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. 61
62 This inability to guide and control her own acts is responsible for male suicides. Marquez says of her that visible in her next relationship with Colonel Gerineldo "she possessed powers of death," and these powers were Marquez (sic). This too drags on, and although she her frigidity. But he goes on: "Perhaps in order not only comes to feel that she loves him, she is unable to show to win her love but also to exorcise her dangerous her love and, again painfully, refuses his proposals, powers, so primitive and simple an emotion as love Her final "love affair" is with her nephew, Aureliano would have sufficed. But that was the only thing no one Jose, whom she brings up as if she had been his mother, thought of." From approximately the time of the boy's puberty they Exactly. Actual love is precisely the emotion which is spend the nights together naked in bed. This affair is a impossible to the people of Macondo. torture both for her and the boy because in spite of her It is because she cannot love that Remedios, "the own very strong feelings, she again cannot bring herself Beautiful," destroys men, and it is because in childhood to show her love and give up her virginity (symbolic of they were damaged by the pathological condition of her inner, hidden self). Here is another example of the women (their mothers) that the men cannot love and not-so-hidden incestuous nature of the mother/child rescue her from her murderous banality. As with relationship. Needless to say, she ruins the boy's life, and everything else in Macondo, this too is a closed circle for he forever tries to recapture her face as he lies in other which, within its self-prescribed context of bourgeois women's arms. She thus makes him totally impotent, ideology, there is no escape. and with Aureliano Jose we see the truth of the sexual In the light of the above it is a simple matter to see the problems of the mother-dominated Buendia men- essence of Macondo. On the level of symbology it those "extraordinarily endowed," "super machos" (as represents Latin America as a whole. Dig more deeply Marquez himself characterizes them), whose physical and it is still Latin America, but now transformed into a attributes ironically underline their total incapacity to family. It is the family life, controlled by the utterly formulate any human relationship with a woman. They banalized, tortured, alienated women, which is the cannot see the woman for the mother's image stands in fundamental reality, the vantage point determining all the way. action in the outside world. Rebecca, mentioned above, is a foundling raised by Ursula Buendia. She leaves Pietro Crespi for Jose Ar- Marquez on Politics cadio (Ursula's son) with whom she falls passionately "in love" after he rapes her one afternoon. They are both The disastrous results of this incapacity to view reality cast out by the family, and her life after her marriage is in its.own tei-ms free of personal fantasies is most apshrouded in mystery, parent in the political activities of the Buendias. Here it This is another incestuous relationship, even if the two will be sufficient to study one of the "revolutionaries" of are not actually related. After a honeymoon, in which all the family, Colonel Aureliano Buendia, and later the the neighbors complain because of the riotous nature of gringo invasion of Macondo. His moral sense having their sexual relations, Jose Arcadio's body is found one been injured by seeing the Conservatives tampering with day in circumstances where all the evidence points to his ballot boxes, Aureliano sets out to conduct a Liberal murder by Rebecca. The blood flows from his dead body revolution. He goes out into the jungle with no plans and in thread-like fashion down the street and around less idea of what constitutes the theoretical or functional corners back to his mother, where she is cooking in the differences between Conservatives and Liberals. kitchen. Marquez says nothing more about his death, Nonetheless, he goes on to lead thirty two wars -- all of but he makes the nature of the marriage clear by having which he loses. Jose Arcadio's blood flowing home to Mommy even in Inevitably, when the Liberals take temporary control death, of Macondo the atrocities committed under their name Remedios, "the Beautiful," is the quintessence of the at least equal those carried out by the Conservatives, and special sadism of the madonna; she is the madonna pa_ Marquez describes the Liberal government which excellence. She never dies- she rises up into heaven eventually becomes mysteriously established in the (like the Virgin Mary). Remedios is, like Mary, utterly country as utterly indistinguishable from the former pure and utterly beautiful- the embodiment of the Conservative reign. ideal held up to the Latin American woman. She cap- How then explain the "revolutionary" activities of tivates men but cannot understand and relate to their Aureliano Buendia, since he obviously is not motivated "silly" sexual desires. She is consequently the perfect by clear conceptual differences with the existing male destroyer, and indeed her utter coldness is organization of his society?