What is magical realism and is it used in Green Gass, Running Water?

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

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Magical realism, first employed by Latin American writers Miguel Angel Asturias and Alejo Carpentier, creates a fusion of reality with magical or supernatural events often presented as myths, legends or folklore. The affect of the combination of reality with magical realism, of fact with fantasy, is intended to call the accepted nature of reality to attention and into question. Green Grass, Running Water, though not written by a Latin American writer (as magical realism has found a broad acceptance and appeal), derives its structure from magical realism and fully incorporates the blending of the aforementioned elements. In this novel by Canadian Cherokee writer Thomas King, contemporary stories set in Canada and peopled with ordinary individuals are interspersed with four mythical American Indian figures, Biblical figures and improbable fantasy elements, such as the novel's characters winding up with roles in old Hollywood cowboy and Indian movies, which are preserved on videos, in which the Indians win out victoriously over the cowboys and cavalries.

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