Whether or not "The Day We Were Dogs" (1993) is a magical realist story is questionable. Often stories are misidentified because of the closeness of literature such as magical realism, the fantastic, and the sublime. The story leaves a lot to one's imagination instead of presenting it in the text. Elena Garro blends two days and two completely different worlds together in this story.
The magical elements depend on how one uses his or her imagination throughout this story. The girls could either be pretending to be dogs or they could have actually become dogs. If they are in fact real dogs, they are able to talk, and their dog Toni also talks. Also, magic numbers are used throughout the story. The main magical element is the blending of the two days. The story jumps back and forth between the two and never distinguishes between them.
The realistic elements include Toni's actions. He shows how dogs spend their days lying under a tree and eating all day. Another realistic element depends on how one accepted the events that happened within the two parallel days. If the girls were not actually turned in to dogs but were just pretending, then this fact is another realistic element. Children often pretend they are animals, expecially dogs.
In magical realism, "the text contains something we cannot explain according to the laws of the universe as we know them" (Faris 167) and the "descriptions detail a stong presence of the phenomenal world" (Faris 169). These quotes explain why one might think that this story is magical realism due to the two different worlds that are going on at the same time. Also, one "experience[s] the closeness or near-merging of two realms, two worlds" (Fari...
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...l Realism: Theory, History, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris. Durham; N.C.: Duke UP, 1995. 249-263.
Garro, Elena. "The Day We Were Dogs." Latin American Writers: Thirty Stories. Ed. Gabriells Ibieta. New York, N.Y.: St. Martin's Press, Inc., 1993. 206-212.
Faris, Wendy B. "Scherazade's Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction." Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris. Durham; N.C.: Duke UP, 1995.
Sandner, David. "Romanticism and Transcendence in Nineteenth-Century Children's Fantasy Literature." The Fantastic Sublime. Westport, C.T.: Greenwood Press. 45-65, 142-147.
Theim, Jon. "The Textualization of the Reader in Magical Realist Fiction." Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris. Durham; N.C.: Duke UP, 1995. 235-247.
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