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Magical Realism in House of Spirits

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farah mithani

on 29 November 2010

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Transcript of Magical Realism in House of Spirits

Magical Realism in House of Spirits
By: Farah Mithani The Term History of Magical Realism Characteristics of Magical Realism Connection to House of Spirits Works Cited Magical realism aims to seize the paradox of the union of opposites.

It challenges polar opposites like life and death and the pre-colonial past versus the post-industrial present.

It is characterized by two conflicting perspectives:
- the rational view of reality
- acceptance of the supernatural as prosaic reality

Is not purely fantasy because it takes place in the modern world.

Presence of supernatural is connected to primeval Indian mentality that has to exist with European rationality. First introduced by Franz Roh (art historian) in 1925.
Viewed magical realism as an art category

Magical realism was seen a way of representing and responding to reality and pictorially depicting the enigmas of reality.

In Latin America, in the 1940s, magical realism was a way to express the realistic American mentality and create an autonomous style of literature.
magical realism is presented in settings with opposites such as urban and rural, and Western and indigenous.
involves issues of borders, fusions, and change.
these plots are established to give a more deep and true reality than what conventional realists would give. Themes Magical Realist Authors Irony Regarding Author’s Perspective
- the author must have:
An ironic world view so that the realist aspect of "magical realism" is not compromised.
Respect for the magic so that the story is not merely a folktale and is realistic
Authorial Reticence
lack of clear opinions about the accuracy of events and the credibility of the world views expressed by characters in the text.
technique promotes acceptance for magical realism.
doing otherwise takes away equality of one's conventional view of reality, lessening validity of supernatural world The Supernatural and Natural
supernatural is not displayed as questionable
is integrated as a normal perception that narrator and characters have Gabriel Garcia Marquez (One Hundred Years of Solitude)
Ben Okri (The Famished Road)
Syl Cheney-Coker
Kojo Laing
Allejo Carpentier
Toni Morrison
Kwsme Anthony Appiah
Mario Vargas Llosa (A Fish in the Water) Terror overwhelms the possibility of openess of magical realism.
Time is portrayed as cyclical rather than linear ("What happens once is destined to happen again.")
Carnivalesque: refering to cultural manifestations that take place with a clown/madman
- celebrates the body, the senses, and the relations
between humans
Inexistence of successful revolution
Continual political upheaval (irony and paradox stay rooted in recurring social and political aspirations)

Significance and Influence of Magical Realism
influences the character's perceptions in the book
strange, recurring magical events
the descriptions of events in the story are very straightforward, making the events believable
Clara's clairvoyance is compared to her brother's normality
characters accept magical world rationally
story move back and forth in time
character's have very ecccentric characteristics
Rosa's angel-like beauty, Uncle Marcos' travels are odd but magically real (oxymoronic) Quotes
"Clara was seated beside her mother, who squeezed her hand impatiently whenever the priest lingered too long on the sins of the flesh, for she knew that this would only lead the child to visualize with even greater accuracy aberrations that transcended reality" (Allende 3).
"There was something of the fish to her, but her two legs placed her squarely on the tenuous line between a human being and a creature of myth" (Allende 5).
"It was true there had been times, just as they were about to sit down to dinner and everyone was in the large dining room...when the saltcellar would suddenly begin to shake and move among the plates and goblets without any visible source of energy or sign of illusionist's trick" (Allende 8).

Isabel Allende's Speech http://www.english.emory.edu/Bahri/MagicalRealism.html



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