Sarah Orne Jewett's "The Foreigner," Kate Chopin's "An Egyptian Cigarette" and Willa Cather's "The Enchanted Bluff" are all stories that contain Magic Realism Magic Realism is typically defined as a construct of many writers from Third World countries. This style of writing realistic fiction wherein the extraordinary occurs and is not thought of as unusual has been described as a way of breaking away from the constraints of linear time and hierarchical thinking: in other words, as a way of escaping the patriarchal modes of writing that have dominated these often post-colonial countries. The definition of this form of fiction writing can be expanded to include women as representatives of repressed cultures. As writers, these women were often trivialized as "scribblers" during a time women could not even vote, and they could be considered "colonized" by their culture. Therefore, Sarah Orne Jewett's "The Foreigner," Kate Chopin's "An Egyptian Cigarette" and Willa Cather's "The Enchanted Bluff" are all stories that can and should be discussed in the context of Magic Realism-- do they or do they not fit within this style of re-writing reality?
Each of these writers depicts "magic" differently. Their degree of acceptance for these unorthodox events in realistic fiction reflects their willingness to "bend the rules" of traditional fiction. Sarah Orne Jewett's "The Foreigner" is a story which features some very interesting magic elements that place her firmly "outside" of straightforward fiction with this story. Her characters, Mrs. Todd and Mrs. Tolland, are incredible images of witchiness in the midst of Protestant propriety, and in this short story ...
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... her story describes a supernatural place, cannot be defined as "Magic Realist." She, along with her characters, is too much grounded in "this world."
These three women authors approach magic situations in a realistic setting in entirely different manner, and this manner reflects the difficulties that these women felt with their own communities. Jewett and Chopin seem much more ready to accept difference, whereas Cather struggles with her "art." Writers of Magic Realism are experimenting with new elements, rejecting the "laws" of realistic fiction because of the repressive nature of those rules and rule-givers. Jewett, Chopin and Cather all depict a brush with some sort of "magic" and the success of their characters' acceptance of that experience reflects each author's struggle with the patriarchal writing community, and its rules of realistic fiction
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