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Fantasy and Magical Realism

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Luke Farrell

on 10 December 2013

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Transcript of Fantasy and Magical Realism

Fantasy and Magical Realism
Is a method through which the author can:
further the storyline
add context
provide metaphor and allegory
intoduce new ideas and concepts
In the context of Pedro Paramo, the magical realism is so well integrated into the writing that fantasy and reality become blended and hard to discern from one another
Pedro Paramo is an excellent depiction of the literature referred to as magical realism. Magical realism attempts to incorporate fantasy and reality into one by using fantasy to help "untangle" the elements of reality. Pedro Paramo incorporates the elements of magical realism, most noticeably through the concept of time and death.
Time is something that is imperative to the text. Juan Rulfo centers the story around two concepts of time: the present journey of Juan Preciado and the past life of Pedro Paramo. There is an often seamless transition between these two time frames, that provides background and character to the novel. Through the manipulation of time the reader is exposed to both a background to the town and the present journey of Preciado.
Death is a fundamental piece to this text. Rulfo illustrates the town where Pedro Paramo lived and that Juan Preciado is traveling to in a unique manner. Through the use of time, Rulfo describes Comala both during the time of Paramo and during the journey of Juan Preciado. There is a definitive overlap between the two as Juan Preciado encounters many people who are deemed "dead" that help better illustrate the town and the life of Pedro Paramo. When Preciado dies in the text, it switches to the life of Pedro Paramo. Death is again looked at very intently even after Preciado dies and it switches to one time setting. When someone in this text dies, a similar process is revealed to take place regardless of who the person is that dies. We see through Rulfo's writings that there appears to be some corruption and hypocrisy in the church. The priest who is viewed as God's intermediary is in fact a sinner himself. His job is to act as a means of God and yet father Renteria is described as emotionally biased and a sinner himself. The text is deeply rooted in the importance of life, death, and the afterlife and possesses a multitude of examples depicting this.

“I don’t understand. I didn’t hear anything that sounded like a horse.
Then it must be my sixth sense. A gift God gave me – or maybe a curse” (Rulfo 21).

You hear it now? Of course you can hear it. It's his horse coming home."
"I don't hear anything."
"Then it's just me" (Rulfo 11-12)
'"No. Not crazy, Miguel. You must be dead. Remember, everyone told you that horse would be the death of you one day. Remember that, Miguel Paramo. Maybe you did do
something crazy, but that's another matter now.' (Rulfo 12)
Lit Crit
Patrick McGoldrick
University of Michigan
“She told me you would be coming. Today, in fact. That you would be coming today.”
“Who told you? My mother?
Yes. Your mother” (Rulfo 10).

“The man I’m talking about heard fine.
Then it can’t have been him. Besides, Abundio died. I’m sure he’s dead. So you see? It couldn’t have been him” (Rulfo 16).

Discussion Questions:
1. Does having an element of fantasy and/or magical realism make the story harder for the reader to connect to or easier?
2. Why is magical realism such an effective medium through which to convey meaning?
3. The fantasy genre of literature is a wide and unbounded font of ideas. How is the fantasy genre wholly different from the fantasy present within Pedro Paramo? Why is it different?
4. Latin America is considered to be the birthplace of magical realism. Culturally, why do you believe this to be so?
5. What would the differences be between science fiction and magical realism?
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