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She enters the novel as the mistress of José Arcadio Segundo, who Aureliano Segundo soon steals. Petra Cotes and Aureliano Segundo's love affair seems to inspire animals to procreate and they become extremely rich. Although she is his mistress and has to endure long periods of neglect and poverty caused by the flood, she stays committed to Aureliano Segundo. Their passionate love affair becomes tender in the second half of their lives and they look upon Fernanda del Carpio as the daughter they never had.

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