Magical Realism: Like Water for Chocolate"
Magical Realism is a term first described by the Cuban writer Alejo Carpentier in his 1949 essay, "Lo marvavillso real" (marvelous reality). This term is often used to describe literary works that contain fantastic elements and incorporates characteristics such as hybridity, the supernatural, and the natural. Irony regarding the author's perspective and authorial reticence are also features of this genre. In her novel, "Like Water for Chocolate," Laura Esquival uses this literary technique. (Moore pp. 1-2) Laura Esquivel keeps the narrator at a distance from fantastic elements in "Like Water for Chocolate," while allowing the narrator to respect magical elements. This technique is called "irony regarding the author's perspective (Moore 2)." Esquivel pulls this off by introducing the narrator at the beginning of the book, explaining that the narrator is a great-niece of Tita and the book that follows is a diary left from her aunt. Thereforore, this gives the narrator distance, but also makes the magical elements seem "real" because they are from a diary. These "magical" elements are never questioned or explained. This technique is called authorial reticence, which refers, "to the lack of clear options about the accuracy of events and the credibility of the worldview expressed by the characters in the text (Moore 2)." This in turn, promotes acceptance in magical realism. Not once, throughout the novel does the narrator try to explain the supernatural elements of the book. Instead, it is left up to the reader to compromise the elements of realism. Supernatural elements are not considered questionable or irrational in novels containing magical realism (Moore 2). Instead, the supernatural is incorporated within the natural elements of the literary work, so that it does not take precedence over realism. Tita's birth portrays this: "The way Nacha told it, Tita was literally washed into this world on a great ride...
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