The Campaigner

The Campaigner

of the madonna/whore dichotomy of the Latin American Of course, just as Marquez idealizes the one, he

woman; she is the real self which would come to light idealizes the other. He paints Ursula as the incessantly

were the madonna facade (Ursula) to be snatched aside, driving, madonna with (in her later life) the righteous

This is no extraordinary or otherwise unfair statement. A uplifted arm of an archangel. Pilar he endows with all

woman, since she is after all a person, cannot possibly the qualities he would have wished to see in the real

conform in her deepest inner life to any forced saintly mother, with warmth, patience, understanding and, not

image. The more tbrcefully society pressures her into insignificantly, sexual passion. She is correspondingly

presenting a smooth, pure outer covering (Madonna-- the perennial kind-hearted whore. The whore is the

persona), the more correspondingly hideous must the underside of the madonna, and Pilar reveals the truth

truth (whore) hidden beneath. Marquez, generally about the feelings involved in (especially) this mother

unable as he is to delve into the truth about women, relationship. It is because she is the counterpart of

cannot of course be expected to recognize this fact in any Ursula that Ursula's sons are so drawn to her sexually.

explicit form. Nonetheless he is a consistently perceptive Ursula lives for the survival of her family; that is her

enough artist that he includes all the necessary facts and purpose and only wish. Moreover, she disavows the

indications within his book in so clear a fashion that the importance and, implicitly, the existence, of any world

reader has no difficulty in readily putting these together outside the family. The kind of possessive domination of

to torm a coherent composite, and so reveal what her family which results makes her sons incapable of

Marquez cannot let himself see. relating to women outside the family because these are

Pilar, along with Ursula, is one of the founding seen as one with the unreality of the outside world.

members of the town of Macondo. She also shares, along Hence in the incestuous relationship which her family

with Ursula, the credit for being mother to a portion of shares with Ursula. It is only to preserve the niceties of

the Buendia clan. This fact, however, is never admitted the situation that Pilar is substituted. By using the ruse

to the children or to Ursula, who adopts them, for Pilar of presenting the two halves of Ursula's personality

is not of the "upper class." She is a poor fortune teller, embodied in two separate persons, Marquez hides the

and therefore the origin of her sons is kept secret. She truth he dares not face.

sleeps with successive generations of Buendia men who We shall return to Ursula later when we discuss the

are always drawn to her for some unexplainable reason nature of the so-called "city" of Macondo itself. For the

having usually to do with the odor permeating her body. moment we will examine Marquez' treatment of some of

She also shares another distinction with Ursula: the other women in the Buendia family, thus sub-

Marquez has as difficult a time allowing her to die as he stantiating and examining our contention that women

does with the former, and Pilar too outlives generations are the mediators of bourgeois ideology.*

of her descendants. The women of Macondo (the Buendia family) are

Pilar has a deep understanding of the repeating without exception consumate sadists. We shall briefly

patterns of the Buendia family; she can tell them their look at three of them: Amaranta, Rebecca, and

fortune without needing to resort to her cards. Ursula, Remedios, "the Beautiful."

too, had had this kind of understanding of her family, Amaranta is Ursula's daughter. Marquez describes

such that she had been able to keep from them the fact her as a passionate woman, and potentially exceedingly

that she was blind because, knowing the pattern of their loving. Nonetheless, all her relationships with men are

movements so well, she seemed to be able to see them disastrous. First, she is in love with the effeminate Pietro

and their actions. Crespi. Pietro is in love with Rebecca. Through the most

Indeed, Pilar's ties to the family and her importance to elaborate ploys (including murder plans) she manages to

their destiny is in a sense deeper than Ursula's. Ursula postpone their wedding until Rebecca tires and leaves

had cared for their bodies, their well being. But to Pilar Pietro for someone else. Now, when the road is clear for

had fallen the duty of caring for their inner selves. Amaranta to marry Pietro (who soon comes to love her),

Ursula was the "outside" mother, she the "insi_ie." she leads him on only to reject him the more sadistically.

Thus, her death signals the beginning of the end for Pietro correspondingly commits suicide. Amaranta

Macondo and the Buendias. Marquez says of her death: purposely burns her hand savagely on the stove upon

"It was the end. In the tomb of Pilaf Ternera, between hearing of his death. She hates what she has done, but is

the psalms of whores, the ruins of the past were rotting." unable to understand or change her behavior.

The very language Marquez employs in describing Pilar

is more emotionally charged than that used for Ursula,

* This is why her son Jose Arcadio sleeps with Pilar and tries

the cold, respectable woman. They are the com- to imagine her face in the dark, only to find the image of his

plementary halves of the same person, mother Ursula engraved in his mind.


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