Thursday, September 4, 2014

A theory

One of the reasons I think that magical realism is such a prominent theme in Latin America goes back to the indigenous peoples there. When the Europeans first arrived in Latin America, they saw ships of an unprecedented size, beasts that could be ridden and run far faster than llamas, and strangest of all must have been the magical "fire sticks" that could kill a man with a crack of thunder. All of these technologies must have been overwhelming at first and have been viewed as almost magical to them. Also many of the native peoples' religions were still highly based on supernatural beings and gods, thereby adding a more willing belief in magic. What do y'all think? Why has magical realism become a prominent theme in Latin American literature?

4 comments:

Ross said...

While magical realism is certainly present in Latin America, I think that it is important to note that it is different from the magical realism found anywhere else in the world. This particular brand of magical realism came into being in a complex Latin America, one of hardships, political strife, a unique history, and a mixture of cultures. These conditions helped shape the magical realism that we see in One Hundred Years of Solitude and they may be the reason that it appears as a theme in many Latin American works of literature. In a way, by using Latin America's style of magical realism, Marquez is able use a local idea instead of an alien one. Strangely enough, he aspires for Latin America to do the same; he wants it to rely on itself instead of foreign powers in order to create its own image. I think other authors want to do the same and employ their own magical realism into their works to do so, causing it to appear all over Latin American.

Tiffany Tavassoli said...

I think that magical realism is present in almost every culture and that it exists even in the Western world. I think the main problem is that, at least mainly for the Western World, is that we fail to acknowledge the magical realism that occurs in our daily lives. In the Western World, we are very literal and everything must be so clear and concrete for us to accept things. I think that Marquez expresses that Latin American has this capability of appreciating and accepting "magic" that helps in life regularly. I think, like Ross mentioned, that there are different "versions" of magical realism all over the world. All of them have a slightly different essence, but I think overall that magical realism is present everywhere; it is just about to us to chose to look for it and accept and embrace it.

Iris Mire said...

I think the better question is why did magical realism not develop in Europe? As Ross said, we see magical realism in areas of the world other than Latin America but it is conspicuously absent in European culture. I agree with Tiffany that the very literal way Westerners tend to think are directly opposed to the way magical realism functions. Why are we as Westerners so averse to seeing the magic in everyday life?

Sri Korrapati said...

In response to Iris, I politely disagree. Mythology is very much a form of magical realism in my opinion. It gave magical significance to real processes, such as the daily rise and fall of the sun. Of course, greek mythology did not last forever.
To an outsider's perspective, Hinduism is a form of magical realism (Here me out on this). While I am a practicing Hindu, those of us who aren't do not believe that there are multiple gods, one of which has an elephant head. That might even seem magical. Hinduism serves the same purpose as greek mythology in a sense. Why did my business succeed? Ganesha was watching over me. Why did all of my plants die? My neighbor jinxed me. (Most practicing Hindus believe that jinx is real and "magical". Those of the Telugu community at least).
What is my point of calling my own religion a type of magical realism to an outside perspective? How does that tie in to the western world?
Christianity (in an outsider's perspective) can also be considered a form of magical realism. I say this respectfully of course. Jesus walked on water, came back to life, and ascended into heaven. That sounds sort of like magic to me. The Bible, in a sense, uses magical realism. Christianity serves the same purpose of Hinduism, Greek Mythology, and pretty much any other religion. The bible wasn't written in Europe, but Christianity did flourish and develop dominantly in Europe.