Sunday, February 7, 2010


oh how I wish I could fill up my blog describing the magnificence of this Sunday's super bowl :)
not to worry instead I will summarize my general overview of Asturias and Carpentier. The magical realism novels we have read as part of ESPN 365. I really am awed at the works. I find the idea of mixing together magical elements in a historical context a very ingenious way of teaching the important part, which I figure to be the historical information. Asturias' Legends of Guatemala takes the reader to an absolutely foreign experience. As a reader I felt alien, but at the same there was an appealing factor that circulated through the stories and therefore completely comfortable. My experience in reading Asturias was one in which he allowed to be almost as a spiritual journey, because there was such power in his descriptions. Power that came from the natural world. I could not stop thinking of AVATAR the movie. It reminded me of the energy connection the AVATAR'S have with PANDORA, similarly to the connection the Guatemalan inhabitants have with their world. A connection that is deeper than those of colonial Europe. The connection is not with the economic wealth and resources of the new world, as it is for colonial Europe. Rather it is with the divine, power and spiritual beauty of their ancient world. On this note, it is easy to tie into El reino de este mundo, and the fight for a homeland the people identify with and are able to build their identity from. The Revolution in Haiti is revealed as a struggle on both sides. Carpentier subjects the Europeans and through his use of magical elements is able to explain a sense of out of placement and inability to understand the people nor the world in which they have chosen to still. In choosing to colonize in Haiti is as if they consciously rob a people of their identity. A sense of patriotism comes from the myths and ancient stories of the world. It's very cool to make connections between the two works. I believe there is a parallel with what the genre of these two works say and what they represent. Magical realism is an intertwining of the historical and the fantastical, fact with fiction. But for the indigenious people of the new worlds, the magical WAS their history. Here I find a better understanding for the lo real marvilloso, because again what is REAL is the marvelous happening that are also impossible to describe in a European historical sense. Finally, the magical realism, signifies the European (realist) world trying to assimilate themselves into the indigenious (magical world), and what I mean by that, is trying to change the way of life as it is for the indigenious people. Much can be lost in translation but there is greater loss in the attempts to force the opposition to understand a language they don't speak.

1 comment:

  1. Was this year's Superbowl (a mythic event if ever there was one) also an instance of magical realism, eh? ;)

    I wonder about your feeling "alien." Do you think that these texts are deliberately exoticizing Latin America? (This is a charge that could perhaps be laid on magical realism.) On the other hand, your point that "for the indigenious people of the new worlds, the magical WAS their history" is also a good one.

    To put this another way: does such stress on the mythical, magical, or mystical merely seem strange, or does it help us imagine other ways to view history and/or reality?