Summary and Analysis Section 10-12


In other developments, we see the differing characters of the Segundo twins. While Aureliano is withdrawn, José Arcadio IV seems marked with a tragic sign. The latter experiences death and bestiality at an early age; he is said to have mastered black magic, and he introduces the town to its first water transportation — of a fantastic sort: a log raft, pulled by thick ropes by twenty men, carrying a rich group of matrons is hauled through the jungle. In short, José Arcadio IV is outgoing, yet morbid, whereas Aureliano is cautious yet curious. As the novel unfolds, a number of sub-plots achieve their unity of effect. Sixteen of the Colonel's bastard sons are all executed one night. They are found shot through the indelible crosses of pre-Lenten ashes on their foreheads. Two of the sons were responsible for bringing the first train to Macondo, a yellow train resembling a "kitchen dragging a village behind it." The railroad opens Macondo up to Yankee imperialism. The train service also brings modern technology with all its ability to remove "where the limits of reality lay."

Macondo assumes the hustle and bustle of a boom town. Bruno Crespi, the brother of the dead pianola expert, Pietro Crespi, introduces a cinema into Macondo, and it is met by disbelief. The townspeople cannot understand how an actor dies in one film and reappears again in another. For all of the humor and nonsense, albeit highly imaginative nonsense, preceding this development, however, we now enter into the novel's tragic, somber phase. Two Yankees, Mr. Herbert and Mr. Jack Brown, arrive in Macondo to set up a banana company. Macondo's history is now presented to us as a vast synthesis of all the socio-economic evils that have plagued the southern hemisphere. But the novel's tempered concerns are only in a symbolic sense historical. There are no dates nor chronology. Fantasy, moreover, confounds any real sense of linear time. There is a compelling logic to events that defies true chronology. For example, it is "only logical" that the indelible crosses on the Colonel's bastard sons will predestine their deaths. Thus, the absence of a historical linear time span enables the creation of fictional reality — the bastards will die forever in the same way for each reader.

Satire is never absent in the fiction of García Márquez. As an example, Remedios the Beauty is described in terms that make her resemble the Virgin Mary. Her beauty is the stuff of legends. Yet she causes the bloody deaths of at least four men before she herself ascends to heaven in waving folds of Fernanda's "brabant sheets." Such details are exaggerated as much for scorn as for ironic effect.

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