One Hundred Years of Solitude Summary

One Hundred Years Of Solitude Summary
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One Hundred Years of Solitude is a masterpiece by the Colombian author Gabriel García Márquez, who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature. He wrote this novel during his first visit to Mexico in 1967.

Gabriel García Márquez presents the town of Aracataca, where he spent his childhood, under the fictional name “Macondo” with a fantastical narrative. Márquez explained his purpose as “leaving behind the days of childhood through artistic expression.” One Hundred Years of Solitude is considered one of the most important works of the magical realism movement.

Summary Of One Hundred Years of Solitude

In “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” Úrsula Iguarán and José Arcadio Buendía leave the city of Riohacha, Colombia, to build a new home. While sleeping by a river, José Arcadio Buendía dreams of Macondo, a town made of mirrors, and decides that the place they are sleeping should be where they establish it.

As the Buendía family grows, José Arcadio Buendía oversees the construction of the village. Their sons, José Arcadio (I) and Aureliano (later known as Colonel Aureliano Buendía), are either born in Macondo or arrive there with the family. Gypsies regularly visit to show the townspeople inventions like magnifying glasses, magnets, and flying carpets. The leader of the gypsies, Melquíades, shares a prophecy written in code with José Arcadio Buendía, captivating him and leading him to become particularly interested in alchemy.

Before these events, the story returns to the time before José Arcadio Buendía and Úrsula Iguarán left Riohacha. As cousins, they are warned that their children might suffer from genetic defects (one ancestor had given birth to a child with a pig’s tail). Hesitant to consummate their marriage, rumors spread, and José Arcadio Buendía kills a man named Prudencio Aguilar who mocks him for being impotent.

In “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” moving forward in time, the gypsies come to show José Arcadio Buendía a block of ice, which fascinates him. His grown son José Arcadio (now a young man) is seduced by a fortune teller, Pilar Ternera, and impregnates her, but he leaves with the gypsies shortly after. Úrsula gives birth to their daughter Amaranta and returns home to discover a shortcut between Macondo and civilization.

Pilar Ternera gives birth to José Arcadio’s son, Arcadio, and the Buendía family adopts a sleepless orphan girl named Rebeca. This leads to an infectious insomnia disease that causes forgetfulness, affecting the entire town. Melquíades cures the disease with the invention of photography. José Arcadio Buendía tries to capture a photo of God using the technology but fails, and his son Aureliano learns silverworking from Melquíades. A representative of the central government, Don Apolinar Moscote, arrives in Macondo, which was previously independent, and José Arcadio Buendía challenges his authority, partially taking over his power. Despite being enemies of the Moscote family, Aureliano falls in love with the youngest Moscote daughter, Remedios.

While waiting for his fiancée to mature, Aureliano also sleeps with Pilar Ternera. Meanwhile, the Buendía daughters, Amaranta and Rebeca, fall in love with the Italian pianola specialist Pietro Crespi, hired to give them dance lessons. Crespi chooses Rebeca, and Amaranta vows to sabotage their wedding. Melquíades dies of old age, and José Arcadio Buendía’s obsession with the secrets of the world drives him mad. Believing every day is the same as the previous one, he ties himself to a tree.

Remedios and Aureliano marry, but Amaranta disrupts Pietro Crespi and Rebeca’s wedding scheduled for the same day. Shortly after, Remedios dies while pregnant with twins. The eldest son, José Arcadio (who had run away with the gypsies), returns, and Rebeca cannot resist her attraction to him, leading to their marriage. Úrsula expels them from the house. Aureliano becomes involved with the Liberal side, leading an uprising in town and later fighting elsewhere, becoming known as Colonel Aureliano Buendía.

After a victory, Arcadio takes charge of the town, but he quickly becomes a dictator. Arcadio attempts to sleep with Pilar Ternera, who knows he is her son, so she sends Santa Sofía de la Piedad in her place. Arcadio marries her, and they have a daughter named Remedios the Beauty. When the Liberal party loses the war, Arcadio is executed by firing squad. Pietro Crespi proposes to Amaranta, but despite loving him, she rejects his proposal. Crespi commits suicide, and Amaranta burns her hand as self-punishment, wrapping it in a black bandage for life.

One Hundred Years of Solitude Summary

Colonel Aureliano Buendía and Colonel Gerineldo Márquez are sentenced to be executed by firing squad, but José Arcadio prevents the execution at the last moment, and Colonel Aureliano Buendía returns to war. Eventually, the official Liberal party abandons him for his radical actions, and realizing he fights not for ideals but for pride, he leaves the army.

Santa Sofía de la Piedad gives birth to twins, naming them José Arcadio Segundo and Aureliano Segundo. Known for his bold final acts, José Arcadio is murdered, and his widow Rebeca becomes a hermit. Colonel Gerineldo Márquez continues to govern the town and declares his love for Amaranta, who rejects him. Finally, José Arcadio Buendía dies tied to a tree, and the sky rains yellow flowers.

Aureliano José, the son of José Arcadio and Pilar Ternera, grows up and becomes infatuated with his aunt Amaranta. They lie naked together but dare not consummate their feelings. As she insists they stay apart, he decides to serve in the army and deserts just before an armistice is signed. Returning home to declare his desire to be with Amaranta, he is killed by a Conservative soldier.

Colonel Aureliano Buendía’s seventeen sons arrive in Macondo upon learning of a prophecy written in Sanskrit, predicting it will be deciphered in a hundred years. He is tricked into signing a peace agreement reluctantly accepted by the Liberal party. Trying to return to war, he attempts suicide.

Surviving his suicide attempt, Colonel Aureliano Buendía locks himself in his workshop, making goldfish. The twins sleep with the same woman, but Aureliano Segundo’s relationship with Petra Cotes endures, making their cattle incredibly fertile. José Arcadio brings a boat to Macondo via the river, celebrated with a carnival where Amaranta Úrsula is crowned queen, leading to a conflict with another queen, Fernanda del Carpio, causing chaos and death among the crowd.

In “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” the story continues with a flashback showing Fernanda del Carpio’s upbringing in a declining noble family, leading to unrealistic expectations in life. After the carnival, Aureliano Segundo marries Amaranta Úrsula, but their characters clash, and Aureliano Segundo continues his relationship with Petra Cotes. Fernanda del Carpio and Aureliano Segundo have two children: Meme and José Arcadio (II). On the anniversary of the armistice, the seventeen Aurelianos return and receive a permanent mark on their foreheads for Ash Wednesday. Aureliano Triste and Aureliano Centeno decide to stay in Macondo to build an ice factory and a railway connecting Macondo to the outside world.

With the arrival of the train, modern technologies and foreign investors come to the town, establishing a banana plantation across the river. Remedios the Beauty remains oblivious to the happenings in town and unaware of the deadly effect her beauty has on men. One day, she ascends to heaven and is never seen again. Colonel Aureliano Buendía is stunned by the changes in the town and threatens to start a war to return Macondo to its original state, planning to use his seventeen sons as his army, but assassins kill all but one of his sons.

Úrsula gradually goes blind but hides it well, knowing people’s habits so well. When José Arcadio and Meme go to school, Aureliano Segundo takes care of Amaranta Úrsula and little Aureliano. All the animals die in a flood that lasts almost five years. Úrsula starts digging around the farm for hidden gold coins. After the flood ends, Macondo is in ruins.

In “One Hundred Years of Solitude,” Úrsula finally leaves her bed and dies at 120 years old, followed shortly by the forgotten Rebeca. Aureliano Segundo begins to lose weight rapidly and rushes to earn the money needed to send Amaranta Úrsula to school in Brussels. José Arcadio Segundo hides in Melquíades’ old room, trying to decipher the manuscripts.

The rain continues for nearly five years. Aureliano Segundo, trapped in the house, takes care of Amaranta Úrsula and little Aureliano. All the animals in Macondo die in the flood. Fernanda writes letters to “Invisible Doctors” seeking treatment for a uterine disease. Amaranta Úrsula and her husband Gastón have a daughter while Gastón is away on business, and she orders him never to return.

The Catalonian bookseller and Aureliano’s friends leave Macondo. The Buendía house is destroyed by a swarm of red ants. Aureliano and Amaranta Úrsula have a child, named Aureliano, but as feared by Úrsula years ago, he is born with a pig’s tail. Amaranta Úrsula dies shortly after giving birth. Aureliano neglects their baby, who is eventually devoured by ants. Aureliano finally deciphers Melquíades’ prophecies, revealing the history of the Buendía family. As he reads, a hurricane destroys Macondo.

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