Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The central technique of Magical Realism is to present incredible events usually associated with fairy tales and fables in a straightforward, realistic way. Thus, the term suggests a duality in which the ordinary and the extraordinary intersect. Although usually associated with such Latin American writers as Jorge Luis Borges, Gabriel García Márquez, and Julio Cortázar, such writers as Franz Kafka, Isaac Babel, and Eudora Welty have written stories that have many of the characteristics of Magical Realism.

Lordan’s story is a creative working out of people’s intuitive knowledge that someone whom they love has special characteristics that, if asked, they might be unable to articulate. Can the question of who a person really is be answered by merely itemizing and totaling up all the ordinary, everyday things that the individual does or says? Or is there some secret self that other people sense but cannot quite identify or name? Lordan’s task in this story is to suggest that to truly see the other person as he or she really is, people must be still and watch, for too often, caught up in the trivial activities of everyday reality, they fail to see. The fact that Ann sees Warren in this special illumination only without his hat suggests that he loses his specific individual identity when he is transformed, becoming instead a universal, archetypal emblem of the special spiritual nature in everyone.

As the basis for her story, Lordan makes...

(The entire section is 443 words.)