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The son of Arcadio (José Arcadio III) and Santa Sofía de la Piedad, José Arcadio Segundo may have been switched at birth with his twin brother, Aureliano Segundo. Appalled when he witnesses an execution at an early age, José Arcadio Segundo becomes thin, bony, solitary, and increasingly scholarly, like his great-uncle Colonel Aureliano Buendía. Much to his great-grandmother's chagrin, he raises roosters for cockfighting at (his grandmother) Pilar Ternera's house. He finds purpose in leading the strikers against the Banana Company and is the lone survivor of the massacre. When he finds that nobody believes the massacre occurred, he secludes himself in Melquíades' old study, trying to decipher the old prophecies and preserving the memory of the massacre.

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