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Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Magical Realism

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Submitted By nikki101091
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Gabriel García Márquez:
Life Influences and Magical Realism

September 19, 2012

Introduction The goal of this project proposal is to present background on the subjects of realism, magical realism, and Gabriel García Márquez. It will go in depth into Gabriel’s life as well as define the difference between realism and magical realism. The ultimate goal is to present a valid project idea pertaining to the three subjects previously mentioned; the project being a combination of a well-researched paper and other supplemental pieces.
Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel José García Márquez, born on March 6, 1928, is an accomplished story writer, journalist, screenwriter, and novelist. He has been presented with several awards and honors, including the 1972 Rómulo Gallegos Prize, the 1972 Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the 1981 French Legion of Honor, and the 1982 Nobel Prize in Literature. García Márquez was said to be one of the most significant authors of the 20th century. Not only are his works of literature successful, he is also noteworthy for the style with which he writes. He uses a magical realism style which takes realistic events and places, and adds an aspect of magic to them. García Márquez is the first widely known user of this style; he is often credited with commercializing it.
Gabriel García Márquez was born in Aracataca, Columbia on March 6, 1927 to Luisa Santiago Márquez Iguarán and Gabriel Eligio García. García Márquez was raised by his maternal grandparents, Colonel Nicolás Ricardo Márquez Mejía and Tranquilina Iguarán Cotes, because Colonel was not fond of the man his daughter had fallen in love with. Additionally, Luisa and Gabriel were poor and struggling; and it was common practice for grandparents to take on the task of raising the grandchildren while the parents took time to get on their feet.

Since his parents were strangers for the first few years of his life, the most influential people were his grandparents. The Colonel was a Liberal veteran who served in the War of a Thousand Days. He was seen as a hero to the costeños, people of the coastal Caribbean of Columbia; he helped found the village of Aracataca and spoke out about things such as the banana massacre. He lived an interesting life which led him to be a great storyteller. He would tell of his times in the war, but surprisingly told them as pleasurable events. The Colonel is thought to father over sixteen children, only two of which were legitimate; García Márquez’s mother was one of those two. García Márquez’s grandmother was just as much an influence on him as the Colonel was. She and her many sisters often told folk stories of superstitions. The Colonel warned Gabriel not to listen to his grandmother and aunts, but he listened all too well. His grandmother told stories in a very intriguing way. She would tell her stories as if they were facts set in stone, no matter how unrealistic or magical they may have seemed. She did this with a natural tone, not giving away any hint that she might not believe the stories she was reciting. This style would later be seen in García Márquez’s literature, especially in his most successful and well-known novel. Events in history such as the War of a Thousand Days, the Banana Strike Massacre, la violencia (“The Violence”) and the changes in the political system of Columbia were also great influences in Gabriel’s writing, including his novel One Hundred Years of Solitude.
Magical Realism Magical Realism is a literary style of fiction. This style takes reality or the real world and adds magical aspects. The magical elements of the story are presented as fact, alongside the real elements. Matthew Strecher, a Winona State University Assistant Professor, defines magic realism as “…what happens when a highly detailed, realistic setting is invaded by something too strange to believe.” Realism is the style of recreating the real world in a literary work. It is related to history, reality, naturalism, and rationalization. Magical realism is related to myth, fantasy, and imagination. Maggie Anne Bowers, author of Magic(al) Realism, states that magical realism “…relies upon the presentation of real, imagined, or magical elements as if they were real. It relies upon realism, but only so that it can stretch what is acceptable as real to its limits.” Magical realism is indeed a form of realism, simply because it is fiction does not cast it out of the realism genre. Barbara Foley, author of Telling the Truth: The Theory and Practice of Documentary Fiction, argues that all non-fiction and realism has a bit of fiction in it. Foley says that “reality is itself a fiction, a text, a linguistic convention.” By this, she means to say that reality is not exactly non-fiction as it is still being constructed and recreated whenever it is written. Foley quotes Robert Scholes who declares that “it is because reality cannot be recorded that realism is dead. All writing, all composition, is construction. We do not imitate the world, we construct versions of it. There is no mimesis, only poesis. No recording. Only constructing.” This only furthermore proves that reality is somewhat fabricated at times. Though this is not exactly the same concept of magical realism, it is going along the lines of believe what is in the literature. Readers pick up a piece of non-fiction and expect that it will be actual occurrences; when in reality, it is a constructed version of actual occurrences. Magical realism takes the real world and fabricates some fantastic or magical elements to put into the midst of reality.
For this project, Gabriel García Márquez’s life will be studied in depth to find the correlations between significant events in his life and his writing. A paper will be written to discuss the findings of his life’s influences as well as his influence upon literature, particularly in the field of magical realism. The paper will lay out García Márquez’s life; this will be done throughout the paper as well as in a condensed timeline. Conclusions will be drawn about what affects certain people and events had on his literature. In addition, the paper will concentrate on the magical realism in his work; where this style originated from, how García Márquez was a notable author in the popularizing of this literary style.
The people in his life will be key influences in his writing as well as the history of the many places he travelled and lived. In combination with this paper, a map of his travels may be a useful tool to provide a visual aid alongside the storyline of his life and works. The map will include details such as dates he stayed there, who he was with, what he accomplished while being there, etc.
In conclusion, this project will consist of a paper about Gabriel García Márquez, influences in his literature, and how he popularized magical realism as a literary style; a timeline and map of Gabriel García Márquez’s life will supplement the paper.
Bell-Villada, Gene H. Conversations with Gabriel García Márquez. University Press of Mississippi, 2006.
Bowers, Maggie Anne. Magic(al) Realism. Routledge, 2004.
Foley, Barbara. "Telling the Truth: The Theory and Practice of Documentary Fiction." Cornell University Press, n.d.
Márquez, Gabriel García. Collected Novellas. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1999.
—. Collected Stories. New York: Harper Perennial Modern Classics, 1999.
Ruch, Allen B. Gabriel García Márquez: The uncertain old man whose real existence was the simplest of his enigmas. 2 June 2003. <>.
Thomas, Dr. Bill. The Magic of Magical Realism. Changing Aging Blogstream, 3 May 2012. <>.
Zamora, Lois Parkinson and Wendy B. Faris. Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Duke University Press, 1995.

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