just once--in prose like other people.'"
--Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 6:01 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Anam-Charaid, thanks for explaining about the gringos and the fruit companies. That puts the events in the chapter into perspective. Naomi, I agree that this book is a hard read on one's own.

So, I wonder what the significance is of all the foreigners getting off the train and coming to eat at the Buendia house. Does it mean that they just took what was offered without wondering where it came from and who had provided it?


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 6:19 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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NigheanDubh wrote:
The arrival of the gringos has certainly corrupted the place even more. It makes sense. The bananas themselves look unnatural. I can't find the quote but that are described as being striped. Quite an odd look to them. They seem foreign, processed or something.
It's possible the bananas Gabo is describing are plantains, and plantains have ribs or sections as they are described in the book.

Image

On Mr.Herbert and Mr. Brown below is a quote from Schmoop. Beware, huge spoilers on the page. Mr. Herbert represents the United Fruit Company (or a reasonable facsimile) the point is Gabo just doesn't come out and say it, the inference is there.
Quote:
Perhaps these guys represent the bookends of the colonial/expansionist experience in Latin America as García Márquez sees it.
Mr. Herbert and Mr.Brown

In addition, the fact that these "gringos" have settled on the other side of town in a separate compound, must rile the local population to a great degree.

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But the wine had been too strong for her, as it had for the others; and like the others she had stepped from the safe shores of friendship. She stood now in another country, whose sun burned and whose air was too rare for her breathing. Checkmate


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 8:20 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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DLT wrote:
Naomi, I agree that this book is a hard read on one's own.
Yep. It is a book assigned to undergraduates and graduate students. Some scholars spend years studying and unraveling the book's meaning. It helps to know that GGM was a journalist. It seems most of what he presents are inspired by his personal life and his livelihood. A-C might know more on the subject than I. OHYoS is a difficult read but quite rewarding in understanding the relationship between the North and the South Americas. A great read, one I read for a class, was The Philantropic Ogre by Octavio Paz. I read it over 25 years ago but its ideas have stayed with me. I should re-read it. It's a non-fiction work but one pursuing if this novel is interesting to you. An even greater favorite of mine, which I may have mentioned, is The Labyrinth of Solitude by O. Paz. So worth reading, it being my favored of the two works. So many books...

Anam-Charaid wrote:
It's possible the bananas Gabo is describing are plantains, and plantains have ribs or sections as they are described in the book.
Ok. That would make sense. I pictured as zebras. Thanks again.

I'm wondering if there is more than one translation of the original. I have the translation done by Gregory Rabassa, but I don't know of others. Does everyone have the same translator?

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"'I wish to God,' said Gideon with mild exasperation, 'that you'd talk--just once--in prose like other people.'"
--Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 9:10 pm 
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Here are some pictures of striped bananas compliments of google:
https://www.google.com/search?q=strippe ... ed+bananas


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 9:49 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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The version I have was translated by Rabassa also and it's the same version I had from the library (well, still have since I haven't gotten to the library to return it yet). I'd guess that's the most available version if there are more than one.

Thanks A-C for the info about the gringos and fruit companies and the pics of plantains. Discussing this book is definitely helping me get more out of it than I would have on my own.

Just saw Demetria's post. Thanks for those pics too.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Mon May 01, 2017 10:16 pm 
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NigheanDubh wrote:
Anam-Charaid wrote:
It's possible the bananas Gabo is describing are plantains, and plantains have ribs or sections as they are described in the book.
Ok. That would make sense. I pictured as zebras. Thanks again.

Yes, I pictured the stripes as black lines, and decided that maybe the bananas were over-ripe (hence why he kept eating them.)
These pictures make much more sense.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 8:54 am 
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Clan Fraser
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Demetria, great images. Thank you. :clap:

NigheanDubh wrote:
I'm wondering if there is more than one translation of the original. I have the translation done by Gregory Rabassa, but I don't know of others. Does everyone have the same translator?
ND, Gregory Rabassa is the sole translator of 100 years. :D Great article about the challenges a translator encounters. NY Times

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But the wine had been too strong for her, as it had for the others; and like the others she had stepped from the safe shores of friendship. She stood now in another country, whose sun burned and whose air was too rare for her breathing. Checkmate


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 3:17 pm 
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Thanks for that article. It was fascinating. I feel that a good translator makes a huge difference. With a less skilled translator the book wouldn't have been nearly as good. I've done a little translation work between French and English and I hate it - it's really difficult and not very rewarding. Years ago I wanted to be a translator and my father talked me out of it - something I've never regretted. A friend of mine is a professional translator of Russian poetry and is also a poet in his own right. You can't do it any other way.

I read one book by Mario Vargas Llosa that I really liked. In Spanish it's called "Travesuras de la niña mala" but I read it translated into French. I don't know if it's been translated to English. I tried two other books by him but put them down again disappointed.

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Da mi basia mille, deinde centum, dein mille altera, dein secunda centum, deinde usque altera mille, deinde centum.

Donne-moi mille baisers, et puis cent, et puis mille autres, puis une seconde fois cent, puis encore mille autres, puis cent.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ : 100 Years of Solitude - Ch 12
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 3:28 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Interesting discussion. I read a biography by Lucia Graves (daughter of Robert Graves and translator of many Spanish works, including those by by Carlos Ruiz Zafón) where she talked about the difficulty of choosing the exact word when translating. She described trying to find the right word for describing a particular type of wine glass such that it would convey the same meaning in English as it did in Spanish. It sounded exhausting and I felt grateful that my language skills are not good enough to translate anything formally!


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