Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Magical Realism in 100 Years of Solitude

When I first started reading 100 Years of Solitude, the constant presence of magic really bothered me. It was entertaining, but I couldn't find a logical explanation for it anywhere in the story since most of the books we read don't involve magic. As the people of Macondo believed in magic  more and more I started to question their sanity. Marquez sucked me in with his "straight faced" story telling skills. By the time Remedios floated off with the bed sheets he had me fooled. His recount of all the events with complete certainty of truth really bothered me at first. But then I understood that it was part of the Latin American culture to accept magic. Marquez's use of magical realism really had me on the edge of my seat, especially after the banana massacre. I was trying to find every logical explanation for why the people of Macondo had no idea what had happened. After class this week I realized that I have been trying to find logical explanations for every plot twist involving magical realism because we don't see magical realism in western literature.

1 comment:

Amy Clement said...

I agree with you that the magic in One Hundred Years of Solitude was initially a bit confusing. I could not figure out how something that seems so strange to many could be brushed over so matter-of-factlly by Marquez. I began to realize, however, that his goal was never to tell a factual story about a town in Columbia, but instead to reveal a truth behind it. We in the West think of history as a linear list of facts and events, but Marquez's ambition was to discuss the underlying themes that ran through so many of these events. His technique reminds me of a memory being recalled. For example, when your mom exaggerates a story about when you were five years old and you "cried so loud that the entire block could hear you," you obviously didn't cry that loud because its not possible (unless you're Oskar, of course). But, the theme of the story is still the same; you were very upset; embellishments by your mom just helps to further emphasize how upset you were.The fact is that you never yelled that loud, but she revealed a truth about the situation. I feel that Marquez does the same thing with his magical realism. While no one actually rose up to heaven, I emphasizes the truth of the event more than the fact would have. Saying that a trail of blood traveled to Ursula's doorstep is much more impactful than factually describing his death.