Magic Realism




Magic Realism appeared as a critical term for the arts and it later extended to literature. The term was first used by the German critic Franz Roh in 1925 to characterize a group of Post-Expressionist painters. Franz Roh described it as a form in which “our real world re-emerges before our eyes, bathed in the clarity of a new day.” It was later replaced by “New Objectivity.”
Magic Realism survived to define a narrative tendency in Latin America during 1949 to 1970. It can be defined as a preoccupation or interest in showing something common or daily into something unreal or strange. A magic realist narrator creates the illusion of “unreality,” faking the escape from the natural, and tells an action that even if appears as explainable it comes across as strange. In strange narration’s, instead of presenting something as real, the writers reality becomes magical. The writer suggests a supernatural atmosphere without denying the natural, and the style is distorting the reality. The intention of the narrator is to provoke strange feeling. The explanations are not clear or logical. There also is no innuendo or psychological analysis of the characters, instead they are well defined almost in opposition, and never appear confused or surprised about the supernatural. Gabrial Garcia Marques says for him it is the supernatural and the natural peacefully co-existing and showing themselves through magic realism. It is the encounter of strangeness and familiarity.
During colonization, Europeans found a land full of strange and supernatural things and their records were based on their interpretations which lead to a uncertainty of Latin America. Gabriel Garcia Marquez in the Conferencia Nobel 1982 (the year in which he was awarded the Nobel Prize): “La Soledad de America Latina”, tells of a Florentine sailor named Antonio Pigafetta who wrote about his expeditions around the world. This sailor described strange creatures, which many can be found today, but his interpretation created a supernatural rendition of Latin America in the European point of view. Overall, Latin American culture is a combination of many other cultures that came during colonization.
Garcia Marquez, born into poverty studied law and journalism at the National University
of Colombia in Bogota, and at the University of Cartagena. He began his career as a journalist, and demonstrated a unique interest in cinema and dedicated much of his early career to film criticism. Garcia Marquez began writing short stories in the late 1940s. His first major publication was “La hojarasca.” In this story, Marquez describes the first fictional Colombian village of Macondo--the setting of much of his later work--and the combination of realism and fantasy characteristic of his style. His early journalistic writings clearly reflect his fascination with William Faulkner.
Garcia Marquez’s Monologue of “Isabel Watching it Rain in Macondo” offers us an example of the dangers of the “authoritarian nature of technological systems” and an example of the ways in which political and cultural systems are shaped by technology. “Then it rained. And the sky was a gray, jellyish substance that flapped it’s wings a hand away from our heads” is a form of magic realism described in his short story. Garcia Marquez carries out his distortion of direct historical time through the internal monologues that record the narrators’ thoughts, and through the complex effect of many monologues. The extent of the narrators’ structure of social and historical reference differs significantly, and is almost immediately outlined by their reactions to the first historical sign, the sound of the train’s horn, which marks 2:30. Garcia Marquez employs to overturn the passage of time at the level of the stories structure. The reader must read backwards and forwards at once in order to locate all of the emphasis of a strain and establish the relative historical order of the monologues in which they appear. It is remarkable over the family setting and the weather with the new season. The narrator and the family in this short story seem to be the upper class and the Indians as the servants. The second extravagant image comes when the narrator and her stepmother are talking about having the Indians put the flowerpots on the veranda “and that was what they did, while the rain grew like an immense tree over the other trees.”