Character Analysis Úrsula Buendía


In addition, Úrsula is calm when the Colonel's seventeen bastard sons arrive at her house, and she shows no emotion when they are systematically executed. At heart, Úrsula is always loyal and tender, just as she is proud and principled. She hides the gold discovered in her house (in the plaster statue of St. Joseph), planning to return it to its rightful owner if he should ever return. Her children would gladly use this wealth; they need it, and she herself wants to finance José Arcadio V's education so that he can become Pope. But she made up her mind not to use the money when she hid the money, and she will not relent.

At the age of a hundred, Úrsula goes blind. She has memorized sounds, smells, and distances, however, and by memorizing everything, she is able to disguise her affliction until well into the third generation; and she still has her keen insight into character. Only Úrsula recognized that the Colonel was driven to his reckless adventures by "fear"; only Úrsula really appreciates the quiet courage of Fernanda, and the seriousness of the incestuous nature of the relationship between Aureliano José and Amaranta, his aunt.

Slowly, Úrsula metamorphoses into a kind of gnarled, decrepit doll for the children's amusement. She shrinks into a timeless state, confusing the past for the present to such an extent that she believes that her great-grandmother, Petronila Iguarán, has once again died. The children, Aureliano and Amaranta Úrsula, participate in her confusion by describing the presence of imaginary relations long dead. Totally blind, Úrsula converses with these imaginary persons as if they were actually there: "She finally mixes up the past with the present in such a way that in the two or three waves of lucidity that she had before she died, no one knew for certain whether she was speaking about what she felt or what she remembered." Yet, she persists in doing household chores throughout (1) the rainstorm that was "unleashed" by Mr. Brown, (2) the Banana Company massacre, and (3) the strikes and executions.

Before her death, Úrsula shrinks into a fetus shape that resembles "a cherry raisin lost inside of her nightgown." She is found dead on Good Friday morning, but no one is certain of her age, whether she is one hundred and fifteen or one hundred and twenty-two. At her death, the plague of dead birds begins.

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