Magic realism is an artistic method in which magical elements are included in a realistic world view. The aim of magic realism is to find in the reality something that is strange, lyrical and even fantastic: the elements that make daily life accessible for poetic, surreal and even symbolic transfigurations.
Magic realism is also a literary movement that has an exceptionally concrete and visible history through time, as well as quite clearly traceable roots and pronounced ideology (basic concepts), narrative structure and discourse features, which makes the works of magical realism convenient object for a linguistic research.
The term “magic realism” exists in Latin American criticism and cultural studies at different semantic levels. In a narrow sense, it is considered as a trend in Latin American literature of the twentieth century. Sometimes it is treated in an ontological way as an intrinsic constant of the Latin American creative thinking. History of the term reflects the essential feature of Latin American culture – the borrowing of models and categories from western literature and adapting them to express own identity.
Firmly entered the scientific use of the literary studies, in the first half of the XX century, the term is still a matter of many debates and discussions.
This paper seeks to answer to what extent the key principles of Magic Realism are used in Marquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold.
The following elements can be intrinsic to magical realism:
– fantastic elements may be internally consistent, but never explained;
– the characters accept the logic of the magical elements in daily life;
– numerous details...
of sensory perception;
– symbols and images are frequently used;
– emotions of a human as a social being are often described in substantial details;
– warped time; sometimes it is cyclical or even missed. One more trick that was used by authors of Magic Realism is the collapse of the time when the present time repeats or resembles the past;
– reversed cause and effect; for example, a character may suffer before the tragic events;
– elements of folklore or legends;
– events are presented from alternative points of view;
– past time contrast to present, the astral to the physical, the charactes are compared with each other;
– open ending allows the reader to determine for himself what structure of the world was more truthful and relevant.
The most famous authors of magical realism are Alessandro Barikko, Amos Oz, Ben Okri, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Goran Petrovic, Gunter Grass, Jonathan Carroll, Davis Robertson, Jose Saramago, Jorge Amado, Isaac Bashevis Singer, Italo Calvino, Carlos Castaneda, Carlos Fuentes, Laura Esquivel, Leo Perutz, Louis de Berner, Gustav Meyrink, Miguel Angel Asturias, Milan Kundera, Milorad Pavic, Mikhail Bulgakov, Ernesto Sabato, Edward Whitmore, and many others. In 1950 – 60’s, Latin American literature experienced a real mental explosion. There was even a specific term “Caribbean miracle” in the literature.
The key principles of Magical Realism are presented in many Marquez’s novels but especially in one of the most famous one – Chronicle of a Death Foretold. The use of this literary technique affects the narrative in the opinion and the distinctiv
style of the narrator toward the matter at hand. As well as many others creators of Magic Realism, Marques accepted bizarre events that could not have possibly happened in the reality without any possible amounts of shock. The novel Chronicle of a Death Foretold («Cronica de una muerte anunciada») was created in 1981; it was totally innovative in form. The author tells the story of the murder, perceived differently by different unreliable witnesses. A year after the release of Chronicle of a Death Foretold Marquez won the Nobel Prize in Literature for his novels and short stories, in which fantasy and reality are combined, reflecting the life and conflicts of the continent. ”Magic Realism” is a reality in which elements of the real and the fantastic, domestic and mythical, real and mental, mysterious are combined organically.
The superstitions of the different characters are the principle details serving to understand the nature of Marquez’s Magical Realism. The Chronicle of a Death Foretold makes oblique references to God and clairvoyance. There is also a lot of foreshadowing or signs after the death of the main character; it is quite bizarrely why they are so obvious after the incident was happened. Marquez wonders “There had never been a death so foretold” (Marquez).
One more element of Marquez’s Magic Realism is his passion for exaggerations. Pedro says that he could not sleep for 11 months because of pain; the reader understands that this fact is rather exaggerated. The kaleidoscopic imagery of the incident is one more effect of the magic realist style. The reader comes to the conclusion that people both are guilty and innocent. This is common paradox of author’s manner.
It should be said that the genuine aspects of magical realism are present in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. What is more,this book presents the classic style of Marquez’s narration. It describes only one day and one death, but almost everyone in town is involved in this event. An extremely appealing fact exists in the book; “Garcia Marquez, a good friend of Santiago Nasar, is identified with him, even mistaken for him by Santiago Nasar’s old, dying mother, in a brief hallucination. (Michaels)
However, the book is rather about the human factor in society than the fate and the circumstances. The fact that even in the modern world, people are constantly confronted with the problems of backwardness, rigidities of human nature is obvious. Everyone knows about the criminal intent, but the framework by which people are constanttly surrounded, cannot allow preventing a monstrous act. The readers feel terribly sorry for Santiago Nazar, and through the prism of this feeling there exists the sorrow for humanity. The favorite Marquez’s paradox is presented in this book as well: love is guilty in all human misfortunes, but happiness without it cannot be possible.
Many mysteries remained after reading a novel. Whether Santiago is dead or not? Among much indeterminacy – was the weather ”radiant” or ”funereal” on the fatal day? Was Bayardo a homosexual? Was he the devil? Was it Santiago Nasar who deflowered the bride? – it is curious to discover a mere inconsistency. (Michaels)
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