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 Post subject: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 18
PostPosted: Sun Jun 11, 2017 8:33 pm 
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100 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. :bagpipe:

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 18
“Aureliano did not leave Melquiades' room for a long time."

This is another long chapter in which a lot happens, and a long time passes too. It's mostly about the youngest Aureliano. This is little Aureliano Buendia, Meme's son with Mauricio Babilonia. Which means he is Aureliano Segundo's and Fernanda's grandson, and Santa Sofia de la Piedad's and Arcadio's great grandson. When the chapter starts he's the only male in the house and there are only two other inhabitants, Fernanda and Santa Sofia. Santa Sofia is the one who takes care of him, feeding him, clothing him, and even making sure he shaves when he's old enough to do that, but she never learns this is her great grandson. He's never been outside the house. He spends his time studying the English encyclopedia and Melquiades' manuscripts, which he discovers are written in Sanscrit. He talks to Melquiades who tells him he needs certain books and exactly where to find them.

We never heard much about Santa Sofia de la Piedad and now we learn that no one ever did. She doesn't say much and never complains. Fernanda thinks she is a cleaning woman. It's Petra Cotes, of all people, someone she never meets, who makes sure she has shoes to wear. She can't keep up with the house cleaning and being her children are all dead now, she leaves.

We are left with just Fernanda and Aureliano in the house. Fernanda can't even make coffee, so he takes care of making food (which Petra Cotes sends) and all she does is clean her room and write lies to her children who are both in Europe (except for Meme who I guess is still with the nuns.) She loses things and ties them down. And one day Aureliano finds her dead.

Months later, José Arcadio, the one who was going to be pope shows up and finds her intact. He sends Aureliano to his room, has a funeral for his mother, and brings children to the house to "play." With the children he finds the gold Ursula hid and with that he remodels the house and gives himself luxuries. One day the "playing" gets out of hand and he kicks the children out and does penance with medieval torture devices. Then he needs to send Aureliano out for medicine. He has only been out twice, once for the books and once for the medicine, and is not attracted or surprised about the world.

Aureliano Amador shows up and they kick him out. He was one of the 17 war children of CAB, who was their father's uncle...no, great uncle, and they didn't know him. He is shot through the ash cross on his forehead right then and there.

The children come in through the bathroom roof, like Mauricio Babilonia used to do, and drown José Arcadio. They take the gold coins.

-In summary, three more family members are dead and another one gone.

-Are you concerned about Aureliano's future?
-Do you think the girls will come back now?
-Were you surprised about José Arcadio? Do you think the author was ahead of his time and criticizing the catholic priesthood for sexual abuse on children?
-What was the point of bringing Aureliano Amador back?
-Fernanda felt liberated after her husband died. Was she ever free?
-The shop keeper gives Arcadio the books for free and tells him the las person to read the books was Isaac the Blindman and that he should be careful. Who was that?
-Do you think the Buendias are getting increasingly solitary?

ETA to make verb tenses a little more consistent


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 18
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 11:33 am 
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Clan Fraser
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Thanks for the summary, Demetria, and for pointing out things that I had missed. How did I ever manage to read this book thirty years ago?

I thought it was so sad that nobody notices Santa Sofia until she is gone, and that Fernanda thought she was a servant. Did Fernanda not ask about the family she married into? I wonder where Santa Sofia went?

Poor Aureliano, being called a bastard by his uncle, and being confined to the house (although that part was no hardship). I guess the sanctimonious uncle does not know how many bastards the family has. So how does Uncle JA know about his bastard nephew if Santa Sofia and Ursula never guessed the relationship?

I wondered about why Uncle JA invited all the children over to play, so thanks for explaining what that was about. I feel sad that the drowned him, and also sad that they took the gold, after all these years of Ursula protecting it. Poor Fernanda would turn in her grave if she knew how her son had turned out.

I feel sorry for Little Aureliano, as he has no companion but Melquiades. He appears to enjoy his solitude, but I think he has been very hard done by, in this family.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 18
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 5:00 pm 
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Ugh. I cringed at JA and the children and wondered, like Demetria, whether GGM was ahead of his time with putting this in the book. I was still sad that they came back and drowned him (!) and stole the gold that Ursula had kept hidden.

It feels like it's all just falling apart. There are fewer people (family members) around and in the house and they are dropping like flies. I agree that Santa Sofia was one we barely got to know and seemed always taken for granted and I wonder where she went.

I had forgotten about Aureliano Amador and was kind of glad to hear of him when he appeared, but I don't know the purpose of having him appear and then get killed immediately. Has someone really been waiting around all this time ready to kill him as soon as he came somewhere he was recognized?

At the end of the chapter, is Aureliano the only person left in the house?

It was very nice of Petra Cotes to continue to take care of them anonymously. She certainly didn't have to do that.

In answer to the question about whether the girls will come back yet, I have to assume that Amaranta Ursula will because the only baby on the family tree that has not yet been born is her son Aureliano, so presumably she'll reappear and have a baby ( and I still wonder if he will be born with a tail since that has been mentioned repeatedly throughout the book - I think again in this chapter - and it hasn't happened yet). I'm not convinced we'll see Meme again, but nothing in this book seems impossible, so who knows.

I kind of feel like with Ursula gone, things are falling apart and I'm about ready to be done with this town and this book. She was my favorite character and I don't feel especially gripped by the few characters remaining.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 18
PostPosted: Mon Jun 12, 2017 8:01 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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I'm not seeing a happy ending, in any case.

Thanks for the summary, Demetria. Nicely done.
This novel is so existential. It seems that all things are pointless. All the examples in this chapter point to a negative outlook on every value: family, faith, learning. There is death, corruption and decay. The house is being overtaken by the land that was there before Macondo was ever established: the red ants, the lizards, the incessant cobwebs, foliage. Everyone is turning savage.

That Aureliano Amador returns to be shot is pointless. Religion is a negative force and diminished by characters like Fernanda. The anticlerical feelings are pretty intense in this chapter.

I imagine Meme will return. What will she make of Aureliano. And what does GGM mean to say with Aureliano's learning of sanskrit to interpret other books? Is the author questioning academics and their rules?

I haven't finished this chapter. I usually go back to reread the original after listening or reading the English. I haven't had much time with the end of the school year. I hope to at least hear the rest of the chapter on my commute.

Quote:
I kind of feel like with Ursula gone, things are falling apart and I'm about ready to be done with this town and this book. She was my favorite character and I don't feel especially gripped by the few characters remaining.
Audio, I'm missing Ursula. She was the center and everyone and everything were satellites around her. Now there is only disorder.
I'm ready to say goodbye to this book. Where is Ursula's ghost? Melquiades keeps returning, why doesn't Ursula make an appearance? It is funny how there is an afterlife, even though there seem to be elements of existentialism. The title itself suggests an existential, pointless existence. Solitude...and then what?
Lots of irony in this chapter

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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 18
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 11:50 am 
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Thanks for the summary Demetria. I'm a bit late finishing the chapter. Last week and last weekend were very busy. Somehow I found this chapter to be an even wierder chapter than the others. We are really slipping away into nothingness.

I agree about Santa Sophia. We never got to know her. I think she was Arcadio's wife but I can't remember why. I too wondered where she went. It's like she just walked off into the swamp to die. This is a very patriarchal family. The women who marry into it don't seem to leave their mark. Pilar Ternera, Santa Sophia, Fernanda: all of them were merely there to further the line by having babies and raising children. Of the women, only the native born Buendias are really of importance. Is that why the house is now really and truly falling apart? I am pretty sure that Amaranta Ursula will come back because, ... well ... otherwise she won't be able to have that last child. I don't think Meme will. There would have to be some way of getting her out of the convent.

That part about José Arcadio and the children - I am sure I didn't understand that at all when I was a kid! I did this time around though. It is a pretty clear criticism of the church, but there are also other things in the book that make fun of excessive catholicism like when we see them dressing the saint dolls like they are idols. The children were the ones who eventually found the gold coins that Ursula had hidden. Obviously they weren't the same ones who left it there, but they were clearly the money's rightful owners. What could that mean? Does it say anything about the church?

On other notes, I picked up a lot of details regarding Aureliano. Melquiades told him that the parchments could be deciphered when they became one hundred years old and that this time was approaching. This is the first clue that Ursula's 100+ years were not the century referred to in the title. But we don't know when Melquiades made those parchments, or do we? So it would seem that Aureliano's purpose is to be the one who deciphers them. So there were more references to yellow in this chapter: the yellow flowers that broke through the cement porch, a sunflower opal that José Arcadio wore on his finger, and the yellow light that showed where the money was hidden. I wondered if this was some heritage from his father Mauricio Babilonia. In fact, going back to the patriarchy theory, Mauricio had the same outsider position as the wives did that married into the family. So Aureliano's birth is different from everyone else's cause he is a Buendia because of his mother. José Arcadio should have been his father but instead he was groomed to be a priest and turned out gay as an apparent consequence. Aureliano's relationship with his uncle was almost like what it would have been if he had been his father instead. And they were both alone together, since that solitary nature was mentioned again and again.

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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: One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 18
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 4:16 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Quote:
I imagine Meme will return. What will she make of Aureliano.

oops. I think I wrote Meme but I meant Amarantha Ursula.

Nice post Naomi, with references to look for. I still have to finish the chapter before the next one comes along.

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--Game of Kings


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 18
PostPosted: Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:10 pm 
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Naomi, yes, it is the patriarchal family in a patriarchal society, but I disagree that the women who marry into it don't leave a mark. Pilar Ternera never married into it, but still, she had a lot of influence. That's the case for Petra Cotes as well. Then we have little Remedios, whose picture was kept with a candle as if she was a saint. She never had surviving children and was too young to raise any even though she was supposed to be raising Aureliano José. Rebeca married a Buendia but she had already been accepted into the family, so I guess she doesn't count. But Santa Sofia, besides raising children and cleaning house, she helped Ursula with the business. If it wasn't for that business I don't believe there would have been a family or a house.

To remind you :) Santa Sofia was paid by Piar Ternera to sleep with Arcadio, who was her son. I'm not even sure if they ever got married. I guess they did.

I was thinking what marks the men leave, and other than JAB leaving the town (which is desintegrating) and CAB the treaty (which was never really what was meant to be) I don't see which of the others left something important, other than children.

I think Fernanda left more of a mark than most of them.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 18
PostPosted: Wed Jun 14, 2017 1:24 am 
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I see what you mean Demetria. You may be right and I saw it backwards. Thanks for the argument.

Speaking of Pilar Ternera, we haven't yet heard of her death - which would make her the oldest living family member now - and probably over 100.

Fernanda, on the other hand, she was the beginning of the end I think. She left a destructive mark, I think.

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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: One Hundred Years of Solitude Chapter 18
PostPosted: Fri Jun 16, 2017 11:51 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Thank you for thorough summary Demetria.

I finally finished reading Chapter 18 and was sad about the new round of deaths. As Naomi noticed, several references to the color yellow are included in this chapter, including the "yellowed sheets" of the parchments Aureliano was preparing to destroy (p. 399 HarperPerennial pb), and "The second view of the deserted town, barely illuminated by the yellow bulbs of the street lights . . . " (p. 401 pb). The strangest reference to the color yellow is the yellowed ermine cape that Fernanda wore at the end.

It was interesting how Fernanda was described and her "need to feel sad was becoming a vice as the years eroded her. She became human in her solitude (p. 392). Once she dies and Jose Arcadio returns, the house is "filled up with the fragrance of the toilet water that Ursula used to splash on him when he was a child in order to find him in the shadows" (p. 393). Did he still wear the fragrance or does its presence suggest Ursula is also present in spirit.

DLT, upon returning home Jose Arcadio read the long letter in which Fernanda had "unburdened her heart of the numerous truths that she had hidden for him" (p. 393-395). This is how he learned about his nephew and Aureliano's identity.

Two chapters to go!

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