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Magical Realism in Chronicle of a Death Foretold

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Sarah Cockins

on 31 March 2015

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Transcript of Magical Realism in Chronicle of a Death Foretold

Magical Realism in
Chronicle of a Death Foretold

In the novella
, Chronicle of a Death Foretold,
by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, magical realism is used to show how the characters interpret a different reality to prevent from feeling guilty, and using subjectivity to disassociate themselves from the reality of Santiago Nasar's death.
Magical Realism
First introduced by a German art critic, Franz Roh
Unlike fantasy, magical realism takes place in the normal, modern world with real descriptions of humans and society
Magical Realism is not . . .
Conducted thought experiments
Surrealism ("What is Magical Realism, Really?")
What is Magical Realism . . . ?
"A literary genre mainly associated with Latin America that incorporates fantastic or mythical elements into otherwise realistic fiction" ("Magic Realism")
A branch of serious fiction
Supernatural or extraordinary images and events are depicted as everyday occurrences ("Understanding the Literary Genre Magical Realism.")
The idea that terror overwhelms the story
"The last onlookers ranged about the schoolhouse windows lost their curiosity, the helper fainted, and Colonel Lazaro Aponte, who had seen and caused so many massacres, became a vegetarian as well as a spiritualist" (Marquez, 76)
[Narrator about Colonel Lazaro Aponte and townspeople]
During Santiago Nasar's autopsy
The supernatural is not
displayed as questionable
"Santiago Nasar pointed to an intermittent light at sea and told us that it was the soul in torment of a slave ship with a cargo of blacks from Senegal across from the main harbor mouth at Cartagena de Indias" (Marquez, 66- 67)
[Narrator about Santiago Nasar]
"Things had been disappearing little by little. . ." (Marquez, 87)

"But one night it occurred to him to hold a spiritual seance in order to clear up the mystery, and the soul of Yolanda Xius confirmed in her own handwriting that it was in fact she who was recovering knickknacks of her happiness for her house death" (Marquez, 87)
[Narrator about Xius and his dead wife]
They accept that Yolanda is taking things in the house as fact
“She had a well-earned reputation as an interpreter of other people's dreams, provided they were told her before eating, but she hadn't noticed any ominous augury in those two dreams of her son's on the mornings preceding his death" (Marquez, 4)
[Narrator about Placida Linero]
They accept Placida's ability to interpret dreams as fact
Time is cyclical instead
of linear
“On the day they were going to kill him, Santiago Nasar got up at five-thirty in the morning to wait for the boat the bishop was coming on” (Marquez, 3)
[Narrator about Santiago Nasar, Pablo Vicario and Pedro Vicario]

Chapters begin and end talking about Santiago's death. The entire book also begins and ends with Santiago's death.

Carnival: the presence of a madman, fool or clownish figure; people participate in dancing, music, theatre and drink.

"Santiago Nasar had an almost magical talent for disguises, and his favourite sport was to confuse the identities of the mulatto girls" (Marquez, 65)

[Narrator about Santiago Nasar]
"He'd drunk so much that his memories of the encounter were always quite confused, but he never forgot the fatal drink that Pedro Vicario offered him" (Marquez, 68-69)
[Narrator about Luis Enrique]
"They were sitting down to breakfast when they saw Santiago Nasar enter, soaked in blood and carrying the roots of his entrails in his hands" (Marquez, 120)
"'We were paralyzed with fright,' Argénida Lanao told me" (Marquez 120)
[Narrator about Santiago Nasar]
"So we took the musicians with us for a round of serenades, and we continued the party on our own, while the Vicario twins were waiting for Santiago Nasar to kill him." (Marquez, 66)
[Narrator about himself and friends]
"The liver was almost sliced into pieces by two deep cuts on the anterior side. He had four incisions in the stomach, one of them so deep that it went completely through and destroyed, the pancreas" (Marquez, 75)
"'It was as if we had killed him all over again after he was dead'" (Marquez, 72)
[Father Carmen Amador about Santiago Nasar's autopsy]
[Narrator about Santiago's body]
"... and the twins declared at the end of the trial that they would have done it again a thousand times over for the same reason" (Marquez, 48)
[Narrator about the Vicario twins killing Santiago Nasar]
After the Vicario twins stabbed Santiago Nasar
Neighbours were horrified at the sight of Santiago's wounds
Full transcript