What is Carlos' epiphany at the end of "The Doll Queen"?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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Carlos Fuentes writes "The Doll Queen" in magical realism as a symbolist short story of the grotesque literature genre. Magical realism is a Latin American originated style movement that features a blurring between the boundaries of reality and fantasy: what seems like a realistic story in a realistic setting and time, with realistic characters will suddenly take on qualities attributed to magic, folk lore, and/or legend. This blending of of realism and magicalism is seen in "The Doll Queen" when Amilamia suddenly appears as a disfigured individual confined to a wheelchair while her child-sized coffin is on display in the other room.

The ultimate meaning of "The Doll Queen" is that cutting one's self off from one's past, or more specifically for Carlos the hero, from his primitive, intuitive, emotional, Indian past leaves one stunted and dwindled in development, misshapen, and grotesque. It is the ancient side of self that can provide one's name, and only Amilamia gives the narrator a name, a name that is rejected just as she is rejected as the narrator runs away. Cutting one's self off from one's past cuts one off from one's self as well.

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