The Invention of the World

1068 Words5 Pages
In The Invention of the World, Jack Hodgins invites us to consider an alternative dystopia in which fantasy and reality converge to create sense and constance in an otherwise chaotic existence. Unleashing an arsenal of characters in two parallel worlds, Hodgins attempts to uncover the mysteries of people, and he delves into the paradoxical genre of magic realism, a term coined by Franz Roh in 1925, to achieve this. Focussing on characterization, The Invention of the World offers sufficient surrealism to provide fictional entertainment, whilst cleverly grounding his mythical tale in a relatable reality inspired by history and realism. Specifically, Hodgins offers a lens into the lives of a number of characters. Arguably, Maggie Kyle and Wade Powers achieve contentment on their pilgrimage to Ireland through self-reflection and internal enlightenment; conversely, Kineally and Becker, seek to achieve their constance through the manipulation, exploitation and dependence on other people in their lives. Hodgin’s novel traces the journey of these characters and evokes consideration of the effects of our choices on the long-term equilibrium of our existence and self-enlightenment. From the beginning of the tale, the motif of travel predominates. As Becker “[waves] your car down the ramp onto the government ferry...” (vii) we are not only introduced to the setting, but also the idea that Becker has a certain authority and inclination to control that journey. As Becker researches, documents and attempts to quantify the tale of Donal Keneally and his rise as founder of the “Colony of the Revelation of Truth”, we learn of his dissonance and inability to find contentment. Becker’s energy on the pilgrimage “[was] wild with trying to take eve... ... middle of paper ... ...17). With Wade’s turbulent waters eventually settled by Maggie, this resonating re-birth enables both characters to realize a happiness that can only be found within. To conclude, Hodgins’s entrancing tale merges fact with fiction, magic with reality, and chaos with romance. While Becker and Keneally ultimately fail in their attempts to create, using pride and ambition as fuel towards constancy, Hodgins creates a poetic final scene in which Wade and Maggie Powers symbolically unite in matrimony, ironically wed by Horseman, Wade’s sagely nemesis, amongst the chaos of thrown insults, wielded chainsaws, food fights and terrible music, Maggie is, significantly, able to “[stand up, beside her husband, ready” (353). Through the magic of myth, Hodgins teaches us to find a place where we can be satisfied, enjoy who we are, and appreciate the important people around us.
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