Magical Realism in The handsomest drowned man in the world
Magical realism is a genre that portrays both reality and fantasy. As defined by Faris (2004) in Ordinary enchantments, magical realism is a genre of writing that includes an irreducible element of magic and details that suggest phenomenon (Faris, 2004, p. 7). He describes the irreducible element as: “…something we cannot explain according to the laws of the universe as they have been formulated in Western empirically based discourse…” (Faris, 2004, p. 7). In Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s short story, The handsomest drowned man in the world, the facets of magical realism are rife. He uses magical realism to enchant the reader. The story is of a small cliff-side and coastal community that is inhabited by about twenty people and is barren, flowerless land. This village is forever changed by the arrival of an awe-inspiring corpse. The elements of magical realism start to appear when this body that has washed ashore is of a man who is unimaginably beautiful, taller than any person they had ever seen, and is not rotted; although, any corpse traveling through the ocean should have been rotted by then. The villagers immediately take him in as one of their own. They name him Esteban and imagine what their lives would be like with him around. This story is in a realistic environment, but the features of this man they have found are “magical” almost, and the fact that they so effortless accept him is one of the factors that constitute this short story as magical realism. The elements of magical realism are exposed as Marquez compels readers to question their way of thinking by portraying characters and situations that illustrate phenomenon and extreme faith. The villagers show tremendous faith in their immediate acceptance, instead of questioning and fear, of the astonishing drowned man who has so many qualities that are above and beyond that of a normal human being. “…the drowned man was becoming all the more Esteban...
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