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Copy of Magical Realism in Love in the Time of Cholera

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Angie Yi

on 26 August 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Magical Realism in Love in the Time of Cholera

Magical Realism Time is Cyclical "At the age of twenty-eight, Dr. Juvenal Urbino had been the most desirable of bachelors. He had returned from a long stay in Paris...Three days later, in Paris, Dr. Juvenal Urbino received a telegram during supper with his friends..." (p. 105-113) Throughout the novel, time constantly transitions between past and present. In the previous example, Dr. Urbino is first presented as having just returned from Paris, and meeting Fermina. However, in the following pages, the book transitions further into the past, with a description of Urbino's time in Paris. A significant time this happens in the book is after Urbino's funeral, when Florentino declares his love for Fermina. A few sentences later, at the beginning of the second chapter, the book goes into the past, to when Florentino first laid eyes on Fermina. Time being cyclical adds to magical realism by distorting reality without acknowledging the distortion. The constant change in time period creates a sense of surrealism, which influences magical realism. The magical is ordinary "...the parrot learned to speak French like an academician...he taught him the Latin accompaniment to the mass and selected passages from the Gospel according to St. Matthew..." (p. 20) The capabilities of this parrot exceed those of any normal parrot. The parrot can speak French, Latin, can recite passages and sing songs in multiple languages. Although the parrot is frequently visited by people who have heard of him, the parrot is never acknowledged as a creature with an almost magical talent. "He was a deplumed, maniacal parrot who did not speak when asked to but only when it was least expected, but then he did so with a clarity and rationality that were uncommon among human beings." (p. 20) Here, the parrot is described as being humanoid. This characteristics would not be found in normal parrots. Though the parrot is treated differently from the other animals in the house, such as the turtle, it is still a feasible creature. The parrot is a good example of magical realism, because although it is capable of almost magical talents, the talents are still believable and accepted. It Just Is Setting "The exterior of the unnumbered house was in no way distringuishable from its less fortunate neighbors, except for the window with lace curtains and an imposing front door taken from some old church...The door opened without a sound, and in the shadowy interior stood a mature woman dressed in black, with a red rose behind her ear...The parlor had the climate and invisible murmur of a forest glade and was crammed with furniture and exquisite objets, each in its natural place." (p. 13) In this quote, Urbino is visiting Jeremiah de Saint-Amour's secret lover. She lives in the marsh, which was previously where slaves lived. The marsh is damp, dirty, and depressing. It is not a place where one would expect to find something magical, such as a woman with a red rose living in a mysterious house. The woman's house is magical because it is a magical place in the middle of squallor, and because it is beautiful despite the harshness of the marsh. Despite all of the house's and the woman's magical qualities, it is not hard to imagine that this house exists, which is a key quality of magical realism. Magical Realism and Theme:
Love as an Actual Sickness "...his mother was terrified because his condition did not resemble the turmoil of love so much as the devastation of cholera...But his examination revealed that he had no fever, no pain anywhere, and that his only concrete feeling was an urgent desire to die...the symptoms of love were the same as those of cholera." (p. 62) A trademark of magical realism is stretching the truth, yet leaving enough truth for the situation to seem real. A reocurring theme in Love in the Time of Cholera is portraying love as a literal sickness, one with similar symptoms to cholera. Magical realism adds to this theme because in the situation above, Florentino is experiencing the symptoms of cholera, such as vomiting. He also as an 'urgent desire to die'. His symptoms are magical because who really experiences such extreme symptoms when in love? However, there is just enough reality, like Florentino's passion for Fermina and his desire to suffer for her, to make his symptoms more realistic.
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