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Free Study Guide-100 Years of Solitude by Gabriel Garcia Marquez-Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 4

Summary

The house is remodeled and painted white, with all the extravagances of Europe, including an Italian pianola tuner, Pietro Crespi, so that Amaranta and Rebeca would have a place to receive visitors. Remedios comes to visit the house and Aureliano sees her. After this, Aureliano becomes enamored with her and the house becomes "full of love." Eventually, Aureliano tells his parents that he wants to marry her; her parents’ object concerning her youth (she had not yet reached puberty).

In the middle of all these events, Melquiades dies again. Before he dies, he tells Aureliano to burn mercury in his room for three days because he has discovered immortality. He also finishes a text he is writing on some old parchment.

Pietro Crespi is supposed to marry Rebeca, but Amaranta, when she finds out, threatens to stop the wedding with her dead body, if necessary. Rebeca is terribly unhappy because she knows Amaranta is serious, so she goes to Pilar Ternera who says that she must bury her parents bones if she is ever to be happy.


Prudencio Aguilar finally finds José Arcadio after wandering for years. It turns out that he asked Melquiades who placed a black dot on the map where Macondo is.

Notes

The most significant event in this chapter is Melquiades’ completion of the manuscript. In effect, it is the detailed account of the Buendías life and death; it is also the novel One Hundred Years of Solitude. This places the reader in the position of Aureliano (Babilonia) who translates and deciphers the parchments of Melquiades at the end.

Melquiades dies again, but before he does he states that he has discovered immortality. This is somewhat surprising since he has already shown that he is able to pass from death back into life. Nevertheless, Aureliano burns the mercury and seems to make the room itself immortal: until the very end, this room never gets dusty. We are also told that Melquiades is the one who directs Prudencio to Macondo and José Aguilar. This defines Melquiades not only as the family’s "historian," but also as one who actively directs aspects of their lives: the arrival of Prudencio helps send José Arcadio into madness.

This chapter also presents the beginning of Amaranta’s and Rebeca’s long and bitter feud. This feud is significant because Macondo represents history, both remembered and forgotten. Amaranta and Rebeca do not forget their bitterness, but let it fester and destroy them both. The citizens of Macondo have a tendency to forget the important things in their past, and, it seems, focus on the trivial and divisive.

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