One Hundred Years of Solitude
A Note About the Names
One of the themes of One Hundred Years of Solitude is the way history repeats itself in cycles. In this novel, each generation is condemned to repeat the mistakes—and to celebrate the triumphs—of the previous generation. To dramatize this point, García Márquez has given his protagonists, the Buendía family members, a very limited selection of names. One Hundred Years of Solitude spans six generations, and in each generation, the men of the Buendía line are named José Arcadio or Aureliano and the women are named Úrsula, Amaranta, or Remedios. Telling the difference between people who have the same name can sometimes be difficult. To a certain extent, this is to be expected: after all, García Márquez’s point is precisely that human nature does not really change, that the Buendía family is locked into a cycle of repetitions. To preserve a clear notion of the plot progression, however, it is important to pay attention to the full names of the protagonists, which often contain slight distinguishing variations. José Arcadio Buendía, for instance, is a very different character than his son, José Arcadio: although it is true that José Arcadio’s last name is also “Buendía,” he is never referred to, either by García Márquez or in this SparkNote, as anything but “José Arcadio.” And so on.
In cases where two characters are referred to by the exact same name (for instance, Aureliano Segundo’s son is also known as “José Arcadio”), we have added a roman numeral to the character’s name for the sake of clarity, even though that roman numeral does not appear in García Márquez’s book: the second José Arcadio, then, appears as José Arcadio (II). Keep in mind that José Arcadio (II) is not the son of the first José Arcadio; he is merely the second José Arcadio in the book.
The Buendía Family
Read an in-depth analysis of Arcadio.
Characters who are not members of the Buendía Family
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