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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 450

Here are some quotes from No One Writes to the Colonel:

  • "For nearly sixty years—since the end of the last civil war—the colonel had done nothing else but wait. October was one of the few things which arrived." The colonel has spent more than half a century waiting for...

(The entire section contains 784 words.)

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Here are some quotes from No One Writes to the Colonel:

  • "For nearly sixty years—since the end of the last civil war—the colonel had done nothing else but wait. October was one of the few things which arrived." The colonel has spent more than half a century waiting for his pension to arrive, but it never does. In the midst of this stasis, the only thing that is constant is the passage of time and bad weather.
  • "'This burial is a special event,' the colonel said. 'It's the first death from natural causes which we've had in many years.'" The colonel remarks that the funeral he is attending is notable because everyone else has died from political violence over the last several years.
  • "During his reading, he thought about his veteran's pension. Nineteen years before, when Congress passed the law, it took him eight years to prove his claim. Then it took him six more years to get himself included on the rolls. That was the last letter the colonel had received." The colonel has not received the pension promised him, and he has waited an unearthly amount of time trying to collect his pension. He is suspended in a state of waiting in which he lives in constant worry and privation.
  • "'They said they would take it over our dead bodies,' she said. 'They said the rooster didn't belong to us but to the whole town.'" The townspeople threaten to take the rooster if the colonel decides to sell it. The colonel's wife finds out that the townspeople will take it from them, if necessary, because they see the rooster as communal property, which the colonel agrees with.
  • "'Everybody will win with the rooster except us. We're the only ones who don't have a cent to bet.'" The colonel's wife thinks that they risk poverty by keeping the rooster. She feels that they will not benefit from the rooster and that they should not wait on the rooster's earnings. They have already waited an eternity for the colonel's pension, which he has not received.
  • "'And meanwhile what do we eat?' she asked, and seized the colonel by the collar of his flannel night shirt. She shook him hard. It had taken the colonel seventy-five years—the seventy-five years of his life, minute by minute—to reach this moment. He felt pure, explicit, invincible at the moment when he replied: 'Shit.'" In the end, the colonel gives up on waiting. He does not have the answer to when his rooster will pay off or when he will receive his pension. After living for seventy-five years, he decides to give up hope.

Quotes

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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 334

No One Writes to the Colonel is a 1961 work by the Nobel-winning Colombian writer Gabriel García Márquez. It tells the story of an aging veteran—the eponymous "colonel"—of Colombia's 1899 civil war.

Early in the novel, García establishes the colonel's life circumstances with an extended expository. In one section, he describes the veteran's situation caring for his asthmatic wife and how that has impacted his own routine.

Because of his wife's asthma, his white suit was not pressed. So he had to wear the old black suit which since his marriage he used only on special occasions. It took some effort to find it in the bottom of the trunk, wrapped in newspapers and protected against moths with little balls of naphthalene.

García uses elaborate and colorful descriptions to describe his characters. When the colonel goes to see his attorney, García describes him thus:

He was a monumental Negro, with nothing but two canines in his upper jaw. The lawyer put his feet into a pair of wooden-soled slippers and opened the office window on a dusty Pianola with papers stuffed into the compartments where the rolls used to go: clippings from the Official Gazette, pasted into old accounting ledgers, and a jumbled collection of accounting bulletins.

The true import of what can sometimes seem to be a relatively innocuous set of events in the colonel's life is imparted in the closing lines of the book.

It had taken the colonel seventy-five years —the seventy-five years of his life, minute by minute—to reach this moment.

Following are several additional quotes from No One Writes to the Colonel.

  • "Everybody will win with the rooster except us. We're the only ones who don't have a cent to bet."
  • "'I had forgotten,' exclaimed Sabas. 'I always forget that we are under martial law.'"
  • "'The only animal who feeds on human flesh is Sabas,' the doctor said. 'I'm sure
    he'd resell the rooster for the nine hundred pesos.'"
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