Magic Realism in Wise Children by Angela Carter Magical realism is a primarily Latin American literary movement from the 1960s onwards, which integrates realistic portrayals of the ordinary with elements of fantasy and myths. The result of this is a rich but disturbing world that appears at once to be very dreamlike. The term â€˜magical realismâ€™ was first used by German art critic, Franz Roh, who said it was a way of depicting â€˜the enigmas of realityâ€™ and literary critic Isabel Allende has said that â€˜in magic realism we find the transformation of the common and the everyday into the awesome and the unreal. It is predominantly an art of surprises. Time exists in a kind of fluidity and the unreal happens as part of reality. Once the reader accepts the fait accompli, the rest follows with logical precision.â€™ Many critics have associated Angela Carterâ€™s style of writing with magical realism, a term which refers to a writer portraying imaginary or improbable elements in a realistic, ordinary way. The novel conforms to the device of magical realism through the use of references and allusions to Shakespeare: there are five chapters, just as there are always five acts in a Shakespearean comedy; Dora and Nora live on Bard Road; art imitates life when Ranulph plays Othello, later catches his wife in bed with someone else and kills them and himself; also, Tiffany is a reflection of Ophelia, driven mad by love, when she has a breakdown on a live TV game show; there are disguises, twins, mistaken identities and love problems, all key elements of Shakespearean comedy. This kind of intertextuality is a subtle manifestation of magical realism. All the Shakespearean-style villainy, comic relief and intricate plot elemen... ...down to earth when Dora mentions that a zookeeper came soon after with a net to recapture the beautiful insects. This is a perfect example of magical realism. As mentioned before, magical realism has its dark and disturbing side, and this is apparent in Wise Children. When Saskia, Doraâ€™s enemy, is a little girl, she is seen savagely devouring the carcass of a roasted swan. Later in life, Saskia becomes a TV cook and seems to take sadistic pleasure in disembodying animals. Magical realism is combined with carnivalesque literature in Wise Children to create a flamboyant, theatrical world within a humble, earthy reality. Both genres compliment each other in the novel, as both involve fantasy-like events and nightmarish imagery, and elaborate, rational explanations are used by Carter to encourage readers to suspend their disbelief, if only for a moment.
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