Chronicle of a Death Foretold Questions and Answers
by Gabriel García Márquez

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What is magic realism in relationship to Gabriel Garcia Marquez's Chronicle of a Death Foretold?

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Magic realism is a form of narrative that treats the supernatural, mythological, and magical no different from its realistic aspects. In Garcia Marquez's fiction, he adds the element of emotions manifesting as real events. For example, it seems that it rains whenever people are sad or mourning, anger literally twists a person's features into something grotesque and turns them into a living ghoul, and so on.

In the "Chronicle of a Death Foretold," there are many such elements to be found. A lot of these have to do with the Vicario twins, who all throughout the book are described as trying to prevent the murder they themselves commit. It's unclear whether it's due to pacifism, not really believing their sister, or just resenting their traditional duty. Magical realism is particularly strong around them. When they murder Santiago Nasar, a blade remains clean and spotless even after being stabbed through a person's body three times. Later, in their holding cell, they can't get rid of their...

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andrea-neff | Student

Gabriel García Márquez’s Chronicle of a Death Foretold shares a complicated relationship with magical realism. A common feature of Latin American literature, magical realism differs from the perhaps better known surrealism in that it is based in reality and uses elements of of exaggeration, distortion, or “magic” to make commentary on said reality. Much of García Márquez’s work falls under this category; however, due to his roots in journalistic writing, García Márquez often calls upon both styles simultaneously. This is perhaps most prevalent in Chronicle of a Death Foretold. At times, the journalistic nature of the novel disallows magical realism in the story. While there are questions of memory and truth within the novel, these are explored and acknowledged, unlike a work of magical realism. García Márquez explains these instances, and if they are inexplicable, acknowledges their unreliability as a sole perception and truth. This is most clearly seen in the overall discrepancy of the weather on the day of Santiago’s murder, in which there are many contradicting accounts of the precipitation of the day, whether it existed or not. But rather than this lack of clarity in setting insinuating magical realism, it can be accredited to the futility of memory. The effect is a lack of faith in the dependability of each character’s account, not an illusion of magical realism as one could easily assume without an understanding of the journalistic style of the novel. To read this novel under the assumption that magical realism plays a strong role in the unraveling of the story would undermine the commentary laid out by García Márquez. To write-off Nasar’s death and the strange events that surround it as magical realism would negate the critique of a society’s acceptance of such a heinous act. The factual implications of the journalistic style imply an actual situation, which speaks more strongly to García Márquez’s questioning of Colombian society, rather than a tale of mysterious tragedy rife with magical realism.

anniemarie26 | Student

One of the main characteristics of Gabriel Garcia Marquez’s literature is the use of Magic Realism as a way to place the reader into a world where reality and fantasy coexist. Often times, his stories reflect the folklore and profound believes of the northern Colombian society, which combines the reminiscence of indigenous, black and Spanish descendants’ culture and traditions. In the specific case of Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Garcia Marquez shows “magical events” as part of the daily life of ordinary people. Events such as the spirit of Xius, a widow that appears to claim her belongings, is a perfect example of the Magic Realism movement. Chronicle of a Death Foretold presents circular structure; it starts and ends with a murder and the chronologic time is fluid. In this book, in particular, Garcia Marquez uses a rich and literary language in his representation of the people and their surrounded culture and a journalistic language, when describing the events taking place in the story.