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Magical realism is the use of realistic elements instance with the use of magic that will help portray an unconventional reality to readers. The use of magical realism is mainly to portray some events that some readers may not be in a position to understand reality. Applying a unique style of magical realism in the story “A very old man with enormous wings” that uses realistic details approach sheds light on how magical realism expands the categories of realism and encompassing magic and myth in nature.
Gabriel Garcia marquez uses magical realism to invoke a literary custom that is both intertextual and transnational in nature. The author’s use of magical realism is seen throughout the story. The author uses realistic details along with magical aspects. He is successful at joining the ordinary with fantasy in such a way that he invites the reader to accept both; in order to make sense out of the story.
Gabriel plays an influential role in developing the style and thus we get to associate it with him. This style of writing blurs the line between contrasting elements like between serious and trivial matters and in trying to connect between two traditions; the high literary and the low folkloric. Garcia’s writing testifies a style that resonates well with readers hence the popularity of the story A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings.” He tries to combine the homely details of Elisenda and Pelayo’s life with fantastic elements including the spider woman and the flying man. This helps create a tone of equality in local fairytale and color. Garcia starts this right away when the story starts coming in an unusual way. An example is the description of the relentless rain, “the world has been sad…” and another example is when Elisenda and Pelayo are shocked to see the angel, but they do not question its existence. It is astonishing that the reality of the situation is not mistrusted; nevertheless, the angle is an astounding manifestation. They say, “He’s an angel” “He must have been coming for the child, but the poor fellow is so old that the rain knocked him down” (204).
The term “magical realism” is relatively a new word. “Magical realism” was a term coined in the late 1940s by novelist Alejo Carpentier in describing the matter-of-fact combination of reality and fiction in Latin America literary. It was also used in Europe to describe a similar inclination in postwar Germany. Magical realism is now being used as the standard name for a main trend in contemporary fiction. Garcia’s story is no different in employing magical realism. The plot of “A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings” is a drab that employs the use of magical elements. Garcia’s style combines elements in ordinary life and the elements of fantasy combined with magic. It can be easily said that the work of magical realism in Garcia’s story invites the reader to consider it ordinary happenings as magical. We finally realize that magical realism creates a complex and problematic world that is free of maxims. Garcia’s story can be read on different levels; as deceptively simple or the complex part of it that calls into question the way in which humans can make sense of the world they are living in (the realism and its major permutations like naturalism and a socialist realism). If the story is read in a symbolic way, then one can easily conclude that the winged old man represents the mysteries of this world and the next world: we do not understand whether he is mortal or a supernatural being and thus beyond our comprehension.
Therefore, the book demonstrates Garcia’s ability to tell a story in a realistic manner but at the same time he is able to incorporate the magic of the angel. It seems that the angel is the catalyst for the family to recover from destitution. Before the angel arrived, the family was a simple and poor with a son who was almost dying. But with the entry of the angel, the family’s fortunes changes: there are substantial financial gains for the family and the son recovers. It shows how an (incredible) being falls to the earth and the human’s make a great buck out of it. But in a twist of things, the family later resents the angel and whished it to vanish. We are used to a simplistic ending of fairy tales but in Garcia’s story, the characters exploit Nature up to when it flies away without any word. Unfortunately though, the angel does not fulfill its destiny of taking away the soul of the dying child, “…he was no longer an annoyance in her life but an imaginary dot of the horizon of the sea” (210).
Magical realism is able to expand and categorize the real world in such a way as to encompass myth, magic and any other amazing phenomenon. Gabriel Garcia uses this style of magical realism to blend fantasy and reality such that the differences between the two are blurred. A classic example is when the angel is found by Elisenda and Pelayo and they are shocked to see the angel, but they do not question its existence. It is astonishing that the reality of the situation is not mistrusted; nevertheless, the angle is an astounding manifestation. Garcia thus clearly mingles fantasy and ordinary in such a way that there is a thin line between absurdity and reality. This story provokes discussions about religion, exploitation, suffering, deliverance and search for divine healing.
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