Rebeca's Hidden Chapter
English IB 11
I wrote a 'hidden chapter' that fits into One Hundred Years of Solitude on page 135, explaining what happened when José Arcadio (II) died. I have tried to include some of the Garcia-Marquez cyclic ideas, though it is still early in the book. One is an idea of a non-consensual physical relationship. Though Rebeca seemed happy with José Arcadio when she first meets him, here I have made it so that she is terrified of the idea of incest. Another cyclic event I have tried to include is the terror of the pig's tail, which occurs repeatedly in the Buendía females. At one point, earlier in the book, it is said that Rebeca was the only one with any sense, but here I have changed her to make it easier to imitate Garcia-Marquez's style. Her incest has brought about a certain amount of fear in her that had not been there before. My intent with this was to show that everyone in that family was destined to repeat the mistakes of the others, no matter how hard they tried to be, or seemed, different.
I have also included some examples of magical realism. My intent here was to show that the baby possessed Rebeca, using its strange power to make her do things she would not usually do. That is why, in this hidden chapter, she kills her husband who she has always loved in the past. The way she kills José Arcadio shows magical realism as well. She uses magic, which explains why there is not a mark on him when he is found and the smell of powder that refuses to go away. This is shown through the charred fingers and the growing power I refer to.
I have tried to use some Garcia-Marquez like writing. The metaphor of the blood in Arcadio's ear being like a flower fits with the way he mixes death in with beauty at times, and also disguises the truth of the matter the same way he did when he showed Colonial Aureliano's death only by the swooping of vultures and with how he represented the Banana Company Strike. Another thing I have done is tried to mimic his long sentences and paragraphs, which was more difficult than expected.
I think doing this helps me understand the book better because it forces me to look at certain areas and realize how difficult it was for Gabriel Garcia-Marquez to work the cycles as well as helping me to look at the actual cycles themselves. Also, it is good to see how much effort goes into his style of writing.
As soon as José Arcadio closed the bedroom door the sound of a pistol shot echoed through the house. [Page 135.]
In the middle of a room that managed to spin without moving, Rebeca stared down at the bloody body of her husband and shrieked. Her horror was not at what she had done but at the fact that she couldn't remember having done anything, for one minute she had risen to greet her husband with a smile and the next she had been standing over him with her hands raised as the smell of powder wafted up to tickle at her nostrils. It was a smell that seeped into every pore of her body, every fiber of her clothing and every corner of her house. It was a smell that she had grown to hate after that moment, and a smell that made her tremble with the memories and uncertainty. She had killed her husband without killing him and there was no blood on her hands, only imprinted on her soul. Perhaps if Rebeca had been able to remember what had happened in those lost moments she would have been able to expel this fear, to return to some semblance of the way things were, but she could not. Instinctively, she knew it had something to do with the child inside of her, the half developed fetus that kicked at her sides with the fearsome strength of his father, the child that she had never wanted, for despite her apparent good sense she had a hereditary fear that it would be born with a pig's tail that would end up killing them both. The Buendía curse had caught her up with her incest and had forced the horrifying thought into her mind where it ate up any possible love she could have had for the baby.
Rebeca had been certain that the child should not be conceived, deep down in her bones. She knew it would be a boy just like his father and his grandfather, and she would have to name it Arcadio. She had done everything she could think of to prevent herself from becoming pregnant, but in the end it had come to nothing. José Arcadio had joined up with Fate to produce what was expected of him, despite his wife's wishes, and the seed had sprouted. The idea of killing it was out of the question, Rebeca believed, and she did not even surface the question - but she was terrified because she could feel the tail growing, and it was powerful.
At the moment she stared down at the blood blossoming in her husband's ear, for some reason her hand slid down to the growing bulge of her abdomen, though she had no logical explanation for this action. Logically she knew that the baby could not have had any strength of its own; but, on the other hand, she felt certain that she felt something urging her into action, sensed a tiny voice whispering in her ears and a slimy power creeping up through her skin.
The man she had loved was sprawled across the floor in the bathroom, dead without ever having been touched. There was a power embodied in the scent of powder, brimstone or sulfur that made her think of horror filled whispers about where the unholy traveled in death. Her fingers ached, like her flesh had been charred - they appeared whole and healthy, if reeking with that same nauseating smell, but Rebeca saw them as being black as the night sky, curled and wrinkled and forever scarred. It was an eternity crammed into a moment before she could nudge the door open with those useless hands and stumble backwards from the corpse. There was poison sitting on the table, the careful amount she had measured out to destroy the atrocity inside of her without killing her. She had intended to take it while her husband was out of the house, but had been too afraid. She was not afraid anymore; there was nothing horrible enough to scare her; she was facing down death and a kind of evil she could not begin to understand. Rebeca drank the poison, chasing it down with whitewash chips and rich earth, all of it feeling like the most natural decision she could make, perhaps the only decision.
Her hands had been clean of blood. To her eyes, curved fingers the gnarly bones of an old woman were blackened but as clean as her conscience. Rebeca has no regrets, no love, no emotions left to feel disgusted as tiny feet began a persistent pounding at her stomach. The baby, her young José Arcadio, wanted to escape from those first bitter tastes of death, but she felt no horror as the hammering and the pain faded to a last exhausted protest and finally came to a halt. She just pulled into the corner of a chair and chewed slowly on her sins.
Her husband never moved; she knew because she watched and she waited for him to get up and walk to her, but he was still. She waited for him even though his chest didn't rise and fall with the effort of breathing, and even though there was a brilliant crimson flower growing in his ear. A trickle of blood came out under the door, crossed the living room, went out into the street, continued on in a straight line across the uneven terraces, went down the steps and climbed over curbs, passed along the street of the Turks, turned a corner to the right and another to the left, made a right angle at the Buendía house, went in under the closed door, crossed through the parlor, hugging the walls so as not to stain the rugs, went on to the other living room, made a wide curve to avoid the dining-room table, went along the porch with the begonias, and passed without being seen under Amaranta's chair as she gave an arithmetic lesson to Aureliano José, and went through the pantry and came out in the kitchen, where Ursula was getting ready to crack thirty-six eggs to make bread. [Page 135.]
Garcia-Marquez, Gabriel. One Hundred Years of Solitude. Harper and Row. New York. 1970. Translator: Gregory Rabassa.