The Tiger's Wife

1519 Words7 Pages
Tea Obreht’s “The Tiger’s Wife” is a hybrid combination of both the fantastical and the real. By engaging with the various genres of the fairy tale, fable and realism, Obreht’s work extends the notions of genre in fiction, to a hyper-realistic portrayal of the Balkan Wars. When considering the two key tales in Obreht’s work, that of the “Deathless Man” and “The Tiger and the Tiger’s Wife” Obreht reveals a fantastical world immersed in Yugoslavian myth and ancient superstition. In contrast, there are elements in “The Tiger’s Wife” such as the protagonist Natalia and her grandfather’s relationship and work in medicine which add a realistic dimension to “The Tiger’s Wife” as well as an element of scepticism and doubt. By exploring these features of “The Tiger’s Wife”, it will be argued that Obreht purposefully writes in a combination of genres, to explore how truth can be acknowledged by the explanation of myth-making and story-telling. With the initial opening lines Obreht introduces the main protagonist, Natalia and her recollection of visiting the Tiger’s in the zoo with her grandfather, a doctor. Immediately, she senses the importance of the Tiger to her grandfather’s life as well as her own, captivated by her dialogue “I once knew a girl who loved tiger’s so much she almost become one herself.” Because I am little, and my love of tigers comes directly from him, I believe he is talking about me, offering me a fairy tale in which I can imagine myself – and will, for years and years.” Despite these fantastical elements of “The Tiger’s Wife” Obreht’s inspiration is derived from a historical background. Although the places Obreht names such as “the city” and “Galina” are vague, the violent landscape and war-torn cities are identifia... ... middle of paper ... ...ents of history, as a way to reach a higher truth. By the townsfolk of Galina sharing in stories about “The Tiger’s Wife” their gossip served as a coping mechanism in the turbulent times of war. Thus for Obreht, truth is found in symbolism rather than a linear presentation of history and fact. In conclusion, “The Tiger’s Wife” contains elements of realism, fabulism and fairy tale. Obreht’s style of writing is not fixated on a particular genre but rather embraces multiple perspectives and styles. Despite this, “myth making” and “story telling” are at the heart of “The Tiger’s Wife” and surpass the notion of historical truths. Ultimately, “The Tigers Wife” through the eyes of Natalia, expresses a journey that transforms what begins as a realistic landscape into a hyperbolic fable covering the scars of war through sentimental symbolism. Works Cited The Tiger's Wife
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