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Interactive Oral: Magical Realism (Chronicle of a Death Foretold)

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william abboud

on 10 January 2014

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Transcript of Interactive Oral: Magical Realism (Chronicle of a Death Foretold)

Magical realism, while not exclusive to literature, is a genre where magic elements are considered to be a normal part of a semi-realistic environment .
It is known to have originated in Latin America.
Many Latin American writers would travel between their home country and European cultural hubs.
Influenced by the art movement of the time, and what they saw, they would incorporate certain elements into their writing.

Realism is an attempt to create a depiction of actual life; a novel does not simply rely on what it presents but how it presents it. In this way, a realist narrative acts as framework by which the reader constructs a world using the raw materials of life. Understanding both realism and magical realism within the realm of a narrative mode is key to understanding both terms. Magical realism deals with the unreal as though it was real.

Magical Realism
Magical Realism Writers
Athol Dickson is a novelist who includes magical realism in his writing. Dickson believes that magical realism allows the reader to better understand reality by seeing a broader or more magical outlook on life. Dickson's writing is not escapist, but indirectly accurate.

Mario Vargas Llosa is a novelist who uses magical realism as well as other genres and themes. Llosa's stories include changes in time and setting- an element seen in many magical realistic writings.

Gabriel Marquez, author of Chronicle of a Death Foretold, is known for his prominent use of magical realism. Chronicles of a Death Foretold is clearly influenced by his heritage, and magical realism seems to be a popular genre in Latin American culture.
What is Modernism/Postmodernism
With the development of modernity, which is characterized by large scale capitalism, modernism emerged as an opposition to the traditional ways and philosophies. Some modernists opposed religion, and other "outdated" dogmas. Modernists would write without a solid structure. A modernist might write a single piece of writing alternating between different styles of writing. Modernists opposed realism, and believed modernism would help create a new environment that is based on things like science and technology. Modernism is similar to magical realism in the sense that they both are not restricted to an absolute reality. Postmodernism and modernism were separate artistic movements. Postmodernism was skeptical and rebellious, and critical about large theories like consumerism.

Chronicle of a Death Foretold
What is Realism ?
What is Magical Realism ?
What is Magical Realism?
1. Do you think authors in this day and age tend to be more Realist, or more Magical Realist; what do you believe may of caused such changes in thought over time?

2. To what extent were both schools of thought imposed upon people due to historical events transpiring around them?

3. In your opinion, would someone living through an extremely violent time period, whom was surrounded by horrors, be more likely to develop a Realist book, or lean towards a Magical Realist genre.
Food For Thought
Gabriel Marquez uses magical realism with great craftsmanship to showcase his latin American culture and the themes that come with it like honour and courage. Magical realism allows Marquez to portray details in an unordinary manner, which allows the reader to see real life issues in a clearer light. Chronicles of a Death Foretold, a novella by Marquez, has many examples of magical realism. For example on page 80 the narrator explains how Pedro Vicario had a pain in his groin which had reached his throat, he goes on to claim that the pain has kept him from sleeping for 11 months. A recurring idea of dreams that come true throughout the story are clear examples of magical realism, and furthermore as Santiago Nasar's mother, whom was known to interpret people’s dreams and accurately predict what would happen to a person, depending on their dreams. Evidence of magical realism can be felt at the start of the novella just after Santiago dreamt that he was flying in between trees without hitting into them while it was drizzling. He recounts the story to his mother, who, despite her magical ability to interpret dreams, misinterpreted her own sons dream. Depriving him of a warning, that could have saved his life. Something that she later realizes after Santiago is viciously killed by the Vicario brothers.
The most obvious use of magical realism by Marquez, is undoubtedly the scene just after Santiago has been attacked. Santiago, after just having been stabbed multipultimes and losing a lot of blood, picks up the entrails which are spewing out of his body and begins to walk across the courtyard, seemingly unhurt.

Real or magical ?
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