1. If realism in literature is a literary representation of reality or “what things actually are,” then magical realism is using elements of magic and fantasy to create a deeper understanding of reality. Of the five texts you read, Paz offers an example of realism while Garcia-Marquez offers one of the most well-known examples of magical realism. Select one scene from Garcia-Marquez that illustrates magical realism and contrast it to one excerpt from Paz. What is the effect of Garcia-Marquez’s magical realism in your chosen excerpt? Is it more or less meaningful than the excerpt you selected from Paz?
2. Borges and Allende use elements of magical realism to invite the reader to think about choice: the power of choice, the effects of choice, and the limits of choice. In Borges, we see the choice in the very title of the piece and the labyrinths; in Allende’s work, we see it in technology that mediates a relationship. How do the magical elements of these two stories help us understand a Latin American perspective on the issue of choice?
3. Pablo Neruda’s “Walking Around” invokes magical realism in metaphors and imagery. Select one image or metaphor and explain how it contributes to the meaning of the poem.
1. Norton Anthology of World Literature
Read “I Speak of the City” and “Central Park,” by Octavio Paz, in Volume 2.
Read “The Garden of Forking Paths,” by Jorge Luis Borges, in Volume 2.
Read “ Walking Around,” by Pablo Neruda, in Volume 2.
Read “Death Constant Beyond Love,” by Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, in Volume 2.
Read “And of Clay Are We Created,” by Isabel Allende, in Volume 2.