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 Post subject: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude - Ch. 19
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:43 am 
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Clan Fraser
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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.

: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 19
Amaranta Úrsula returned with the first angels of December, driven on a sailor’s breeze, leading her husband by a silk rope tied around his neck.


AU has returned with her Flemish husband, Gaston, who is at least fifteen years her senior and another big dreamer. She keeps him on a lease to assure herself of his faithfulness. The two of them have a passionate relationship, and he is so in love with AU that he allows himself to be led by her on a leash and concedes to live in the Buendiá home, even though he is wealthy enough to live anywhere in the world. AU is determined to live in comfort and reach a peaceful old age in Macondo.

Looking for something to fill his days, Gaston begins to spend time in Melquíades’ room with the shy Aureliano, who informs him that “everything is known.” Aureliano is an avid reader who seems to buy books to verify the truth of his knowledge. Both AU and G. would have wanted to incorporate Aureliano into the family if he had not been such a hermetic man with a cloud of mystery surrounding him.

Around this time, G. conceives the idea of establishing an airmail service in Macondo, especially when he realizes that his wife has no wish to leave her hometown. No one notices how Aureliano’s life has changed since the death of José Arcadio. He has gained his freedom and has started to explore the town. No one recalls his family except for an old West Indies man who speaks Papiamento. In order to quench his increasing attraction to AU, Aureliano loses himself further into the parchments, and eventually begins sleeping with Nigromanta, the old man’s great-granddaughter. This new relationship does little to diminish his growing passion for AU. The trips to the Catalonian’s bookstore help Aureliano control his desire, somewhat. He becomes friends with four men who frequent the shop – Álvaro, Germán, Alfonso, and Gabriel – and who spend their afternoons debating and discussing various topics, and their evenings frolicking in brothels. This arrangement leads Aureliano to have an epiphany – “literature was the best plaything that had ever been invented to make fun of people” (p. 417 Harper Perennial pb). This sounds like the author himself revealing the power he has assumed as a writer.

To Aureliano’s annoyance, no one acknowledges that Colonel Aureliano Buendiá was more than a figment of the government’s imagination, until his new friend Gabriel confirms that CAB had been a companion in arms and good friend of his great-great grandfather, Colonel Gerineldo Márquez. “Aureliano and Gabriel were linked by a kind of complicity based on real facts that no one believed in, and which had affected their lives to the point that both of them found themselves off course in the tide of a world that had ended and of which only the nostalgia remained” (p. 419 pb).

Aureliano is fascinated by his new life and abandons the scrutiny of the parchments just as he is beginning to understand the predictions in the coded lines of poetry. Meanwhile, AU is lonely and begins to visit Aureliano in his study. Aureliano’s initial perception of Gaston as a meek fool on a velocipede is revised when Aureliano gets to know him better and realizes that his true character is the opposite of his submissive conduct. G. “was a man of infinite steadiness, ability, and patience who had set about to conquer his wife with the weariness of eternal agreement” covered in deceit. Aureliano tries to warn AU about G., but she is unconvinced. Instead she begins to finally notice her nephew’s obsession with her. Aureliano reveals his love for her but is rejected. AU calls him a fool and vows to leave immediately for Europe.

Aureliano has a chance meeting with his great-great grandmother, Pilar Ternera, the proprietess who is guarding the zoological brothel, The Golden Child, which he visits with Álvaro. Pilar is 145 years old and has stopped keeping track of her age. She offers Aureliano some advice about AU and tells him that his love is waiting for him. Aureliano takes Pilar at her word and forces himself on AU who succumbs to him during their savage and ceremonious struggle.


There is no shortage of drama in this penultimate chapter. AU has unleashed new havoc on the Buendiá household with her unexpected return and continues the madness where her brother left off. Aureliano is finally free to explore the world around him and partakes in the same pastimes his father, grandfather, and great grandfather participated in before him.

Gaston was a strange character seemingly filled with a sense of disillusionment. Do you agree that he was putting on an act in order to convince AU to leave Macondo? There really was no opportunity for financial advancement in the town and the house was a lost cause.

Lo and behold, Pilar Tenera is still alive and running an exotic brothel. She recognizes her great-great grandson immediately and encourages Aureliano to seek out AU, whose choreographed resistance slowly transforms into desire. It’s still not too late for a tailed baby to be born!

What intrigued you about this chapter?

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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude - Ch. 19
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 11:28 am 
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Clan Fraser
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Thanks for the detailed summary, Lady Jayne, and for pointing out some things that I have missed. (By now, I am thinking that maybe I should read these chapters with my eyes shut, as that might help my understanding!)

I am so glad that Aureliano is getting out of the house and making friends, and putting some of his learning to use. There must be a lot of people still in the town, if the ladies (girls) of the red light district are kept so busy, yet we never see any of the other inhabitants. I had wondered what Aureliano was living off - it seems Fernanda did the family a service, bringing all her elaborate candlesticks to her marital home.

I don't understand Gaston at all. Why would he allow AU to lead him around on a leash? What is the deceit that he is engaged in? Macondo must be a shock to him after Europe. I wonder why AU decided to return here, with no family members left (apart from Aureliano).

So Pilar Ternera is still alive! Is this the first time we have been told a person's age? What is it about Macondo that allows people to live so long?

The scene where Aureliano finally beds AU is quite comical, especially with Gaston next door. I wonder if he suspects anything?


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude - Ch. 19
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 1:19 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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I listened yesterday, so of course I had forgotten (or missed) a bunch of the details. But, I found Gaston kind of perplexing - allowing AU to keep him on a leash but using that as a strategy to convince her to return to Europe. I suppose he's no stranger than many other characters in this book, though.

Part of me was surprised that Pilar Ternera was still alive, but then again, Ursula lived a very long time and so did Rebeca and others, so why not? It was good to hear about her.

I was wondering why so many of the names start with A or G (Aureliano's friends are 2 of each, plus Gaston and Aureliano himself).

As I mentioned last week, I suspect that the last baby will be born with a tail, as you mentioned Lady Jayne, since that's been mentioned so many times and hasn't happened yet and we're getting to the last baby and the last chapter.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude - Ch. 19
PostPosted: Mon Jun 19, 2017 2:36 pm 
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Thanks for the summary LJ and the questions to get the discussion started.
I think that the tail on the last baby seems inevitable by now given the number of times it has been mentioned. I was glad that we saw Pilar Ternera again. It's been a while and I'd been wondering. One thing I find interesting about her: she is, after Ursula, the matriarch of the Buendia family since she is the female ancestor of all the living descendants, yet she has never lived in the house or been openly integrated with the family. I wonder what it means that she has retained her own separate identity as the matron of a house of prostitution.

I didn't understand the leash either. At first I thought it might be simply a necktie but then I realized that I was probably wrong. I really loved the line about AU's future children: "two sons who would be named Rodrigo and Gonzalo, never Aureliano and José Arcadio and a daughter who would be named Virginia and never Remedios." Of course we already know that this won't come true. Another thing that struck me was the part about how AU kept busy resolving problems that she herself created which was a trait reminiscent of Fernanda and yet also of "the hereditary vice of making something just to unmake it." Wow!

The last part that struck me was the section about the cockroaches and how mankind's instinct to kill cockroaches was even more powerful that the instinct to reproduce. That was simply because it was true genius.

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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 - Ch. 19
PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 10:49 am 
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purple diamond member
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I don't know where to start. Thanks, Lady Jayne for the bits I overlooked. It's funny how we all focus on different parts of a chapter. I, for one, forgot everything else when the rape took place. It was a rape, no matter if the point of view of Aureliano makes it read as if she wanted it. I see her not screaming out because this is her last relative (she doesn't know Pilar Ternera and her descendents) and she actually dragged her husband there and kept him there. Why she would want to come back is beyond my comprehension. Didn't she always want to leave? I'll be back with other impressions.


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude - Ch. 19
PostPosted: Tue Jun 20, 2017 8:35 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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Thanks for a wonderful summary, Lady Jayne.
So far this has been a very odd tale. Oh, yes, the tail. I won't be surprised if the last Buendía does have a tail.
I don't know what to add to this. I don't like Gaston and don't trust him. I'm not sure what to make of Amarantha Ursula but she's going back to Belgium. Amarantha Ursula might have known that Aureliano had interest in her.
I'm tired of the brothel houses, though. Sad reality.
I didn't realize that Gerineldo actually was someone's great grandfather.

The only part which I thought was really interesting was how the government refused to acknowledge CAB and folks made him out to be a figment of people's imagination. I'm glad young Gabriel spoke up. I wonder if this Gabriel is representing the author as he (our author) recounts the truth about the banana massacre, the truth about his perspective on Colombia, on Latinamérica in general. The surrealism of the events. The ugly truth or idea of "you can't make this stuff up." The only way our author can tell this story is by couching it in the outrageous.

For those of you who understand Spanish, there is a song (actually a rap) that is performed by Calle 13. it's called Latinoamérica and I use it to introduce my AP Spanish course. It's an amazing song and quite powerful. I love the video.
for the song, click here Notice the people holding photos of loved ones. Those represent the many who disappeared, traceless. :(

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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: One Hundred Years of Solitude - Ch. 19
PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 1:23 am 
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Clan Fraser
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I forgot to mention the pit of shoes that was the only thing left from the people who disappeared. Was this image based on some real-life event?

NigheanDubh wrote:
For those of you who understand Spanish, there is a song (actually a rap) that is performed by Calle 13. it's called Latinoamérica and I use it to introduce my AP Spanish course. It's an amazing song and quite powerful. I love the video.
for the song, click here Notice the people holding photos of loved ones. Those represent the many who disappeared, traceless. :(

Interesting video, NigheanDubh. I'd like to see it in slow motion so as to appreciate the landscapes as they fly by. What is the introductory language?


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 Post subject: Re: CLASSIC READ: One Hundred Years of Solitude - Ch. 19
PostPosted: Wed Jun 21, 2017 2:51 pm 
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Clan Fraser
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DLT wrote:
I forgot to mention the pit of shoes that was the only thing left from the people who disappeared. Was this image based on some real-life event?

NigheanDubh wrote:
For those of you who understand Spanish, there is a song (actually a rap) that is performed by Calle 13. it's called Latinoamérica and I use it to introduce my AP Spanish course. It's an amazing song and quite powerful. I love the video.
for the song, click here Notice the people holding photos of loved ones. Those represent the many who disappeared, traceless. :(

Interesting video, NigheanDubh. I'd like to see it in slow motion so as to appreciate the landscapes as they fly by. What is the introductory language?
Quechua. It's a dialect spoken in Southern Peru by indigenous people also called Quechua.

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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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