Feminism and Magical Realism Across Cultures Essay

2570 Words 11 Pages
Feminism and Magical Realism Across Cultures as Expressed in Laura Esquivel's Like Water For Chocolate, Isabel Allende's The House of Spirits, Simone Schwarz-Bart's The Bridge of Beyond, and Toni Morrison's Song of Solomon.

Magical Realism evolved only in the last century. Franz Roh was the first to use the term to describe paintings and the new style that had come about after the expressionistic era (7, p.15), however it was Alejo Carpentier who used it to describe Latin America's fanatastical writing styles (3, p.373). He felt that magical realism expounded upon reality and "was able to elude realism's insufficiency, in its inablility to describe an ex-centric experience"(3, p.373). Latin America, though perhaps the first to name
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Due to the personal content of these novels, it is imperative to understand the backgrounds of the authors themselves. Laura Esquivel is from Mexico. Isabel Allende is from Chile, and the politicism of The House of Spirits comes from her upbringing during the military coup in 1973 (2, website). Toni Morrison, an African American, is concerned about African Americans and was even involved in the Civil Rights movements in the 1960's (5, website). Simone Schwarz-Bart is native to Guadeloupe.


To better understand the similarities and differences between the four novels, summaries follow below.

In Like Water for Chocolate we are introduced to Tita, the youngest of three children. Due to her mother's irrational devotion to tradition, she will not allow Tita to marry Pedro, though both are desperately in love with each other. Tradition holds that the youngest daughter must take care of the mother, so Pedro marries her older sister, Rosuara in order to be near Tita. Tita is very gifted when it comes to cooking and interestingly enough expresses a great many emotions through the food itself. Food plays a pivotal role throughout this story. The remainder of the novel has various episodes which are described by Ibsen as climactic/anti-climactic, with one dilema being solved and a new one taking shape.

In The House of the Spirits, Clara marries Esteban Truebas, beginning this three- generational novel of a family living through turbulent

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