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Gabriel Garcia Marquez is one of the most important exponents in the literary sphere that surrounds the world, commonly known as El Gabo can be considered as the most important Latin-American novelist of all times. Also developing his writing skills as a journalist and a shor-story writer, “El Gabo” reached his peak of greatness in 1982 when he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature. As the writer of worldwide recognized novels as One Hundred Years of Solitude (100 Años de Soledad), Love in the Time of Cholera (Amor en Tiempos de Colera) and Chronicle of a Death Foretold (Cronica de una Muerte Anunciada), Gabriel Garcia Marquez have developed and revolutionized the aesthetic style “Magic Realism”. The ability of combining the reality and fantasy in a story erasing the thin line that divides both scopes making the normal magical and the magical normal is what defines Magical Realism, the early influences of Franz Kafka in The Metamorphosis when Marquez’s was still a student surprised him and made him adapt Magical Realism to the Latin-American environment which is much more different than the European. The Latin-American cultural elements are pinted in every line of El Gabo’s novels and short stories, practically reflecting the 20th Century’s Country-life. In the following stories; Leaf Storm (La Hojarasca), A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings (Un señor muy Viejo con unas Alas Enormes) and The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and her Heartless Grandmother (La Increible y Triste Historia de la Candida Erendira y de su Abuela Desalmada), the protagonists are all in conflict with a change in their normal perpesctive of what they define as society, they cope with this by solving the unavoidable and reshaping their perspective of society, which along with the Magic Realism and similar symbols, reveal a theme that describes from the root level what compose the Colombian and Latin-American Culture.
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“Leaf Storm” (La Hojarasca) is a story which reflects town created by Marquez in his mind but containing all the characteristics of a Latin-American town, -Macondo- as the town is called is conformed by a small amount of families after the war. During the permanence of a very important Company in the town, Macondo had its welfare and was described as a nice place to live. As the time went by, the Company left Macondo leaving just, leaving the town radically different a place where the debris had combined with a smell and a presence “junk” characterized the town for the rest of the years. Macondo is an excellent reflection of how the Industry works in the Third-World Countries, A Company that built a town raised schools, hospitals, agriculture then leaves when all the money is collected in order to leave the whole town in bankruptcy. This is a way to criticize the political situations encountered by Third-World countries where the habitants of small towns live with this reality.
“Everyone will have gone then except us, because we’re tied to this soil by a roomful of trunks where the household goods and clothing of grandparents are kept, and the canopies that my parents’ horses used when they came to Macondo, fleeing from the war. We’ve been sown into this soil by the memory of the remote dead whose bones can no longer be found twenty fathoms under the earth. The trunks have been in the room ever since the last days of the war; and they’ll be there this afternoon when we come back from the burial, if that final wind hasn’t passed, the one that will sweep away Macondo, its bedrooms full of lizards and its silent people devastated by memories.” (Leaf Storm)
“Leaf Storm” presents some of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s greatest evidence of Magical Realism when he starts working with the time line of the story and the perspective of narration, because the story’s narration is divided in three different angles which represents three generations of the family (Father, Daughter and Grandson) and each one has a different point of view according to every situation. This led the reader to understand each point of view in order to feel what Gabriel’s is really trying to transmit. Even though its complicity, “La Hojarasca” attaches the reader as one more citizen of Macondo, an excellent way to apply Magical Realism.
The main theme on Leaf Storm is Death, by the moment the Company left Macondo the whole town was surrounded by a feeling of death. All characters and situations transmits death to the reader, giving the idea that Macondo will die at some point.
“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” (Un Senor muy Viejo con unas Alas Enormes) tells the story of a man that after a storm is founded, the special thing about him is that he had wings. The old man is left in the backyard of a house and where the owners Elisenda and Pelayo take him and treat him as a circus attraction, because the people thought he was an “Angel”. This story reflects and criticize how Latin-American society reacts to something they are not used; a new phenomenon, the faith of the people that went to the circus looking for a miracle is very characteristic on how the Latin-American society deals with faith. The idea of thinking that something you have not seen before is blessed and was brought by a higher power is evidence of ignorance that also surrounds Latin-America society, the ones that made any kinds of wishes to the “Angel” then fell in the disillusion when they realized none of their wishes became real. The ignorance is the cause of their disillusion this is very common in Latin-America, and -in my opinion- Venezuela, my country, would never be a developed country until ignorance is eliminated among their citizens.
“His huge buzzard wings, dirty and half-plucked were forever entangled in the mud. They looked at him so long and so closely that Pelayo and Elisenda very soon overcame their surprise and in the end found him familiar.” (A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings)
Magical realism is presented in this novel as the tendency to combine fantasy (a man with wings) to a completely real scenario, as Pelayo and Elisenda found the old man familiar does not demonstrates the reaction of today’s society towards a man with wings. As the story continued, another important event happened; a young child is turned into a Spider because she disobeyed her parents. This gives the town a story full of repentant and afflictions, and takes away the small amount of faith and fame that the old man have left. By this time, Pelayo and Elisanda had already made a fortune out of the old man, building a mansion for themselves. Pelayo and Elisenda did not care about the old man’s destiny because they already have taken profit away from him. They just took advantage of the Angel’s patience and disinterest about what surrounds him, and the people’s ignorance which led them to admire the angel; that is what made Pelayo and Elisenda rich and wealthy, the Latin-American culture. This occurs every day with the new technologies; for example, a new phone is presented by a group of “genius” where they make everyone think their creation will make your world easier in order to take a profit out of you.
The narrative technique of this story is what makes it comprehensible, the narrator is presented as omniscient and practices the perspectivism technique which consists in telling the story in one perspective. So the story is not told by telling the facts as they happened, the story is told by telling the story as the narrator thinks and understand about the facts that happened. The story line also helps, the story being presented in one, straight narration does not confuses the reader as in Leaf Storm.
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“A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is presented by Marquez a social critique to how new a phenomenon or an idea is presented to a society, and how people’s mentality reacts to it. Marquez tries to explain that this reaction process to new things is cyclical and universal.
“The Incredible and Sad Tale of Inoccent Erendira and her Heartless Grandmother” (La Increible y Triste Historia de la Candida Erendira y de su Abuela Desalmada) is a story presented by Gabriel Garcia Marques, it narrates the story of Erendira a fourteen-year-old teenager that by accident incinerates her grandmother’s house. Erendira lived with her grandmother since her father’s death; they lived in the middle of the desert in a small town. As Erendira brings down the house with the accidental fire, her grandmother considers is time for Erendira to start paying back what she has taken away from the grandmother. Before the fire Erendira was been partially exploded by doing domestic labors for her grandmother, but after the fire everything went worst and Erendira started to be exploded sexually in order to her grandmother to earn money. The lived in a mobile tent moving from town to town until all the men from every town have used Erendira’s services, Erendira realized that at that rhythm she would die by exhaustion at some point. Ulises is a man who is in love with Erendira, she asked her to kill her grandmother. After many attempts he succeed, both take away the grandmother’s gold and escape.
This story explains how young adults’ prostitution worked out at the 20th Century Latin-American society, where most of the prostitution occurred by exploding teenagers without caring if they are relatives. Many families worked that way in order to gain money and stay at the same level, families did this as a last resort before poor.
This story can also be interpreted as a metaphor, describing the attitude of developed countries (The Grandmother) over sub-developed countries (Erendira).
As Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes, “Her monumental size had increased” (The Incredible and Sad Tale of Innocent Erendira and her Heartless Grandmother) referring to the grandmother. Marquez describes how the grandmother started to grow in Erendira’s perspective where she was the victim of all abuses committed by her grandmother, Erendira could only wait for a miracle because as she was turning weaker her grandmother kept growing and growing.
Gabriel Garcia Marquez writes with the intention of making a mixture of any extraordinary experience into the reality life, his stories are full of magical occurrences which are not considered as extraordinary in the story as it would be in real life. In “A Very Old Mas with Enormous Wings” the town is conglomerated by the appearance of a man with wings; an angel, which destiny is to live at his first discoverers orders. In “Leaf Storm” the story reflects the story line of a town abandoned by the Company that founded it, and the villagers had to deal with many drawbacks in order to keep the town away from bankruptcy. The reflection of the 20th Century living style of the Latin-American country life is Marquez’s first concern, it goes either to criticize it or let the reader feel reflected on the story. His stories talk about religion, faith, death, disputes, reactions, problems, and many other factors that define a society different from another.
As “El Gabo” said, “Magical realism expands the categorizes of the real so as to encompass myth, magic and other extraordinary phenomena in Nature or experience which European realism excluded”. (Gabriel Garcia Marquez)
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