1. Talk about the role the ghost of Melquíades plays in the lives of all the Buendías that he continues to visit after he dies—especially Aureliano Segundo and Aureliano (II). Link this with the "traffic of the dead" that passes through Macondo. What do the ghosts have in common?
2. Spend some time thinking about all the different kinds of love that exist in the novel. Are there loves that seem to transcend the ravages of everyday life, warfare, history, and time itself? What kind of love is the most prevalent?
3. How is old age treated in this novel? Do you feel that a person's place in the Buendía family changes as they grow old? How is their wisdom utilized by the community, and how could it possibly be utilized better? Do you think the characters themselves changed as they aged?
4. Do you feel any of the characters "learn" from their mistakes or heartaches? If so, who and in what ways?
5. The narrator states on page 213, "Remedios the Beauty was not a creature of this world." What sets her apart from the other Buendías? Are there any other literary characters that she reminds you of?
6. Discuss the icons of female beauty and power used throughout the book. In what ways do you consider the female characters to be strong—and similarly, how do they appear weaker or more fragile than the male characters?
7. Talk about the many jubilees, festivals and other kinds of celebration that occur in Macondo. Do there seem to be more of them in these pages than there were at the beginning of the book? If so, why do you think that might be?
8. "The innocent yellow train that was to bring so many ambiguities and certainties, so many pleasant and unpleasant moments, so many changes, calamities, and feelings of nostalgia to Macondo" blows into town on page 239. Put this into context with your general knowledge of progress in Macondo. Did you have a feeling of elation or foreboding when the train/banana company first arrived?
9. Discuss the significance of Úrsula's decision to raise José Arcadio (IV) to be the next Pope. What does this say about her, and why does she do it? What does his "reaction" to his schooling say about him? How do you think it plays into other religious elements in the novel?
10. So far, which character do you connect with most strongly? Name the three things you like about that character most. What do you think this character says about human nature, morality, family, or life in general?
For a deeper understanding, read the chapter explanation!