The Passion

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In my thesis I would like to provide an analysis of the magical realist aspect in the novels of Jeanette Winterson (1959- ). On the analysis of three of her novels – The Passion (1987), Sexing the Cherry (1989) and Gut Symmetries (1997) – I want to prove that the novelist can be ragarded, to a certain degree, a magical realist writer. However, I would not like to typecast Winterson as a pure magical realist, since the scope of her work is too wide, and the term magical realism cannot be applied to all of her novels.

Jeanette Winterson is one of the most influential and renowned representatives of the contemporary British literary scene whose work is firmly embedded in the postmodern tradition, both in the form as well as in the philosophy that speaks through her novels. Since magical realism represents a crucial component of postmodernism, it is not possible to analyze it without taking postmodernism into account. Winterson is an illustrative example of a writer whose work encompasses both these approaches. The elements of both magical realism and postmodernism are integral part of her work and cannot be treated separately.

Winterson’s novel writing is characterized by experiment and the usage of various postmodern devices that also came to be symptomatic of the magical realist technique. The intense awareness of storytelling, emphasis on fantasy and imagination, the use of extremely rich, figurative language in the form of metaphors and similes, pastiche and fragmentation, concern with the notion of time and space and a new, different point of view of these concepts as well as a primary interest in emotional life and sexuality of the characters represent only a limited listing of devices the author applies in her literary work. Still, the magical realism aspect of her work seems to be rather marginalized and would be worth more detailed analysis.

Before the actual analysis of Winterson‘s novels and their magical realist elements I will first trace the features of magical realist writing and define what magical realism is, in what aspects it differs from realism and what kind of magic and reality we, in fact, talk about when referring to magical realism. The novel One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) by Gabriel García Márquez will serve as a main source for the analysis of magical realism in the context of Latin American literature, a birthplace of the genre. The territorial occurrence of this specific genre should also be taken into consideration since the magical realist techniques have spread from its original, Latin American context to other national literatures and developed their own deviations from its former pattern. The thesis will then focus particularly on the context of British literature and the works of prominent British magical realist writers such as Angela Carter and Salman Rushdie, and trace the relations of their writings to that of Gabriel García Márquez. A detailed analysis of Jeanette Winterson’s work will offer a comparison of the features of magical realism as they appear in her novels to those that profess to the magical realist tradition.

The purpose of this thesis is to attempt to answer the question to what extent Jeanette Winterson can be considered a magical realist writer. In so far as it is possible to find the affiliation of her work to magical realist tradition, I will provide an account of features that indicate this affiliation as well as such features that deviate from the traditional conception of magical realism.


What is Magical Realism?

Magical realism has a distinct place among the genres in contemporary world literature. The general popularity of this genre both among the readers and the critics is evident from an inexhaustible number of teoretical works dealing with and attempting to analyze the term.

Many critics and literary theorists are especially critical of the overuse and misuse of the term magical realism and this leads to attempts to find out what characteristics define magical realism. The views of what kind of novel should be ascribed to this particular genre differ to a certain degree. There are also attempts to create new terms and subcategories of the genre in order to cope with the extreme diversity in techniques and features magical realist writers incorporate in their literary works. The example of such a division into categories is Jeanne Delbaere-Garant’s concept of psychic, mythic, and grotesque realism (Zamora, 251-257). Jean Weisgerber devises two types of magical realism: “the ‘scholarly’ type, which “loses itself in art and conjecture to illuminate or construct a speculative universe” and which is mainly the province of European writers, and the mythic or folkloric type, mainly found in Latin America” (Zamora, 165). Another distinction comes from Roberto González Echevarría whose epistemological realism is the one, “in which the marvels stem from an observer’s vision,” and the ontological realism coincides with Carpentier’s lo real maravilloso “in which America is considered to be itself marvelous” (Zamora, 165).

The confusing identification of the genre seems to be the result of the former, close affiliation of magical realism with marginal regions of South America and the Caribbean. Only later on magical realism spread from these regions and penetrated other national literatures. However, the distinctive features of magical realism can be found not only in Latin American region but also in Canadian and English literature as well as on the European continent.

In general, critics tend to agree on a set of features that are characteristic of magical realism. In order to grasp adequately the concept of the genre and define its characteristics the brief history of the term is required.

The term magical realism was firmly established in the 1960s but its origin goes several decades back. It originates with the German art critic Franz Roh, who in his book Nach-Expressionismus. Magischer realismus. Probleme der neusten europäischen Malerai (After Expressionism. Magical Realism: Problems of the Newest European Painting) in 1925 coined the word as an expression for post-expressionist German painting where real forms are combined in a way that do not conform to daily reality. “In later criticism the term has been used to cover various types of paintings in which objects are depicted with photographic naturalism but which, because of paradoxical elements or strange juxtaposition, convey a feeling of unreality, infusing the ordinary with a sense of mystery” (Zamora, 191). With the translation of Franz Roh’s book the term was transported to Latin America and was adopted by other critics who applied the term to certain features in Hispanic literature. One of the first fundamental studies that firmly established the term magical realism as something inherently associated with Latin American literary production was the study “Magical Realism in Spanish American fiction” by Ángel Flores published in the magazine Hispania in 1955. Flores uses the example of the literary work of Franz Kafka as a representative example of magical realism in Europe and considers a great influence of European literature on Latin American fiction. Like for other critics and advocates of magical realism also for Flores photographic realism represents a blind alley (Zamora 111). The beginning of magical realism in Latin America is seen in the novel of Jorge Luis Borges Historia Universal de la infamia (A Universal History of Infamy) (1935). For Flores magical realism is characterized by “transformation of the common and the everyday into the awesome and the unreal” (Zamora, 114) but it also consists in “the amalgamation of realism and fantasy” (Zamora, 112).

Alejo Carpentier, the author who is traditionally considered to be a major representative of magical realism, devised his own term for the form of writing in Spanish American literature – “lo real marvilloso americano” (marvelous American reality). This “Marvelous Real” is for Carpentier typical of Latin Hispanic context and is firmly embedded in the richness of the American continent and its history, mixture of cultures and races and is an integral part of the territory of Latin America. In contrast to Flores, Carpenier is very critical of the European literary tradition and opposes the cliches that are used for capturing magic in the Gothic novel and literature of romanticism. European surrealism too, becomes the aim of Carpentier’s criticism:

…lo real maravilloso americano differed decidedly in spirit and practice from European surrealism. In Latin America, Carpentier argues, the fantastic is not to be discovered by subverting or transcending reality with abstract forms and manufactured combinations of images. Rather, the fantastic inheres in the natural and human realities of time and place, where improbable juxtapositions and marvelous mixtures exist by virtue of Latin America’s varied history, geography, demography, and politics – not by manifesto. (Zamora, 75)
In his famous prologue to the Kingdom of this World Carpentier postulates distinctive features of his marvelous real. For Carpentier the “marvelous begins to be unmistakably marvelous when it arises from an unexpected alteration of reality, from a privileged revelation of reality, an unaccustomed insight that is singularly favoured by the unexpected richness of reality…” (Zamora, 86). He places magical realism in contrast with realism of European literature that attempts to provide almost photographic copies of the surrounding reality: “In magical realism key events have no logical or psychological explanation. The magical realist does not try to copy the surrounding reality (as the realist did) or to wound it (as surrealists did) but to seize the mystery that breathes behind things” (Zamora, 123).

Both magical realism and marvelous real were later confused with each other, mixed up, fused or completely rejected. For example Gabriel Garcia Márquez, the most representative magical realist author, adopted the term magical realism for his own writing and specified the term in greater detail. He shares similar ideas on magic with Alejo Carpentier. Both authors believe that American reality is defined in terms of extraordinary qualities that distinguish American reality from the European one (Lukavská, 28). These qualities, according to Márquez, are part of the American heritage of slaves brought from West Africa. Márquez’s prime function of his literature is to depict the real as magical (Lukavská, 28). Like Carpentier also Márquez is critical of realism in literature. He maintains that realism is “a kind of premeditated literature that offers too static and exclusive vision of reality… A realistic text is hardly a satisfactory mode, much less an accurate presentation of the thing in itself, …because disproportion is part of our reality too” (Zamora, 148). This disproportion reveals itself in occurrences of events which represent reality that is unfamiliar to a common reader accustomed to a realistic mode of literature that is based on logic and on rational thinking typically manifested in Western world culture. Thus magical realist texts show us into the world that Western civilization abandoned with the coming of the age of reason and with an intransigent incursion of science into our lives. The world of superstitions, fortune-tellers, magicians and extraordinary coincidences came back in magical realist literature.

The magic is an integral part and the most significant feature of this literary mode. In magical realist texts we can encounter apparitions and ghosts appearing, supernatural things happening, inanimate objects acquiring qualities of animate beings, people becoming invisible and the like. The distinct quality of the magic in magical realist texts consists in the fact that the magic is treated as a common, matter-of-fact phenomenon and none of the characters seem to be astonished by the existence of the supernatural in their lives. Most critiques tend to accept the feature of depicting the magical as part of our daily reality as a distinct characteristic of magical realism. Magical occurrences become part of everyday life, “…the supernatural … is an ordinary matter, an everyday occurrence – admitted, accepted, and integrated into the rationality and materiality of literary realism” (Zamora, 3).

Though magical aspect of the genre and the way it combines reality and fantasy is perhaps the most prominent one, there are other aspects that tend to be associated with this literary mode. Different critics emphasize different features of magical realism. Theo L. D’Haen in his essay “Magical Realism and Postmodernism. Decentering Privileged Centers” focuses on the aspect of otherness that springs out of the frequent use of magic “which in the colonial novel often functions as the sign of the otherness of non-Western society and civilization” (Zamora, 198). The conflict of different perspectives and different experience is a tangible moment in magical realist texts. The contrast between existing words is often intentionally foregrounded. Traditions, customs, as well as the level of rationality or spirituality vary from place to place. Magical realist texts are built on varying points of view and differing perspectives:

…It tells its stories from the perspective of people who live in our world and experience a different reality from the one we call objective. If there is a ghost in a story of magical realism, the ghost is not a fantasy element but a manifestation of the reality of people who believe in and have "real" experiences of ghosts. Magical realist fiction depicts the real world of people whose reality is different from ours. (Holland)
Magical realists seem to be using lavishly differing degrees of familiarity and the sense of otherness is the outcome. The concept of the “other” is often the result of dealing with cultures or spatial situations that tend to be considered marginal or decentralized in contrast with “privileged centers” that are represented by Western society and civilization. Originally, the sense of otherness stemmed from the culture that was a major producer of magical realist writings – the culture of Latin America and Caribbean. The exoticism of the place, its differing spirituality and sensuality mediated magic in much more attainable way. The problem arises when the magic is taken from the context of decentralized culture and placed to the center. The fact that the concept of magical realism has spread from margins worldwide results in a certain tension and uncertainty of what kind of magic we encounter in literatures that claim being magical realist but lack the spatial demarcation defined by their predecessors. Contemporary literary works of magical realism are frequently built upon differing identity. The sense of otherness is still present but it does not have to be necessarily the outcome of a different culture or a specific spatial situation.

As a tool, magical realism can be used to explore the realities of characters or communities who are outside of the objective mainstream of our culture. It's not just South Americans, Indians, or African slaves who may offer these alternative views. Religious believers for whom the numinous is always present and miracles are right around the corner, believers to whom angels really do appear and to whom God reveals himself directly, they too inhabit a magical realist reality. (Holland)

According to David Mullan this dual perception poses a problem on the concept of magical realism. It becomes problematic when a reader of Western origin starts to view the reality in the text as uncanny and unfamiliar, while a native of that culture finds the events real and thus for him or her the text ceases to depict any sort of magic. Mullan feels that magical realism “is not without validity when applied by Anglo-American critic to Anglo-American writer” (Mullan) since they share similar points of view and thus eliminate the confusion arising from differing perspectives. As for Anglo-American readers he suggests “the temporary disconnection of a westernized way of thinking.”

One of the most detailed analyses of the actual characteristics of the techniques that appear in magical realist texts is Wendy B. Faris’ essay “Schehrezade’s Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction.” Her study is focused on several literary works, among them One Hundred Years of Solitude by Gabriel García Márquez, Salaman Rushdie‘s Midnight‘s Children, Carlos Fuentes‘ Distant Relations, D. M. Thomas‘ The White Hotel and Beloved by Toni Morrison. Faris takes notice of features that recur in these novels and thus attempts to characterize the set of attributes that are distinctive of magical realism.

“An irreducible element of magic” is one of the key attributes that appear in the genre. She views this sort of magic as “something we cannot explain according to the laws of universe as we know them” (Zamora, 167). The world of ancient beliefs and superstitions is an integral part of the genre. The realism in magical realist texts is represented by detailed descriptions of the phenomenal world. Two contradictory understandings of events, the dual possible reading of the texts already mentioned above is also part of Faris’ list. The experiment with the concept of time and space is a common thing. Time moves in circles, forwards and backwards, sometime ceases to progress, events reiterate. Odd, extraordinary coincidences happen quite frequently and these often tend to be ascribed to magical powers. Metafictional dimensions are considered by Faris common in contemporary magical realist literature, as well as the increased focus on language, which manages to combine simultaneously simplicity and complexity and introduce an incredible freshness into literary texts. The language of magical realism differs from the one used in realist text in extensive use of metaphors and in its richness. Faris calls this characteristic “a carnivalesque spirit” in which “language is used extravagantly” (Zamora, 184).

When looking closely at the previous characteristics that apply to magical realist literature one finds out that these features are commonly present in postmodern literature. The experiment in which magical realist texts abound profusely and that can be understood as a way out of an unimaginative, sterile realism is something inherent to postmodern features in literature. The concept of time marked out with temporal disorder, time shifts, time circles and reiteration as well as bizarre coincidences typically occur in postmodernist texts too. Distortion of historical facts and blending of history and fantasy that we also encounter in Márquez is a representative feature of postmodernism in literature. The philosophy that is closely bound with postmodernism can be frequently found in magical realist literature. Rejection of the binarism, rationalism and materialism of contemporary Western society is something that the two modes share. According to Faris the magical realist texts are frequently critical of the established social order and aimed against totalitarian regimes. The friction that is present in the postcolonial order, the friction between those in power and powerless finds its way into both magical realism and postmodernism. The critical aspect of the philosophy behind these concepts is pronounced. Linda Hutcheon views postmodernist writers as “agents provocateurs – taking pot-shots at the culture of which they know they are unavoidably a part but that they still wish to criticize” (Hutcheon, 3). Also Alison Lee in Realism and Power (Postmodern British Fiction) talks about “subversive aspect of postmodern techniques” (Lee, xi). The concept of the “other” is another one the two concepts share. The concern for those who represent the “other” on the ground of race, class, gender or sexual preference is present in both postmodernist and magical realist literatures.

It is clear from the above given examples that magical realism is firmly embedded in the postmodern phenomenon though it enriches the experiment in literature with something extra, something that can only be associated with magical realist literature, and that is the magic that springs from everyday, ordinary reality. Thus magical realism could be considered as one of the modes of postmodernism, integrated in the extremely complex concept of philosophy, culture and lifestyle of the second half of the twentieth century. The fact that magical realist writers tend to be referred to as postmodernist writers too points to the mutual interrelation between postmodernism and magical realism. According to Wendy B. Faris magical realism is an important component of postmodernism: “… the category of magical realism can be profitably extended to characterize a significant body of contemporary narrative in the West, to constitute … a strong current in the stream of postmodernism” (Zamora, 165). Similar view is held by Theo L. D’Haen in his essay “Magical Realism and postmodernism. Decentering Privileged Centers.” – “Magical realism … seems firmly established as part of postmodernism” (194). Also Lois Parkinson Zamora in her “Magical Romance, Magical Realism: Ghosts in U.S. and Latin American Fiction” considers magical realism as “truly postmodern in its rejection of the binarism, rationalism, and reductive materialism of Western modernity and that its counterrealistic conventions are particularly well suited to enlarging and enriching Western ontological understanding” (498). For Jorge Luis Borges Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude represents a supreme example of postmodernism with its “synthesis of straightforwardness and artifice, realism and magic and myth” (Zamora, 199). Márquez’s novel is an immensely helpful resource for understanding what magical realism is for its generally approved status of magical realism and hence the following chapter will be devoted to its analysis in order to look at how the genre manifests itself in the novel writing.
Chapter 1

Magical Realism in One Hundred Years of Solitude

by Gabriel García Márquez

García Márquez’s novel is considered by critics as well as by the author himself a characteristic example of magical realism and as such it will serve as a primary book for the analysis of magical realism.

Gabriel García Márquez (1928 - ) shows us into the world where fiction blends with historical reality. The story of seven generations of the Buendía family and its narrative style reminds of an oral narrative tradition. It uses the language that is characteristic of oral narration and of fairy tales with its simplicity and almost primitive way of storytelling. Though simple in language, it is immensely rich in its imagination and vividness of life depicted. Images of joy and pleasure blend with sorrow and pain of inevitable death but all these are taken as part of a natural course of life. Living and dead beings share their fates on the Earth and everyone takes it as a commonplace that life consists in the beginning of things as well as the end. The eternal circle of life and death is one of the major themes of the novel. In the same way in which Macondo is created out of nothing and wiped out to nothing by a cyclone after one hundred years of existence, also the history of the Buendía family is characterized by the birth of new members and the death of the old ones. Life is shown as an eternal cycle where death is followed by creation of new life.

The plot in García Márquez’s novel does not follow the linear mode of narration but it uses techniques of repetition and prediction like oral storytelling tends to do. Thus we move back and forth in time as characters remember the past events or predict the future ones. A reader is often reminded of what will come further in the book. The execution of Colonel Aureliano Buendía is mentioned several times before the actual event takes place. Anticipation and premonition of future events is a characteristic theme of the novel: “In the family dauguerrotype, the only one that ever existed, Aureliano appeared dressed in black velvet between Amaranta and Rebeca. He had the same languor and the same clairvoyant look that he would have years later as he faces the firing squad” (One Hundred Years of Solitude, 51). Prediciton and the ability to foretell future is common to many characters. Pilar Ternera’s fortune telling from cards represents an ancient tradition also familiar to Western culture. It is, in fact, still a living part of our cultural consciousness but tends to be rejected as a mere superstition. In the same way as Úrsula is able to predict her own death setting the date after the rain stops, also Amaranta clearly states she is going to die in a few days. Fernanada is able to fortell just by looking in Mauricio Babilonia’s face that the man is going to die soon.

Time frequently stops or acquires the quality of an infinite eternity and moves in circles with the repetition of the Buendías‘ fates. It seems as if in Melquíades’ room time ceases to run its course. Though locked and unused for decades it is immune to dust. Cyclical character of time reveals itself in the repetition of people’s deeds and typical modes of their behavior. Things become entrapped in the cycle of life. José Arcadio’s commitment to his family is replaced by periods of madcap devotion to science and new inventions. The house of the Buendía family experiences several cycles of decay and its resurgence. Rebeca’s intervals of eating earth and self-control reflect her present emotional state. Time seems to extend to infinitude. Mauricio Babilonia after being crippled by a bullet never leaves his bed for the rest of his life and his lover Meme will never utter a word after the tragedy that struck Mauricio. Pilar Ternera’s life extends to incredible one hundred and fifty years. The extension of time is reflected in José Arcadio Segundo’s stay in Melquíades’ room. He spends years in the room without leaving it filling all seventy-two chamberpots with excrements. This kind of extremity is characteristic of García Márquez’s narration. The strangeness of these occurrences, which are however possible to happen, leaves us in amazement at how slightly distorted reality can acquire the aura of magic. The rain that lasted for four years, eleven months and two days is another instance of this kind of fusion of reality and improbability. Úrsula herself points out the cyclical character of the events by saying: “I know all this by heart … It’s as if time had turned around and we were back at the beginning” (Márquez, 199).

Somewhat dubious understanding of the facts presented in the novel raises the question of two possible readings. Wendy B. Faris comments on this feature in her essay:

The reader may hesitate between two contradictory understanding of events – and hence experience some unsettling doubts … a reader hesitates between the uncanny, where an event is explainable according to the laws of the natural universe as we know it, and the marvelous, which requires some alternation in those laws… The reader’s primary doubt in most cases is between understanding an event as a character’s hallucination or as a miracle. (Zamora, 171)
The instance of two differing understandings can be frequently encountered in One Hundred Years of Solitude. Thus the scene with a pot of boiling soup that moves itself along the table can be understood in two different ways: either as magic or as Ursula’s hallucination. Later in the novel Ursula witnesses how the milk in a pot turns into a cluster of worms. Also recurrent appearances of ghosts can be, in many instances, ascribed to delusions, however the existence of ghosts seems to be accepted by most of the members of the Buendía family since the apparitions are common thing in Buendías’ household. Interesting is that ghosts in the novel do not arouse feelings of horror as they traditionally do in, for instance, Gothic literature. Characters tend to treat them as harmless apparitions of the alive people they used to know, they talk to them and help them if necessary. Another instance of event that offers two differing interpretations is a soldier looking at José Arcadio Segundo without actually seeing him. It is up to readers whether they will search for a logical explanation or whether they will accept the miracle without further questioning.

There are, however, events, that are quite difficult to explain on the ground of common sense. These occurrences defy all natural laws but are taken as ordinary. When gypsies bring a flying carpet to Macondo, this item becomes one in many among the loads of inventions and becomes a natural part of everyday reality. The flying carpet represents only an entertaining attraction for inhabitants of Macondo and no one shows a mere surprise at its existence. The magical items acquire the same quality as everyday objects and sometimes, common objects as we know them acquire miraculous quality. For example, when ice is brought for the first time to Macondo it provokes an enormous upheaval among the natives, much greater than when flying carpets are introduced. The spontaneity in accepting magic seems to be peculiar to the old Macondo that has not yet been affected by the outside knowledge and rational thinking brought there by gypsies and by scientists. Later in the novel when Aureliano Segundo reads the records of magical occurrences in Melquíades’ parchments and asks Úrsula whether those things really happened she answers that objects like flying carpets really existed but do not any more since “the world is slowly coming to an end” (Márquez, 189). In this remark one can define a wave of nostalgia for the past and the beginnings of the days when the world was young, primitive but extremely rich in its spirituality that has vanished from our lives. One can grasp the implied criticism of the world and a modern society as we know them today bringing a postmodern dimension in the novel. The magic, that tends to be taken for granted at the beginning of the novel, is then, with the extension of rationality, considered more like out of this world matter. Father Nicanor’s ability of levitation after ingestion of hot chocolate is understood as a sign of divinity but still, it is taken more as a spectacle for people rather than the extraordinary act worth a surprise.

The case of thousands tiny yellow flowers that almost bury the whole village also defies the common sense. Going to such extremes is a typical feature of García Márquez’s style:

They fell on the town all through the night in a silent storm, and they covered the roofs and blocked the doors and smothered the animals who slept outdoors. So many flowers fell from the sky that in the morning the streets were carpeted with a compact cushion and they had to clear them away with shovels and rakes so that the funeral procession could pass by. (Márquez, 144)

The ordinary phenomenon that is commonly associated with snow is being distorted here by mere exchange of snow for yellow flowers. This process of slight distortion of reality then invites the feeling of magical, supernatural experience. Thus yellow butterflies preceding Mauricio Babilonia’s presence are another example of an ordinary thing taken to extreme. The butterflies, as well as yellow flowers, appear in extraordinary quantity that is only hard to believe.

Another, no less important feature in which reality acquires miraculous, out of this world quality, is the accentuation of sensual and emotional experience of the protagonists. The ferocity with which Rebeca gorges the damp earth and whitewash scratched off the wall to alleviate anguish of her mind is one of many examples of overwhelming, destructive emotions presented in the novel. The deep, passionate love of José Arcadio to little Remedios is no less strong than Amaranta’s lifelong violent hatred of Rebeca. The ethereal beauty of Remedios the Beauty has ability to kill men who had a chance to catch sight of her gracefulness. Love and sexuality acquire the character of instinctive, sensual experience. The aspect of sexuality is very significant in the novel. Sexuality is shown in its natural - animal, instinctive like quality. The author provides very authentic experience of sexual intercourse intensified by description of bodily sensations, of smells and tastes and fierce passion that accompany erotic scenes. This characteristic draws parallel between magical realism and postmodernism since the aspect of sexuality is highlighted in both these modes.

Similarly, the metafictional dimension of the novel is a traditional devise used frequently in postmodern literature. One Hundred Years of Solitude is a representative example of metafiction in a literary work. The whole novel turns out to be the text written by Melquíades: the text that was written within the novel and with its decipherment the Macondo’s history, as the whole novel, draw to their ends. Only on the very last pages a reader finds out that the text he is reading is in fact the text within another text. This parchment foretells the history that has not happened yet. This brings in an interesting play with the time scheme and provides the novel with another magical element.

In conclusion, it needs to be emphasized that not only magic is the only component of magical realism, however it is decidedly the most significant and primary element of the genre. Furthermore, magical realism encompasses a great range of characteristics and specific features that may apply to other genres. The scope of techniques and means magical realist writers use is extremely wide and varied. However, certain characteristics of the genre can be agreed on. In García Márquez’s One Hundred Years of Solitude the aspect of magic that stems both out of everyday reality as well as from faith and spirituality of the people portrayed is the most dominant characteristic that distinguishes this mode from the realist one. The reality abounds in magical occurrences no matter whether they are real or exist only in people’s imagination. Uncanny apparitions, bizarre coincidences and inexplicable predictions are all part of reality that has been extricated from the world based on laws of reason. The real, pure magic is accompanied by the magic that stems from accentuation or slight distortion of everyday experience, from a playful approach to language and the use of ingenious experiment that brings in a nice freshness into novel writing.

Chapter 2

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