Sunday, April 18, 2010

Span 365 reflection

In the middle of Wiki edits and writing my paper I finally found a moment to give a brief reflection. I wasn’t sure what to expect coming into Span 365. I have always had an interest in understanding what magical realism was about and figured it would be kind of interesting to get a chance to analyze and discuss the authors and their works. At first I found it a little intimidating to express my own thoughts about our readings because I wasn’t really sure where to begin. But as the term progressed I felt more comfortable about it. I had a better sense of direction in terms of what to look for and how to convey these interpretations via the ‘blog’ or in class. The course began with analyzing magical realism in stages and it was interesting to see the progression throughout the course examining it as it became more complex. My favorite book that we read is El reino de este mundo. It was my first time reading it and don’t think it will be my last. These novels allowed me to become exposed to Latin-American literature and I found this class made it an enjoyable and fun experience. Thanks Jon for making it a fun class and all the best to the entire class.

Thursday, April 8, 2010


I had an interest to learn a little more behind the McOndo movement and decided to read further into some articles and reviews. It was interesting to first learn how Fuguet had come about the idea just after being denied to publish one of his works in the U.S. The reason for the rejection, as per the publisher, was because it did not follow the ‘magical’ formula that was expected of the Latin-American author. Out of his frustration and to prove that Latin-American authors can write more than just within the magical realism genre he set out on the McOndo movement. As a result, McOndo was able to now create an interest and to showcase the literary abilities that do not focus solely on the magical realism genre. But it turns out there is a little more to it than that. As it all became a David and Goliath scenario where the big business and big corporations, in this case the publishers in the US that initially denied Fuguet, saw that the magical realism genre was in demand and that is where the profits were to be made. And instead of Fuguet going along with it, he saw the injustice in all of this; that you are essentially denying the artistic ability of other authors a chance to publish their works and to allow creativity to flourish. Similar to the circumstances of small businesses being pushed out buy the Walmart types or the Microsoft’s that buy out small companies to take over their patents etc. and reduce the competition. With works from other authors they found the inspiration and a way to break the mold of what was expected of them. As the movement gained popularity so did its success in publishing a larger variety and body of works.

Friday, April 2, 2010

summary of readings

As mentioned in the beginning of the term magical realism was going to be introduced to us in moderation. Three different writers who all used different approaches in the use of magical realism in their works allowed for a well-rounded analysis that made the understanding difficult at times and yet intriguing and entertaining. We covered Asturias in Leyendas de Guatemala in which magical realism was introduced to explain the origins of the region with the fantastic, imaginative and creative use of nature and its surroundings which came alive. The living world was interacting with man and created a reality that one could only imagine. The author Asturias wrote in a way that brought his imagination and dreams alive to seem believable. With the use of colorful and poetic words and phrases he was able to really draw the reader into his narration of his description of nature, wildlife and forests. Carpentier’s El Rey De Este Mundo touches on a different subject, that of politics and a nation that is deeply divided. In comparison to Leyendas this book was more of a darker approach into the magical realism. One that focused on more difficult and sensitive issues such as racism, segregation, religion, and freedom. What is also different is that the merging of historical accuracies blending in with the fantastic through the narrative and description of the historical context during a time of transition and self-discovery of a new nation and its new found freedoms. Finally, in Garcia Marquez’s Cien Años de Soledad the central theme revolves around the premise of destiny and prophecy and how we follow and observe the slow demise of the Buendía family. Cien Años reflects the chronological order in which we have read this works as we went from Asturias, which covered the origins and discovery, to Carpentier which focused on the recent-present times with Haiti’s recent events and now Marquez which introduces the future and destiny which is a somewhat interesting connection among the readings.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

cien años de soledad-entry 3

A little late on this write up! This flu season just doesn’t go away!!
The last few chapters of Cien Años de Soledad was really what got me intrigued and interested how the novel will ultimately end. I was not particularly interested in the part of the readings where the family relations that were occurring were within the Buendia family. Also, the mention of the devastation by the read ants kind of threw a twist that did not make a whole lot of sense. I read it over a few times to try to understand its meaning as I determined that they were being plagued with a curse of misfortune. Their indecent relations had also resulted in a child (Aureliano III) that was born with a pig’s tail. The integrity of family seems to fall apart at this point. As the last surviving members I suppose Aureliano and Úrsula have to find a way to survive and keep the Buendía name alive within Macondo which has now become desolate. It is interesting to see the futile attempts they are doing as the town does not have a favorable destiny as the end of the book ends up showing us. As the family has reached an ultimate end in its existence so to has the town of Macondo almost as a reflection of each other. All of this seems to suggest, at least to Aureliano II that their end is near and has the chance to determine the prophecies that were unfortunately understood a little too late. Along these lines the importance of time, as mentioned in class, is that it has come around bringing with it the past and the present which ties in the prophecies which has lead us to this point. It is an interesting perspective that Marquez suggests that eventually a family, like the Buendia’s and its history can die out over time. In a way, it is destined to end itself.

Monday, March 15, 2010

cien años de soledad-entry 2

As I have now began to get organized in understanding better the breakdown of the characters and what there roles are I am now in line with where the class was about a week ago! At first it was difficult to determine the characters as they have many of the same names and to later understand the breakdown of generations and determining the family descendents and their roles I followed it better. I enjoyed reading the book so far because of the imagination of Marquez mixing with the history and the magical. What I have noticed so far is that Marquez has combined accurate, or realistic, accounts with the magical. By blending these two together is has created an enjoyable read which really keeps curious of how each Buendia generation contributes to the story and their interesting backgrounds. The uniqueness of the characters is what really drew me in and I was always curious about how their personal stories would go. The idea to come in and out of reality as I would read along made it an interesting writing style and it felt as though the Marquez was letting the story challenge itself by allowing it to venture off, back and forth, from real to magical as if to give it its own life and the story would play with its freedom to go and invent itself. The magic kind of developing out of situations in the daily life of the characters and the scenarios.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

cien años de soledad-entry 1

I have found Cien Años de Soledad a bit difficult to read as I have had to go over a few passages on numerous occasions. I remember reading the English version many years ago so I have that to refer to but the read is going a little slower hence the late entry. I found the reading to be a little mysterious as details are not presented in clarity. There is a certain aspect that the author García Márquez is attempting to reveal all in due time which I find interesting. The characteristics of magical realism that I found so far to be used are the exaggerations that Márquez uses in his writing. Some of which have been a little incredible compared to others. You know it is a good book when you spend long hours reading it before you put it down and there are some late nights during the reading break where I found myself into the early mornings. And it didn’t help when I spent most of my time with the throngs of people in Vancouver and Whistler during the Olympics. There is so much going on with a variety of characters that I have to really stay close to the details or I will miss the order of what is happening to each person. In comparing to the two versions of English and Spanish I have found that the vocabulary is definitely fancier literature than how it is translated. Reading certain passages in Spanish made no sense and I had to compare it to the English text which in most cases I was definitely way off the translation. But as I slowly progress I am getting use to the process and getting everything to flow a little better. As in our previous readings the level and quality of literature slowly advances to the more difficult and at the same time the magical realism is being presented in a different light and entering into greater depths of the genre. The characteristics of magical realism that I found so far to be used are the exaggerations that Márquez uses in his writing. Some of which have been a little incredible compared to others.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

365 so far

So far in this class I have enjoyed reading Asturias and Carpentier and analyzing their works to better understand their writing styles and influences that inspired them. Asturias’ focus was covering the origins and history of the indigenous culture as a way to secure, preserve and reflect on what had been passed down by generations in order to remind the people of their roots. Carpentier focused his book on more of the historical facts of the struggle the Haitian people what they had gone through to fight for their rights of independence and freedom only to realize that the freedoms their looked for were once again taken away by their own people. In both literary works we also analyzed the style of magical realism in its infancy as a literary style that presented people, history and its events in an alternative form that depicted reality, in some instances, in magical and blurred reality if you will. Almost felt that you were led into the fantasy and imagination of the authors that would note down as they saw it. Almost as if they would write how they would see things in their mind and write their draft without revision or interpretation and just presenting it as it was and allow the reader to become apart of the creative thinking.

As I am relatively new to this writing style it is interesting none the less to find yourself in their reality which is transformed into the awesome and unreal. I found that Asturias definitely used more of a magical setting than Carpentier but both had elements of the imaginative. I found that their experimentation with the mysterious and obscure that added an element of curiosity to these readings and in addition the difficulty in understanding the text made it hard to interpret at times. As we have just begun to discover the magical realism up to now I have begun to see the mysterious interaction between humans and their surroundings and how their circumstances in life are depicted with historical relevance. A mixture of a creation of imaginary beings and worlds, as in portrayed by Asturias where in contrast to Carpentier magical realism which combined the key events and reality of Haiti. It is an interesting class so far as it does test the understanding and logic of the author’s transformation and representation of reality.