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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES
Colonel Buendía is also captured and condemned to die. Just before he is to be shot, José Arcadio (II) arrives with a shotgun and rescues the Colonel. The captain who was going to shoot Aureliano joins his army. While the Colonel is away, rumors spread about his fame. Although he still loses most of his battles, some stories proclaim him hero while others proclaim him dead. He is neither.
Úrsula decides that José Arcadio (III) must have meant Remedios, so she baptizes his daughter Remedios. Santa Sofía gives birth to twins five months after José Arcadio (III) is shot, and those sons are named José Arcadio Segundo and Aureliano Segundo.
The one unsolved mystery of Macondo occurs at this time: Rebeca and José Arcadio (II) go home one day and he is shot in the bathroom. No one can believe that it is suicide or that Rebeca kills him, but nothing else makes sense either. After the shot rings out, a river of blood travels through the village straight to Úrsula. She follows the blood to the corpse’s ear, but they cannot find a bullet hole, a weapon, or any trace of gunpowder smell. Rebeca locks herself in her house and the town eventually forgets about her.
A friend of the Colonel, Gerineldo Márquez, asks Amaranta to marry him, but she turns him down as well, saying that she will never marry.
Aureliano sends a message to Úrsula telling her to take care of José Arcadio because he is going to die. The only person who has been with José Arcadio has been Prudencio Aguilar, who would come and visit twice a day, take care of him, clean and feed him, and tell him news of his Aureliano. Úrsula is going one day to José Arcadio’s room and thinks she sees Melquiades. It turns out to be Visitación’s brother, Cataure. José Arcadio dies and a rain of tiny yellow flowers covers the village.
The myth of Aureliano grows: he is rescued from the firing squad and after he leaves Macondo, news of all sorts filters back about him. Much of the news is contradictory or false, but that merely lends to his celebrity and hero status.
The birth of José Arcadio Segundo and Aureliano Segundo represents the second (segundo) pair of brothers with that name. Like their namesakes, their grandfather and great-uncle, they will represent a study in contrasts as well.
With the strange events surrounding the death of José Arcadio (II), the rain of yellow flowers, and the ghostly presence of Prudencio, Macondo exists as a town where the supernatural is natural. The yellow flowers are symbolic of the new life created with the birth of José Arcadio Segundo and Aureliano Segundo, but like all symbols of life within the novel, they are also symbolic of aging and excess.