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In the story "The Handsomest Man in the World", a dead man arrives in their town through the sea. The children first think that it is a whale or a ship, but as it comes closer they come to know that it is a dead man. The news spreads in the town. The old lady claims that his name is Esteban. The women's response to the dead man which they call Esteban is eroticized in the story. (Brent, Liz). All the people in the town were amazed to see the huge size of Esteban. They tell that he is the most virile, handsome and the biggest man in the world. All the ladies in their town admire his beauty. They all think that his big size was the cause of his death. All the people in the town change the appearance of their house. They painted the houses in bright color and build tall houses so as to give tribute to Esteban. They do this so that people from far away could recognize that it was Estebans town. Esteban is represented as an ideal of perfection. The village people think that Esteban had a perfect life. This motivated the village people to change their life. After Estebans funeral, all the village men irrigated their land to produce flowers and changed the entire appearance of the village so that it could be identified as Estebans village. These things show how the dead man can change the whole town. The book "The New Life" by Orhan Pamuk starts with the sentence, "I read a book one day and my whole life was changed".(Pamuk) This sentence itself tells us a lot about the story. It is a visceral experience: he feels his "body dissociating"; he admits that he feels "its influence not only on my soul but on every aspect of my identity. (Pamuk). The readers life has changed by reading a book. He is a student doing engineering. The book had the effect not only on his soul but also on his identity. The book reflected a light on his face. The objects in the book were quite similar to the objects in his room. the more he read the book, the more effect it had on him. The book told him about the things that he did not know about himself. He knew that he was reaching a stage from where he could not come back. He thinks that all his ideas had been imagined by someone and were put in the book. The more he read the book the more effect it had on himself and on his soul. The book was slowly transforming his way of thinking and his ideas. He thought that the book was taking him in another world. He left the book and went down for supper. He could not react to the reality in his life. He was feeling guilty that he reading that book had separated him from the actual world. He went to watch TV for a while so that it could divert his mind from that book. The book was acting as a catalyst. It had transformed him. He feels isolated and broken off. He feels like something has been taken away from him. On the contrary, he also gained something from the book. When he was walking down the streets, everything was very similar to him. He came to the belief that he had possession over his future but the book was something that possessed him at the present. He felt liked the new life was glowing in him. He was happy as well as sad to leave his old life. He then walked towards the shore. He was astonished to see that the sea was pitch-black. He had never noticed that the Sea of Marmara was so dark. He compared his life to the Sea of Marmara. The sea looked dark, stern and cruel at night. He felt like the objects around him spoke a language which he was able to hear. For once, he felt the weight of the gentle swaying sea like the flash of his own intractable death that he had felt while reading the book.
Both the stories have a transformation effect. The people in "the handsomest drowned man in the world" see a change in themselves. The people in the story "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" change themselves after the funeral of the dead man. The dead person is a catalyst in this story. The village people are very different in their thoughts and the way they do things. The people lack motivation in their life. The town people live a gloomy life. The dead man gives them a motivation in life. The town people start worshipping the dead man. The drowned man motivates the town people to attempt for standards higher than what they had previously tried. (www.helium.com). In the other story "The New Life" by Orhan Pamuk, the book transforms the person. "The new life is a story about a young man whose life has been transformed after reading the book." (Rubin) The person sees a lot of changes in himself as he reads the book more and more. The book gives him a transformation effect. the person has the possession over his future . All the objects in the book are similar to that in his room. He finds this similarity very strange. He thinks as if someone has already written his thoughts in the book.
Both the stories have a catalyst. Both the stories are based on an imagination. The book transforms the reader in the story "The New Life" and the dead body transforms the people of the town in the story "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World". The way these things transform the people or the reader is quiet interesting. The reader in the new life thinks the book is based on his life and everything in the book has either happened with him or it is going to happen to him in the future. Whereas in the other story, the dead man's body gives motivation to the people in the town. They are fascinated by his huge size and everyone in the town starts talking about him.
The two stories, "The New Life" by Orhan Pamuk and "The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World" by Gabriel Garcia Marquez show us a way changes can take place in the society. The reader in "The new life" , sees a change in his life after reading the book. The book had adverse effect on him. It changed his soul. In the other story, the people are fascinated to see the huge size of the dead person. He was the most handsome, virile and the strongest person in the world. They change their house and bring a change in their town in order to give a tribute to the dead man which they thought of being Esteban. Both stories have a catalyst and the way these catalyst take place is quite different.
Rubin, Merle. "Turkish Best-seller Offers Parable about Reading." Christian Science Monitor 89.103 (23 Apr. 1997): 12. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Tom Burns and Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 185. Detroit: Gale, 2004. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 25 Nov. 2010.
Mani, B. Venkat. "Turkish-German Reattachments: Orhan Pamuk's The New Life." Cosmopolitical Claims: Turkish-German Literatures from Nadolny to Pamuk. Iowa City: University of Iowa Press, 2007. 146-182. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Jeffrey W. Hunter. Vol. 288. Detroit: Gale, 2010. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 25 Nov. 2010
Infotrac - Literature Resources from Gale - Critical Essay
Brent, Liz. "Overview of 'The Handsomest Drowned Man'.". Detroit: Gale Group, 2000. Literature Resources from Gale. Web. 5 Nov. 2010.