Magic Realism

Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s ”Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” is all magic in itself based on the impossibly large size of the beautiful dead man who has captured the awe of the people.   The villagers’ own disbelief at his size indicates that the dead man’s large size is unique and “even though they were looking at him there was no room for him in their imagination” (1).   Instances of magic in a real world include the changes in nature cause by the dead man.  He is responsible for the restlessness of the sea and the steadiness of the sea (1).  Marquez uses personification to further enhance the feeling of magic as “the sun’s so bright that the sunflowers don’t know which way to turn” and “the wind is so peaceful that now it’s gone to sleep beneath the beds” (3).

     The dead man’s memory is given human attributes as the villagers change their village so that his memory would be able to roam freely and comfortably.  The ability of a dead man to inspire such change in the village, to draw people from far away villages, and to be the subject of awe and fascination of future sailors and captains is magical.

Throughout his childhood, Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s grandmother told him countless myths, folk tales, superstitions and more of the like and Marquez found himself unable to seperate reality from myth, so that myth became reality.  Such mingling of reality and fantasy is, perhaps, a cause for Marquez’s use of magic realism all throughout his works.  Real worlds hinted with magical elements can be found in many of Marquez’s writing, especially his short story collections, and more famously, in his novel, One Hundred Years of Solitude, in which Marquez depicts the founding of the magical town of Macondo and traces the Buenida family for one hundred years. 

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