Magical Realism: How do you classify it?

Essay by cspatelHigh School, 12th gradeA+, October 2003

download word file, 2 pages 5.0

The controversy surrounding Magical Realism makes the classification of what is and what is not Magical Realism very difficult. Gabriel Garcia Marquez, a famous Magical Realist, has written many pieces of what is generally conceived to be Magical Realism. Marquez's A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings fulfills every characteristic of Magical Realism. Marquez, a Colombian, has accomplished a great deal in the field of Magical Realism.

A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings includes many aspects, which may be described as magical. In the story, an old man with a very poor set of wings is found and kept as a pet for several years. These wings were described by the doctor in the story as something that looked so natural to him that he wondered why other men did no have them. The fact that the old man had wings in the first place seems very acceptable to the characters, and this casual manner is conveyed to the reader.

Marquez also adds to the story the tale of the lady spider. The lady spider has the body of a tarantula and the head of a young girl. She was transformed to this state after sneaking out of her parent's home to attend a dance. Witches, wizards, and spells are not used to transform her, simply lightning. The lady spider takes away the old man's mobs of spectators leaving him more ordinary in that he is still around even after his fifteen minutes of fame are over.

Though elements of magic exist in the story, a realistic environment surrounds the actions and that is exactly what makes magical realism so different than mere fantasy. The family that houses the angel makes the realistic decision of selling admission to see the angel in order to better their financial standing.