Magical Realism In The Old Gringo By Carlos Fuentes

1105 Words 5 Pages
Delve into a miraculous and profoundly dreamlike world. A world and lifestyle where the basic fundamentals of life are intertwined with unquestionable magical occurrences. Envision a human being with great virtue spontaneously floating and reflecting in the vibrant light of the sun. Imagine an elderly man naturally tossing a peso into the air and piercing it with a Colt .44 single action revolver. These are prime examples of the unquestionable magic that defines the literary movement of magical realism. Magical realism is also comprised of ancient myths, symbols regarding nature, religious allusions, and an emphasis on the beauties of life. Magical realism is predominantly a Latin American method of narration. The cultural influences of magical …show more content…
Carlos Fuentes, a Mexican novelist, has earned worldwide recognition for his influential works that pertain to magical realism. He is particularly held in high esteem in Latin American nations for his literary accomplishments that were attained through his novels of Terra Nostra, The Death of Artemio Cruz, and The Old Gringo. Carlos Fuentes’ novel, The Old Gringo, was the first novel written by an author of Mexican descent to emerge on the New York Times Bestseller List. The novel portrays the elements of magical realism through Ambrose Bierce, Tomas Arroyo, and Harriet Winslow; the novel’s main protagonists. Ambrose Bierce the “old gringo”, has one goal, to encounter Pancho Villa and die an honorable death. Historically, Ambrose Bierce was a prominent American journalist and essayist who travelled to Mexico in 1913. Throughout his arduous journey in the novel, he comes across various instances in which he is able to witness magical occurrences. The Old Gringo depicts various aspects of magical realism through its synthesis of Latin American culture with imagination, as well as the surreal events that occur throughout the …show more content…
The novel is constantly alternating between the different mindsets and consciences of the three characters. This proves to be quite confusing for the reader at first, but ultimately enhances the reader’s experience in the sense that it allows the reader to gain insight on the ambitions and reasoning of their varying perspectives. Ambrose Bierce, the old gringo, travels to Mexico with the comical mindset of “I want to be a good-looking corpse, I cannot bear to cut myself when I am shaving…” (67). In a sense, Ambrose is yearning for closure. He wishes to ultimately resolve the emotional trauma that was attained throughout his life. The fact that he ventured out towards Mexico during the Mexican Revolution portrays his courageousness and his ambition to attain his goal of dying honorably for his kids. The unsystematic objective of the old gringo coincides with the spontaneity that shapes the movement of magical realism. Harriet Winslow on the other hand attempts to persevere with the knowledge of her father’s mysterious death. She ultimately escapes her teaching profession in Washington D.C. and chooses go to Mexico. She yearns for a new home and believes that “...The only true desire of our hearts: the burning quest for our tiny, insecure paradises, buried deep within our hearts…” (129). This illustrates the thought that Harriet Winslow comes to the

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