Love in One Hundred Years of Solitude
The story of the town of Macondo is centered on the Buendia family, which begins with Ursula, Jose, and their kids Aureliano Buendia, Jose Arcadio, and Amaranta. However, nothing can remain the same forever and everything for Amaranta changes when an orphaned girl named Rebeca comes along.
Rebeca arrives one day with a bag her parents’ bones and a note for the Buendias which no one understands. However, she is accepted into the Buendia family as they have no reason to turn her away. Rebeca has strange habits such as eating only dirt, which causes the Buendias to question how she survives. Nevertheless, “She took part in the games of Arcadio and Amaranta, who treated her like an older sister, and…It did not take long for them to consider her another member of the family” (Marquez 47). The entire family accepted Rebeca, but Amaranta was soon impacted greatly by Rebeca’s presence. Amaranta quickly became jealous of the attention which Rebeca was receiving and used her jealousy to try to take Rebeca down and to enjoy the attention which men which she did not love gave her.
From a short time of living with Rebeca, it was brought to everyone’s attention that of the two sisters, Rebeca was the more beautiful of the two. Most people, including the Buendia family, gave much more attention to Rebeca than to Amaranta as Amaranta saw it, breeding jealousy. This became more evident and Amaranta’s jealousy began to show with the introduction of an Italian man by the name of Pietro Crespi. To the two girls, “Pietro Crespi was young and blond, the most handsome and well-mannered man who had ever been seen in Macondo” and they soon became infatuated with him (Marquez 66). The girls made his love a competition, and it soon became unhealthy.
Furthermore, Jose Arcadio Buendia decided that Rebeca would be the one to marry Pietro Crespi and that Amaranta should go on a trip to distract herself. As any girl who was seen as not good enough by her parents for a man would be, Amaranta was extremely upset but “pretended to accept the decision and little by little she recovered from her fevers, but she promised herself that Rebeca would marry only over her dead body” (Marquez 76). This vehement disdain for her sister continued in some form until the day that Amaranta died, as she made it her duty to live a better life than Rebeca. It was obviously an insult to Amaranta that Pietro Crespi had chosen her sister and openly shooed her away as if she did not exist. When Ursula took her on the trip to help her get over the sadness, she said, “Don’t get your hopes up.
Even if they send me to the ends of the earth I’ll find some way of stopping you from getting married, even if I have to kill you” (Marquez 80). Amaranta did try to stop the marriage by sending Pietro a letter telling him that his mother had died so that the wedding would be postponed and by putting mothballs in Rebeca’s wedding dress to ruin it. This deep loathing for someone who was originally so close to her and whom she loved as a sister could only have been brought about by some deeper problem in herself and her self confidence as a person, for hatred which makes one want to kill another does not just begin because of jealousy. Amaranta was most likely hiding something very psychologically tormenting from the rest of the world so that she would not be seen as below anyone else. In a way, however, Amaranta’s twisted plan worked since the wedding was postponed for too long and another man decided that he was to marry Rebeca. Pietro Crespi eventually resorted to asking for Amaranta’s love instead, which she soon replied to with the blatant words “I wouldn’t marry you even if I were dead” (Marquez 119).
For a girl who was so incredibly in love with a man that it made her sick and want to kill the girl he loved, she should have had at least some affection or desire to marry him when he offered. Instead of agreeing to marriage with a man who saw her as his second choice, Amaranta put all of her energy into gaining the love of others for whom she may or may not have had feelings to return. The lack of attention which she received from her family and Pietro Crespi earlier in her life made her almost dependent on attention from men, even if she rejected them. The first after Pietro Crespi was Colonel Gerineldo Marquez, a man who had declared his love for Amaranta before he left for the war and who did not forget about her after. However, “the day on which Colonel Gerineldo Marquez repeated his wish to marry her, she rejected him” and declared that she would marry no one (Marquez 151).
The next man who tried to win her heart was her nephew Aureliano Jose, who was determined to marry Amaranta as well, but to no avail as Gerineldo Marquez again entered her mind. “Amaranta was inwardly pleased in keeping the fire of his devotion alive”, but he did not understand how her mind worked and that she for some reason was never capable of loving a man how he would want to be loved (Marquez 176). She became attached to him, but eventually told him that they should forget about each other, so they both lived in solitude until death. Whether it was because of the lack of attention which was shown to her and therefore the somewhat lack of love which she received from her family beginning with the entrance of Rebeca into the Buendia family’s lives, or because of the neglect of the one Pietro Crespi whom she once loved, Amaranta could never love a man. After deciding to forget about Gerineldo Marquez, she lived in solitude for the rest of her life and never married, dying a virgin. Amaranta still, even towards her death, wanted to outlive her sister for whom she had developed such a hatred, but “at the final moment, however, Amaranta did not feel frustrated, but, on the contrary, free of all bitterness” (Marquez 299).
By realizing the omen of her death, Amaranta was able to release most of the hatred in her life for Rebeca and all of the problems which that hatred had caused in her life. The orphan brought with her many more problems for Amaranta than could ever have been predicted as the lack of thought given to Amaranta led to unhappiness and cruelty in her mind for the remainder of her life.