Free «Magical Realism» Essay Sample

"Magical Realism" – is realism, in which elements of real and fantastic, domestic and mythical, actual and mental are organically combined. Magical realism is peculiar to Latin American literature. In 1950 - 60's Latin American literature experienced a real "boom" (Hart & Ouyang 1). There was even a special term "Caribbean miracle" in literature. It became well-known throughout the world. A galaxy of fine writers emerged, and their tendency to "magical realism" was united. Such writers as Gabriel García Márquez's "One Hundred years of solitude" and "A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings ", A. Carpenter "Ecue-Yamba-In" created in traditions of magical realism.

This literary tendency arose due to mythopoetic worldview of Aborigines in Latin America. Unquestioning belief in the existence of good and evil spirits, personification of natural forces, belief in the existence of other worlds, perception of death and life as two sides of the same coin, belief in the possibility of reincarnation of one creature to another - all of these are integral syllables of Indians consciousness.

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In the very term “Magical Realism” lies the union of two opposing concepts: "realism" (something material and normal), and "magic" (something fantastic, unexpected, unusual, mysterious and inexplicable). Of course, writers in their works did not try to recreate full mythological consciousness, and took the main principle of art from it - the image of fabulous as the real-life, and, therefore, of course, normal. Reality and fantasy are intertwined in their works and imagination is as real as reality.

The peculiarity of a new Latin American novel (it is often called the Baroque - redundancy and excess of Latin prose, its heaviness with descriptions and details) many writers explain as a reality of Latin America, chaotic, contradictory and unresolved. The essence of magical realism is to recognize the unlimited freedom with which Latin American novelists spliced grounded sphere of life and sphere of innermost depths of consciousness, "short-circuiting" the beginning and the end of historical, the spiritual life of their people, and highlighting mythological fundamental principles of contemporary issues.

Magical realism is a phenomenon that is characteristic not only for Latin American literature. It has great traditions in European and world writing (F. Rabelais, E.T.W. Hoffmann, G. Gogol, M. Bulgakov and others).

Magical, fantastic visions, constantly expanding the range of Latin American novels, become a creative principle of writers who find many features in reality, beyond rational understanding.

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The appeal to the literary heritage of different times and peoples is a feature of most of works of novelists. This treatment involves a moment of critical reassessment, often humorous, such as in a novel "One Hundred Years of Solitude". Multifaceted Garcia Marquez’s book can be seen as a grand travesty of history of Latin America, in which played many stages of world literature - from an ancient epic to a family novel.

Garcia Marquez is perhaps one the most outstanding representatives of not only Colombia but also of the whole modern American literature. Garcia Marquez's first stories appeared in the press in the late 40's, and, by his own admission, were written under the influence of Kafka. The world of the Austrian writer stepped back in front of a much more vivid reality - pictures of childhood, held in Aracataca. This provincial, lost in the jungle town became a center of the artistic universe that the writer created in his stories, novellas and novels.

“The broader historical plot sequence of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is based on actual key events in Colombia’s past” (Villada 6). At the heart of "One Hundred Years of Solitude" is people’s mythological picture of the world, only guided and adjusted by the creative expression of the will of the writer. This is a difference from fictions of Borges and Casares, not so directly rooted in popular perception of the world. Marquez is driven by the need to reconstruct the former Indian and pioneering mentality, and writers of La Plata, in the absence of continuity in literature, and cultural traditions (in comparison with European countries and those that inherited the Mayans, Aztecs and Incas) - the need to become demiurges of a new reality.

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In the novel, we are dealing essentially with a chronicle of the life of the settlement from its foundation to becoming a city - and further to death in the disaster.  The life in all its diversity is described. Different people and their characters are described in various war and peace situations.

A special place among themes of the novel takes the study of the destructive influence of science progress on a human life, long isolated from the world, who believed in miracles, with rich folk traditions and a special vision of the world. As something that is not too unusual, though interesting, narrates about the search of the philosopher's stone, flying mats, (probably air kites or first prototypes of gliders), the ability to levitate and to increase or decrease weight. An enthusiast of these miracles, who presents all of these to hearted villagers, is Melquíades. He belongs to a moving gypsy tribe, which naturally is wandering from one city to another. He is the first harbinger of new ideas, the first unsteady conductor of the influence of a big world. Melquíades  fits in the life of the village because he is a carrier of the same type of consciousness, as residents of the village. Then archaic types of consciousness with a magical view of the world unsuccessfully try to adapt to a new reality that progress brings, generating people of a different attitude. It is funny and sad at the same time: Jose Arcadio Buendia, one of the founding fathers, going crazy, trying to capture the image of God with the help of a photo and thus to prove His existence, because his faith was shaken. The final scene of the death of the village is a materialization of God's wrath.

Probably, Marquez addressed to a local legend, which previously, based on the epic "rumor", roaming though the country and villages of Caribbean, Dario used in a story "The mysterious death of his brother Pedro". Pedro was a monk who became at the mercy of the "evil spirit, which kindles a thirst for knowledge." He planned to examine with X-rays the body of the Lord, to prove the existence of God and proselytize many unbelievers. He died in a result of this experience.

The essence of the story is in words: "Blessing of ignorance is a sacred gift". This morality is certainly one of the leitmotifs of the novel of Marquez. Flagrant invasion of progress destroys organics of secular life, adaptation is impossible. However, invasion is inevitable, so the village still dies.

These stories and topics talk about failure of inert positive thinking, about the existence of problems, which can make a revolution in established and generally accepted views. Marquez, as well as many other Latin American writers, no matter how different nature of their talents is, converge on a critique of stagnant positivism, criticizing it from different sides. Marquez sees it as a destructive force of progress. The quest for unknown in all fields of knowledge is the common denominator for almost all stories of Latin American writers.

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