Magical Realism In application to Toni Morrisons Beloved

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Magical Realism In application to Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Magical Realism In application to Toni Morrison’s Beloved

Spectrum of modern genres Surrealism Fantasy Magical Realism Escapism Magic Science Fiction Supernatural Realism

Spectrum of modern genres Surrealism Fantasy Magical Realism Escapism Magic Science Fiction Supernatural Realism Expressionism

Realism Focus on showing life as it really is. They try not to romanticize

Realism Focus on showing life as it really is. They try not to romanticize or idolize or hyperbolize. Mark Twain, Stephen Crane, Dostoyevsky 19 th-20 th century Early realists focused on representing lives not previously seen in fine arts (women, the poor, workers, street life, ethnicities). Gustave Courbet, Stone-Breakers

Expressionism Presents the world in a subjective perspective, distorting it for emotional effect, to

Expressionism Presents the world in a subjective perspective, distorting it for emotional effect, to evoke moods or ideas. • Seeks emotional experience and represents that over physical realism. Hemingway, Faulkner, Joyce Beginning of 20 th century Ma

Surrealism Inserts irrational and dreamlike images or elements into realistic style or setting. Surprising

Surrealism Inserts irrational and dreamlike images or elements into realistic style or setting. Surprising and unexpected juxtapositions Seeks to engage the unconscious mind in creating works of imagination. 1920’s -40’s Salvador Dali, “Persistence of Memory”

Magical Realism • Michael Parkes “Gargoyles” • • • “ It is predominantly an

Magical Realism • Michael Parkes “Gargoyles” • • • “ It is predominantly an art of surprises. Time exists in a kind of timeless fluidity and the unreal happens as part of reality. ” “Magic becomes art when it has nothing to hide. ” “a world view that is not based on natural or physical laws nor objective reality” “make the unseen or hidden elements of society visible. ”

Elements included in Magical Realism • • • Hybridity - is illustrated in the

Elements included in Magical Realism • • • Hybridity - is illustrated in the inharmonious arenas of such opposites as urban and rural, and Western and indigenous. The plots of magical realist works involve issues of borders, mixing, and change… often Latin American, Native American, Middle Eastern Irony Regarding Author’s Perspective—The writer must have ironic distance from the magical world view for the realism not to be compromised. Authorial reticence refers to the lack of clear opinions about the accuracy of events and the credibility of the world views expressed by the characters in the text. Unusual sequence of events and POV – fragmented time sequences, flashbacks, stream of consciousness, frequently switching point of view The Supernatural and Natural—In magical realism, the supernatural is not displayed as questionable. Realistic setting and conflict (often points out or protests social or political concerns) Elements patterned on fairytales, tall tales, mythology, the mystic/spiritual, folklore, and a bond with the traditions or faith of a community. Events presented as absolutely real and often go unquestioned but have dreamlike or fairy-tale like qualities.

Well-known magical realist works • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude •

Well-known magical realist works • Gabriel Garcia Marquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude • Laura Esquivel, Like Water for Chocolate • Ben Okri, The Famished Road • Toni Morrison, Beloved • • • WP Kinsella, Shoeless Joe (made into the film, Field of Dreams) Salman Rushdie, Midnight’s Children These novels violate, in various ways, standard novelistic expectations by drastic experiments with subject matter, form, style, temporal sequence, and fusions of the everyday, the fantastic, the mythical, and the nightmarish, in renderings that blur traditional distinctions between what is serious or trivial, horrible or ludicrous, tragic or comic.

Problems with the term Magical Realism • • • Some claim that it is

Problems with the term Magical Realism • • • Some claim that it is a postcolonial hangover, a category used by "whites" to marginalize the fiction of the "other. " Others claim that it is a passé literary trend, or just a way to cash in on the Latin American "boom. " Still others feel the term is simply too limiting, and acts to remove the fiction in question from the world of serious literature.

Application to Beloved • • • Hybridity – morphing from the living to the

Application to Beloved • • • Hybridity – morphing from the living to the dead and the “living dead” (not zombies). Also morphing from African to American, from slave to free… Supernatural – a ghost haunts the house quite literally but also metaphorically. The ghost materializes into a girl (this is questionable but there are subtle hints) Realistic Setting: Set in 1873 just after the American Civil War (1861– 1865), it is based on the true story of the African. American slave, Margaret Garner, who escaped slavery in 1856 in Kentucky by fleeing to Ohio Experimental structure: non-linear, flashbacks, fragmentation in stories, multiple POV switching frequently, stream of consciousness Incorporation of African folklore and beliefs about death

What we need to look for… • • How does Morrison’s techniques (elements of

What we need to look for… • • How does Morrison’s techniques (elements of magical realism) affect our interpretation and experience of this story? How does magical realism and the structure of the story reinforce themes and meaning of the work as a whole?