Gabriel Garcia Marquez the Genre Research Paper

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Gabriel Garcia Marquez

The Genre- One of the most interesting trends in modern literature is the combination of literary realism and the postmodern tradition. Literary realism, of course, focuses on the everyday cultural experience of everyday people who may, within their banal experience, do extraordinary things. The Postmodern movement, as a reaction to a number of 20th century trends, tends to be anti-establishment and looks for meanings hidden in the text, those meanings needing to be exposed and reflected through deconstructing that text (Perkins & Perkins, 2008).But what of the authors who tend to combine both genres -- those who are slightly anti-establishment, allow for deep contextual symbolism, but also find wonder in the everyday? Fortunately, that genre, and the combination of realism and postmodernism, has blossomed globally into a genre called magical realism. The term was actually used in 1925 by a German art critic who was commenting on a certain post-World War I style called "New Objectivity," later to be called lo real maravillosos (marvelous reality) in the prologue to a 1949 Carpentier novel called "The Kingdom of this World" (Abrams, 2004, 195).

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For the contemporary reader, magical realism is a genre in which magical, or some would say illogical, scenarios and events appear in a normal setting. The power of this genre seems to be the juxtaposition of the two elements -- magic and realism -- in that in an everyday, somewhat banal, setting; one does not really expect magic, the unexpected, the delightful, to happen without a logical explanation. Contrary to many critical explanations, the basic idea of this juxtaposition is not simply to entertain, but as a genre to provide a greater insight into the possibilities of both the human and divine -- of the belief that not everything that happens can, or should, be explained rationally and that as advanced a being as we are, there are still things to learn about the universe. Witness a famous Arthur C. Clarke's "Third Law" -- "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic" (

TOPIC: Research Paper on Gabriel Garcia Marquez the Genre- One of Assignment

Biography- One amazing example of this genre in the contemporary world is author and Nobel laureate Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Marquez, in fact, belongs in today's most important literary canon for his works that not only bring the Latin genre into prominence, but reflect a marvelous and magical blending of history, legends and folktales into contemporary consciousness.

Marquez was born in 1928 in a tiny Colombian village in the coastal region. He was the eldest of twelve children and predominantly raised by his maternal grandparents and an extended family of aunts and great aunts. These Grande dames were constant storytellers who wove legend, myth, and superstition into tales of heroism, love, and tragedy. His grandfather, on the other hand, was full of tales of past military might and nostalgia. The combination was to prove seminal for Marquez (Martin, 2009, 3-58).

After his grandfather's death, Gabriel when away to school, eventually studying journalism at the University of Cartagena. In 1950 he became a columnist for El Heraldo in the city of Barranquilla, and though abjectly poor, became acquainted with a number of writers, intellectuals, poets, and journalists. These poor but intellectually hungry individuals would meet at the local cafes to read and discuss world politics and great writers. It was here that Gabriel became acquainted with a number of authors who were to prove extremely influential to his life and later style: Hemingway, Faulkner, Virginia Woolf, Kafka, Joyce, and even Joseph Conrad (Bell-Villada, ed., 2005, inclusive).

In 1954 Marquez returned to Bogota, working for El Espectador and writing in his spare time. He won a national competition for a short story entitled, Un dia despues del sabado (One Day After Saturday), and published his first novel in 1955, La hojarasca (Leaf Storm). Over the next few decades a number of stories and books were written, his style developing and evolving especially after a move to Geneva, where he continued to work for Espectador as a European correspondent and also studied film, screenwriting, and directing. The editor of El Espectador thought it best to have Marquez out of the country for a time based on Marquez's controversial story about the shipwreck of a Columbian naval vessel and some governmental complicity and illegal activity. Marquez returned to Venezuela in 1958, switching to the publication Momento. He also married Mercedes Barcha. Up until this point in his life, his existence had been more like that of Ernest Hemingway; solitary and troubled writer. Instead, in Venezuela, with the publication of Los funeralies de la Mama Grande, his style changed to what would become his trademark -- focusing on allegory and hyperbole; with language that changed from a sparse and limited style to one rich with imagery and symbolism (Ibid.).

The late 1950s and early 1960s were a time of both political and intellectual turmoil for most Latin American intellectuals. Most, Marquez included, supported the Cuban revolution, believing that the Casto/Guevara political and social program was more egalitarian and would result in Latin America finally being able to modernize. From 1961 to 1965 Marquez wrote no fiction, but in January of 1965 he had a profound experience while touring in Mexico that resulted in the idea to finally tell the story of his life. This resulted in one of the finest books of the twentieth century, the acclaimed One Hundred Years of Solitude, which, in 1970, was chosen as one of the best books of the year by U.S. critics, allowing Marquez the kind of global success that would allow him to write full time (Bell-Villada).

From 1967 to 1974, Marquez and his family lived in Barcelona, then moving back to Latin America to write, lecture, teach, and support human rights issues. Marquez was presented with the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1982 for his international success as a storyteller, with One Hundred Years of Solitude being singled out for particular note. These themes of magical realism continued with El amor en los tiempos del colera (Love in the Time of Cholera, 1985). and, in a switch to the blending literary style with facts in his 1989 book, El general en su laberinto (the General in His Labyrinth). This book retells the story of Latin American hero Simon Bolivar, portraying a man of considerable imperfection despite his heroic vision. This has been the most criticized of all his works, with historians and certain patriotic groups finding its premise untenable (McCury, 2003).

In 1999 he was diagnosed with lymphatic cancer, but through treatment was able to beat the illness. This brush with death prompted him to rethink his life and to begin writing his memories. While his stories have taken on a darker hue, the 2008 Memoria de mis putas tristes (Memories of My Melancholy Whores) especially, he was purported to be working on a new novel. However, in April of 2009 his agent reported to the South American press that Marquez was unlikely to write again (Hamilos, 2009).

The Magic of Marquez -- One of the best ways of understanding Marquez, of course, is to read his the original language. His use of imagery and graphic symbolism is unpatrolled, not to mention evocative of a time and place that is colorful, imaginative, but still filled with pathos. It is perhaps this juxtaposition between love and death, pathos and elation, the routine of life and the vision of magic that make the works so accessible. In One Hundred Years of Solitude, for instance, we are introduced to the story of the Buendia family. Even from the opening line we are thrown into a world in which the present, past and future all intersect - of course possible only in the human psyche, "Many years later, as he faced the firing squad, Colonel Aureliano Buendia was to remember that distant afternoon when his father took him to discover ice." The primary focus of the novel is individual solitude, and what that constitutes for each person. For some, solitude is loneliness, for others seclusion, still for others, it is feeling isolated in the midst of a crowded room. However, it is the gift of this solitude and how each character both defines and develops that becomes the true empowering nature of this very human trait. This combines with the way solitude contributes to love and passion, or, at worst, how it prevents love and passion from actualizing. Like one of Marquez's favorite stories, Oedipus Rex, the very attempt at preventing a prophesy from occurring almost assures that it will take place. It is also in this novel that the reader can almost hear the influence of Marquez's Grandmother and Aunts telling story after story, of course relieving life the way it should have been had the young people only listened. Marquez acknowledged that in theme and motif this work literally shouts of magical realism, natural, he says, because of a long tradition of paganism intersperses with Catholicism, and such a vibrant ancestry. In one interview, Marquez noted:

Clearly, the Latin American… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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