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Magical Realism; Natural and Fantastical

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What is “magic”? One dictionary definition describes the word as “Any mysterious and overpowering quality that leads singular distinction and enchantment”, and another as “Possessing distinctive qualities that produce unaccountable of baffling events” (“Magic”). Magical realism as a literary technique encompasses all literary documents that weave any supernatural elements into the natural world, has integrated itself into many modern texts, and has close cousins in the literary genre universe.
For most people, the first thing that comes to mind when a person says “magic” is a group of persons with wands conjuring all sorts of fanciful images from thin air. Similarly, magical realism is a literary technique that combines a “…rational view of reality and … the acceptance of the supernatural as prosaic reality…” (Moore). The entirety of the idea is that supernatural and natural parts can coexist in a completely plausible way. The characteristics of such a classification involve a hybrid quality, “illustrated in the inharmonious arenas of such opposites as urban and rural and Western and indigenous… borders, mixing and change”, and ambiguity in regards to the “accuracy of events and the credibility of the world views expressed by the characters…” while keeping the supernatural happenings unquestionable (Moore).
The first recorded appearance of magical realism occurred as an art category described by Fran Roh, an art critic, who saw it as “a way of representing and responding to reality and pictorially depicting the enigmas of reality.” (Moore). Later, around the 1940’s, “magical realism was a way to express the realistic American mentality and create an autonomous style of literature.” in Latin America (Moore). This particularl...

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...ical realism can be found almost anywhere the extraordinary and ordinary collide, stems from artistic roots yet is found in several modern literary works, and holds its own against fantasy and science fiction stereotypes. The use of magical realism can create interest in almost any plot line, and can intensify messages or themes to the reader.

Works Cited

Dubey, Madhu. "The politics of Genre in Beloved." Novel (A Forum on Fiction) 32. 2(1999):187. eLibrary. Web. 15 Feb. 2014.
"Fantasy." Encyclopedia Britannica. Encyclopedia Britannica INC., 19 Sept. 2012. Web. 15 Feb 2014.
"Magic." THE AMERICAN HERITAGE DICTIONARY OF THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE. New York: 1969.
Moore, Lindsay. ""Magical Realism"." Postcolonial Studies at Emory Pages. N.p., n.d. Web. 13 Feb 2014.
Nexon, Daniel. ""Harry Potter" and Magical Realism." CBS News. Scholastic, 20 Jul 2007. Web. 15 Feb 2014.
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