Justin Tse
Prof. Alvarez
English 363
World. Lit.

Latin American Literature: Analysis of Modern Day Exposure in Conjunction with Gabriel Garcia-Marquez’s Novellas, Salvador Placencia’s The People of Paper & Edgardo Vera Yunque’s The Lamentable Tale of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle Through Manfred Jahn’s Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative & Magic Realism

Introduction

Much like the recent exposure and explosion of interest in Asian-American literature, Latin American literature has seen exponential growth through the nineteen, twentieth, and twenty-first centuries. Many Latin American writers write outside of the aesthetic world of the traditional literary canon. They introduced and incorporated the new and the modern into their literary works and by doing so, rebelled against what has traditionally been labeled as the standards of the literary canon. We see the traditional literary canon consisting of the classics of literature; Chaucer, Shakespeare, Emerson, and Poe to name a few. Many Latin American writers however have incorporated the taboo and have written against the grain; they have surpassed the traditional standards by writing new perspectives, concepts, and themes that were once unheard of as subjects in literature. Modern day literature is no longer subjected or imported solely from Europe or the United States, people from all over the world have begun to find a voice through literature and have sparked a new wave and style of writing. Earl Fitz from Vanderbilt University has stated as such in his Internationalizing the Literature of the Portuguese-Speaking World:

As we “slip slide” (as Paul Simon might say) into the early years of the twenty-first century, it is becoming increasingly clear that the literature of the Portuguese- speaking world finds itself presented with an unparalleled opportunity. While perhaps not apparent to the casual observer of world literature, however, Lusophone literature, too, faces an issue of “globalization,” one that has some interesting if unexpected parallels with the ways this same issue relates to the literature of the English-speaking world. Although for English departments, this phenomenon that we like to term “globalization” has been both traumatic and exhilarating (traumatic because, for the first time ever, much of the most interesting and engaging English-language literature currently being written is not coming from either England or the United States but from the “margins” of the old English-speaking empire-Canada [Michael Ondaatje, Alice Munro]; South Africa [Nadine Gordimer]; Australia [Patrick White]; India [Salman Rushdie]; or Trinidad [V. S. Naipaul], to cite a few well-known cases-and exhilarating because these “new” writers are using fresh, alternative perspectives to challenge the primacy of the old, established canons and modes of thought), for Portuguese programs it offers a tremendous opportunity, an opportunity to show the rest of the world the excellence, originality, and vitality of literature written in the supple, melodious, and (like English) synthesizing Portuguese language. (Fitz 439)

Fitz’s observation offers two perspective points about Latin American literature. The first of which states that new age literature no longer stems solely from the English or American writers, rather they have come from various sources all over the world, most prominently Latin America. The second of which, states that globalization has graced the literary world of Latin American literature and has begun movement to mass produce and globalize Latin American texts. Latin American texts can be defined as literature written by Latin American authors pertaining towards Latin American culture, society, or language. Many Latin American writers utilized aspects such as magic realism and narratology to shape their writing. Gabriel Garcia-Marquez, for example, incorporates and utilizes a heavy influence on magic realism. Magic realism can be defined as an incorporation of the surreal and fantastical nature into reality; Rob Gonsalves portraits for example, convey a sense of magic realism through the medium of the arts.

Portraits painted by Rob Gonsalves; his portrayal of magic realism can be considered an alternative impression of magic realistic thoughts. It contains elements of a double standard as his pictures can show more than one image; incorporating a fantastical surreal element into his seemingly coarse and mundane portraits.

Latin American Literature: Context & Themes of Magic Realism

Garcia-Marquez works intimately with magic realism; his stories have a surreal and fantastical nature in his novellas. His characters are subtly integrated with notions of magic realism. It becomes evident through the development of his characters in his children’s stories such as A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings, Nabo: The Man who made the Angels wait, and Eyes of a Blue Dog. This can also be seen in The Lamentable Tale of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle by Edgardo Vera Yunque. His literary work steps outside of the standard literary canon and references and pays homage to Garcia-Marquez’s use of magic realism. It becomes evident through Vera’s characters’ development. Many of which encompass some sort of supernatural ability or have gone through a surreal ordeal; Omaha’s supernatural encounter with the Taino tribe and the bohango ceremony, Winnie’s tutelage in the art of American witchcraft, and Marquita’s various transformations all convey a huge sense of the magic realistic element that Vera pays homage to Garcia-Marquez’s novellas. Veda’s characters also step outside of the traditional roles between author and characters; there exists a literal direct line of contact between the author and the characters themselves. The characters are woven and are directly displaced and interconnected with the author and the audience. The most prominent scene of which was when Marquita calls Vera himself to ultimately discuss the context of the book itself; this occurs multiple times and at one point or another, Marquita overpowers the author’s chain of command and takes control of the story.

One of the elements of the novel is strong characterization. While this aspect of a work is important, there are times when things can get out of hand. I believe this is what has taken place with this novel. I have to apologize for my failure to keep Maruqita Salsipuedes in check and instead permitting her to take over the narrative without my interfering with her extreme and radical behavior. As I’m a person who respects the rights of individuals, I am totally against Maruquita’s actions in the kidnapping of Omaha Bigelow. I didn’t think I’d ever hear from her again, since in my opinion, she had to know I’d be upset with how she shanghaied not only bigelow, but my work. As is often the case. I was wrong. In spite of her mispalced sense of justice, she’s an honest person and a courageous young woman. You must have sensed this. (Vera 340)

 

Similarly, this also occurs in The People of Paper by Salvador Placencia. This particular novel is radically different than those seen in the literary canon; the narration skips between the various characters who narrate their own personal thoughts. As the book continues, the story begins to transgress and the characters of the E.M.F. slowly attempt to drive out the author from the very pages of the book. Placencia shows this by incorporating a new layout of writing; no longer limited to set standards of margins or even orientation of the writing but consists of little blurbs, some of which is partially blocked out by the characters themselves. Many of these Latin American works are quickly coming into light and becoming part of the literary norm; the traditional literary canon is no longer the standard of writing but of a different perspective of writing.

Narratology: Literary Tools

Latin American writers also utilized an array of literary techniques to create their stories. Many of which utilized and manipulated various techniques from Manfred Jahn’s study of narratology, which is stated in his Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative. Jahn defines narratology as followed:

narratology: The theory of the structures of narrative. To investigate a structure, or to present a ‘structural description’, the narratologist dissects the narrative phenomena into their component parts and then attempts to determine functions and relationships. (Jahn 2.1.1)

Narratology can be summarized as the study of theory behind narratives. Many of which consists of narrative time, types of narration, and focalization. We can see each sub level thoroughly defined in Jahn’s study of narratology. Many of the Latin American writers utilize these theories to help develop their characters in radically new ways. We can see this in The People of Paper by Salvador Placencia. The narrator in The People of Paper jumps and skips between narrators; we get a sense of each individual character’s personal thoughts and experiences as the focalizer switches perspectives. Manfred Jahn defines the four main states of focalization as followed:

• fixed focalization The presentation of narrative facts and events from the constant point of view of a single focalizer. The standard example is Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man.
• variable focalization The presentation of different episodes of the story as seen through the eyes of several focalizers. For example, in Woolf’s Mrs. Dalloway, the narrative’s events are seen through the eyes of Clarissa Dalloway, Richard Dalloway, Peter Walsh, Septimus Warren Smith, Rezia Smith, and many other internal focalizers.
• multiple focalization A technique of presenting an episode repeatedly, each time seen through the eyes of a different (internal) focalizer. Typically, what is demonstrated by this technique is that different people tend to perceive or interpret the same event in radically different fashion. Texts that are told by more than one narrator (such as epistolary novels) create multiple focalization based on external focalizers (example: Fowles, The Collector). See Collier (1992b) for a discussion of multiple internal focalization in Patrick White’sThe Solid Mandala.
• collective focalization Focalization through either plural narrators (‘we narrative’) or a group of characters (‘collective reflectors’). See Stanzel (1984: 172); Banfield (1982: 96). Example: A small crowd meanwhile had gathered at the gates of Buckingham Palace. Listlessly, yet confidently, poor people all of them, they waited; looked at the Palace itself with the flag flying; at Victoria, billowing on her mount, admired the shelves of running water, her geraniums; singled out from the motor cars in the Mall first this one, then that […]. (Woolf, Mrs. Dalloway) (Jahn N3.2.4)

The People of Paper & Magic Realism

Placencia incorporates the use of the multiple focalization; his characters thoughts and points of view are written in short blurbs and entries each given a different perspective and time of what occurs throughout The People of Paper. This is evident through Placencia’s use of the margins and particular writing style of column writing. Each column pertains to a different character and each are experiencing radically different perspectives which are then interconnected throughout the text. This can be seen through Merced de Papel’s involvement with the entire novel and ultimately gives the audience the reasoning behind the war against Saturn.
The People of Paper conveys a large sense of magic realism as well. It takes place upon reality with more than supernatural inconsistencies. This could be seen through the everyday life and dialogue of Merced’s school life or Froggy’s carnation-picking lifestyle. However there also are magic realistic elements such as healing through fire, a race of extinct paper people, Merced de Papel, Antiono’s ability of paper-crafting and the war against Saturn. This is evident that these events are highly unlikely to occur in a realistic novel but Plascencia does a wonderful job incorporating these unique literary elements into his story.

She was the first to be created: cardboard legs, cellophane appendix, and paper breasts. Created not from the rib of a man but from paper scraps. There was no all-powerful god who could part the rivers of Pison and Gihon but instead a twice-retired old man with cuts across his fingers. (Plascencia 15)

The very notion of a paper woman for example is improbable to say the least; however the characters throughout the story accept the anomaly once Merced de Papel is introduced into the story. They also accept the notion that Saturn is the one responsible for all the misfortune that occurs in everyday life and thus a war against the celestial being would suffice and end his tyranny against mankind. There is no insight or depth of their actions but rather these characters that Plascencia develop thrive from the magic realistic elements of literary style.

This particular song, Too Many Dicks on the Dance Floor by Flight of the Conchords references the people of paper, particularly, Merced de Papel, in a line from the lyrics: “The only boobs I see tonight will be made of origami”
This can also be seen through Federico’s encounter with Saturn in The People of Paper. Federico de la Fe’s response against Saturn stems from his need to fix his own personal issues. His belief states that the celestial being, Saturn is watching his movements and altering his destiny. He believes that Saturn possesses the power to manipulate his fate and destiny and the sole reason for his own personal misfortune. This belief stems from his failure to control the midnight bed wetting that ultimately drives his wife away forever. His bitter resentment originally began from himself and he drowned in depression and anxiety. He overcomes this fear with burning his own flesh and letting the flames lick across his flesh, enough to pus and leave burns across his navel. This allowed him to be distracted from his own crushing depression however the relief is short-lived as the depression always comes back. He gains a sudden insight of Saturn once he has a brief stay in a lead mechanical tortoise. The lead acts as a shield from the prying eyes of Saturn and the heavenly eye cannot pierce through the lead shell. Federico de la Fe realizes this once he enters the shell and feels relief for once. Thus begins his campaign against Saturn.

“Federico de la Fe put his hand in the embers until it hurt so much that he could not feel his sadness and instead smelled only his singed flesh. After he wrapped his hand with an old scarf and rubbed on an ointment that the curandero had given him, he wrote down all the things the fire had cured: 1. itch 2. bed-wetting 3. sadness Federico de la Fe’s only regret was that he had not discovered fire ten years earlier. Every night, when the sun hid underneath the flat earth and Little Merced slept on the dry straw bed; Federico de la Fe went into the kitchen and lit the stove so his remorse would not return.” (Placencia 56)

His drive against Saturn stems from his lack of success in his ventures of life. His inability to hold on to his wife creates this visage of pain and misery cleansable only through the practice of burning the body or otherwise known as burn collecting. Ultimately Federico de la Fe’s war against Saturn fails but he no longer has any reason to fight against Saturn. All of his worries, secrets, and fears were laid bare as the end of the war begins to close. We as the audience finally see Federico de La Fe at peace once all his burns come to light and with his burn collection come out his secrets and fears. We finally see in depth why Federico de la Fe does the things he does based upon the burns that are scattered across his chest and legs. They are remnants of his past life as he is reborn. He also disappears towards the end of the novel and Saturn’s all seeing eye is no longer trained upon the lives of the EMF; Saturn has his own agenda that he must fulfill and in the end Federico de la Fe gets his wish and the omnipotent observer’s eyes cannot reach Federico de la Fe any longer.

Towards the end of The People of Paper, Plascenia becomes a bit creative with his writing. He begins to utilize and distort the very format of standardized book writing. He begins to shift around various thoughts and characters as the people of EMF and Saturn’s companions begin to crowd in an attempt to drive out Saturn from their lives. They all attempt to broadcast their thoughts and their feelings in an attempt to drive out Saturn. This particular strategy by the EMF appears to be quite effective as Saturn’s thoughts begin to retreat towards the margins and ultimately ends up in the corner; barely a sentence or two of thoughts by Saturn. It is quite an interesting notion that Plascenia incorporates into his writing; that the book itself is a huge think tank in which the characters’ very thoughts can be broadcast upon the very page and even their thoughts can drive out the author from the very book that he is writing. Ultimately the author, Saturn, gets a hold of himself and begins to fight back and ultimately has gained control over the course of the story once more. This magic realistic notion of control permeates throughout the entire novel; the characters are quite literally fighting a war against the author and Placencia incorporates an unique writing process in which the characters thoughts and his own become cluttered and collective; there can only be room for one or the other. The decisive battle between Saturn and his characters are ultimately fought page by page and his own characters begin to utilize their own traits that Saturn has given them against him; this is evident through the attempt by Baby Nostradamus and his student, Merced to block out their thoughts. However ultimately Saturn’s motivation has changed and no longer is he interested in those who live and fight with the EMF, he becomes wrapped upon in his own life and delusions as he begins to search for those that have left him much like how Federico de la Fe and Froggy begin to move past this war and on to their own respective lives.

 

Not even Baby Nostradamus could stop him. The sadness still circulated through Saturn, clogging capillaries and inflaming his lymph nodes, his liver never able to filer the melancholy, but his body has adapted. At times debilitated by the thought of her, but still able to summon enough strength to press against the columns. Saturn’s weight leaned against the structure. At first there was only a single crack at the base of the column. He thought of her, of her perfidy, and then of the others throughout the story: Delilah, Merced, Ida. The lone crack splintered into a web of fractures, buckling the structure and crumbling it to rubble. Once the first support was down the others were easily tipped, all the columns falling, and giving Saturn full control of the story. (Placencia 242)

Garcia-Marquez’s Novellas and Themes of Magic Realism

We can also see this conception of magic realism in Gabriel Garcia-Marquez’s collection of novellas. In A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings conveys a huge sense of magic realism. The fallen old man with buzzard like wings is automatically accepted as part of the social norm after his discovery. His wings are also accepted as a natural part of his body. They are built so naturally that the doctor left with a sense of wonderment on why men did not have wings just as natural as the old man’s.

“The doctor who took care of the child couldn’t resist the temptation to listen to the angel’s heart, and he found so much whistling in the heart and so many sounds in his kidneys that it seemed impossible for him to be alive. What surprised him most, however, was the logic of his wings. They seemed so natural on that completely human organism that he couldn’t understand why other men didn’t have them too.” (Garcia-Marquez 210)

The same sense is conveyed with the spider-woman in the same story; the woman’s body consisted of the body of a spider the size of a ram with the head of a woman. Her story although fantastical, is also accepted without a doubt in A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings. Garcia-Marquez plays with the social realism as he integrates these fantastical characters as a part of the norm of everyday life after the angel is captured and forced to live in the hen house. He does this well as he humanizes the angel and the spider-woman; they have human-like exterior qualities that sells the magic realism to the audience. This is done by characterizing the characters with human-like qualities. For the angel, he is introduced and emphasized upon his qualities as a very old and possibly senile old man with the exception of large and dirty wings. His very physique betrays his title as an angel; once the reader pasts the wings we realize that the angel is simply an old man with wings. This applies to the spider-woman as well as her story justifies her very existence and becomes accepted by the island society. The very act that she takes to disobey her parents and leave for a dance has literally struck her down with lightning and changed her very being. Her misfortune is a very humane punishment and is conveyed through the magic realism of spiritual and physical conversion. She is human in a mental sense but as we get past the physical traits, we are hard pressed to differentiate her as anything else than an unfortunate human being. Outside of these unique and odd characters, the village in nothings nothing spectacular or out of the norm.
We can also see this in Vega’s The Lamentable Journey of Oamaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle. Through Marquita’s various transformations, it becomes accepted as part of the social norm. The surreal ability that Marquita possesses may be an outstanding power but it quickly becomes adapted and agreed to follow the social and physical laws of the literary world in Omaha’s world. This magic realistic ability that Marquita possesses is not the only form of magic realism that occurs; the various sex scenes that are scattered throughout the novel also depict a large array of magic realism. We can see this through the rainbow colors of ejaculation presented after Omaha performs the act with any female within the story. His ability to produce rainbow colored semen adds to his appeal as he becomes the very essence of magic realism.

“She’s never been with anybody, but I’ve never kissed anybody like she kisses. She gave me a bath at her girlfriend’s house. I didn’t want her to see me, but she said don’t worry, and she gave me a handjob and I shot my load, and the shit was like a firework display.” “You really got off.” “Yeah.” “Underwater?” “Yeah but it was really multicolored, and when it hit the water, it broke up like colored glass. Green and silver, man. It was spectacular.” (Vera 67)

Garcia-Marquez’s Eyes of a Blue Dog introduced two protagonists are dreamers who chance upon a room within a dream. Much like his other short stories, Garcia-Marquez lays on the magic realism throughout his novellas. They are currently living within the dream as they meet on a regular nightly basis; the narrator however has no recollection of meeting the woman in reality after they awake. The short novella develops the story based upon dream logic; reality does not have any effect upon the dream however the dreamers give each other certain cues in an attempt to meet each other in reality. The dream is but a quickly fading and forgotten memory, forgotten when the narrator wakes up.

I’ll recognize you when on the street I see a woman writing ‘Eyes of a blue dog’ on the walls…Yet you won’t remember anything during the day. You’re the only man who doesn’t remember anything of what he’s dreamed after he wakes up. (Marquez 57)

The woman leaves particular cues for the dreamer to find her in reality if he can recall this dream; the woman for example writes “eyes of a blue dog” in every place she chances upon. However when our narrator awakes he no longer recollects the dream and the cue is lost to him. There is also no guarantee that the dreamer’s “copper” woman actually exists and actually making a subconscious connection with the narrator in the dream; instead we are presented with an unreliable narrator who could be simply dreaming the woman in all her entirety and her odd nature and behavioral cues.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KrIiYSdEe4E
Similarly the film Sucker Punch, 2001 utilizes and incorporates a magic realistic reality. In Sucker Punch the movie, the protagonist, Babydoll, lives in multiple realities while perceiving different outcomes; her perceived reality becomes an alternate reality in which she much slays surreal magical entities such as dragons and zombies in an attempt to free herself from captivity while at the same time her alternate reality physically affects her actual reality.
“What you are imagining right now, you control this world”

This notion of magic realism is also present in Nabo: The Black Man Who Made the Angels Wait. Garcia Marquez utilizes and manipulates the narrative time in the story to incorporate these magic realistic elements. Jahn states in his study of narratology, the conception of narrative time in particularly analepsis and prolepsis:

flashback/retrospection/analepsis The presentation of events that have occurred before the current story-NOW. An external flashback presents an event occurring before the beginning of the primary story line (i.e., in the pre-history).
flashforward/anticipation/prolepsis The presentation of a future event before its proper time. An external flashforward involves an event happening after the end of the primary story line. An objective flashforward or certain anticipation presents an event that will actually occur; a subjective flashforward or uncertain anticipation is just a character’s vision of a likely future event. Genette (1980 [1972]: 40, 48-79); Lintvelt 1981: 53-4; Rimmon-Kenan (1983: 46-51); Toolan (1988: 50-54); Ci (1988). (Jahn N5.2.1)

We can see this with Nabo, our protagonist who loses his sense of narrative time; he’s stuck in a particular mentality and assumes that it’s only been a few moments and at most a few days since his accident. However we as the audience realizes that it’s been quite a while since the accident and that he’s been stricken and ill and locked up after the accident. He has lost himself to the moment while time flows forward.

That’s right, Nabo, you’ve slept enough already. You’ve been asleep for almost three days. (Marquez 69)…We’re waiting for you, Nabo. You’ve been asleep for almost two years and you refuse to get up. (Marquez 70)

He is stuck in an analepsis; a flashback or retrospection (as defined by Jahn) in which he is living quite within that particular moment. He does not comprehend that time has moved forward. We’re given cues that time has moved without Nabo; the horses are no longer in the stables and the man from the choir later states that it’s been two years since the accident. Nabo however is stuck in this retrospection and believes that by looking for particular things and memories, he can justify everything that has occurred to him after the horse kicking him in the head. This is evident in all the actions that occur around him. I.E. Rolling on his side, talking to his visitors and caretakers, listening to the gramophone, etc. It is also interesting to note that his conception of time has been distorted. It mixes his past and present together and Nabo cannot make any headway and progress forward. The people around him initially do not recognize this and try to get him to move forward and away from the incident by locking him up in the attic. However as the short story progresses and much time have passed by, Nabo is still stuck at the moment after the horse kicked him in the head. This is evident as years and years pass by him, Nabo is still stuck on the moment after being kicked in the head. The man that appears before Nabo is none other than the man with the saxophone in which Nabo used to visit in the town square. After his disappearance he suddenly appears before Nabo and requests him to join the choir. The choir is the next step after life but Nabo can’t progress because he’s still alive and stuck in the eternity after the accident. Nabo’s stuck in an endless loop. The time of the story appears in different levels as Nabo, the girl, the man/angel, and the people are all integrated together in one continuous timeline but with various narrative times. Towards the end of the short story Nabo begins to progress as he realizes that all that has occurred has been because of the comb. He begins to bargain with the angel and the angel allows him to search for the comb although it’s been many years since Nabo’s been in the stables. His release from his confinements allows Nabo to frantically search for the reason behind his accident and his purgatory-like state. He is no longer living in a suspended state but has begun to move forward in search of the comb. However, much like Nabo, the audience has also been released from our confines and we can see Nabo outside of the moment of time. He has become an image like a rabid animal, frantically searching and beast-like.

The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow Into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle & Prominent Characters of Magic Realistic Theory

In The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle, Vega is not as subtle with his incorporation of magic realistic elements in his story. He bluntly states when and how it occurs and pays homage to Garcia- Marquez’s use of magic realism throughout his own respective work.
“She’s really nice, Richard. And she can do all kinds of magical-realism shit.””Get the fuck outta here. A Puerto Rican girl that does magical-realism shit. No way, I don’t want to diss nobody, but the fucking people can barely make change, man.” “I’m not joking.” “Wait, man. Magical realism? Like in Garcia Marquez, with fucking butterflies in the whole town and seafood walking outta the sea and going into people’s houses and shit?” “Yeah, like that. Fuck. She did a peacock that was out of this world, man.” (Vera 67)

We can see this through the various women that pass through the story; particularly Winnifred Buckley and Mariquita Salsipuedes. In one instance Winnie converses with her grandmother in a particular chartroom in an attempt to learn American witchcraft through AOL’s messaging service. We can see this through Winnie’s email stated as followed:

Subj: Good News
Date: 2/2101 1:40 PM Eastern Standard Time
From: WinniePooh1
To. WhichEePooh07

Grandma,
I am ecstatic. The knowledge you’ve imparted to me is simply amazing. By saying turn I’ve been able to stand across a room, concentrate on the person whom I wish to contact, and invariably the person will walk over and say: “What is it Winnie?: When I’ve felt in a jocular mood I’ve replied: “What do you mean?” The person has said: “Didn’t you call me?” I’ve smiled and said. “Of course not. Did you hear me call you?” The person is then nonplused and will exclaim: “I was sure you had called me.” This power is extraordinary. Is it telepathic? When will you be online so we can chat in private through IM? I’m full of questions regarding this new-found power.
Love, Winnifred (your loving and grateful granddaughter) 🙂 (Vega 247-248)

 

Vega’s style of magic realistic elements is similar to that of the Chinese character the Monkey King from The Forbidden Kingdom. This particular character has the ability to transform at will by using hair follicles from his body.

Conclusion

Globalization has begun upon the Latin American literary world. We as an audience have become accustomed to the literary canon which has been globalized and mass produced for a literary uniformity to have settled worldwide. However we have been offered new and alternative perspectives and interpretations of literature through the Latin American writers. We are no longer subjected to the wills of Shakespeare, Dickens, Hughes, or Poe but rather doors have been opened to allow writers such as Sarduy, Foster, and Cervantes to exist and flourish. We have gained an insight and a different outlook varying from the traditional canon and this has to due in part by the globalization of Latin American Literature. Fitz has stated as such.

From a comparatist and Latin Americanist perspective, it is interesting to observe the impact this “globalization” is having on English departments because, of course, something very similar happened with respect to Spanish and Portuguese departments back in the early 1960s when the hegemony of the old Spanish and Portuguese literary canons gave way to the newly emergent masters of Spanish America (Borges, Cortazar, Rulfo, Donoso, Fuentes, Paz, and Neruda, for example) and Brazil (Amado, Rosa, Lispector, and Machado de Assis). Then as now the young writers from the old colonies were finding not only their voices but also voices that reinvigorated and reenergized the language and vision of their European forebears. With this subsequent establishment of Latin American literature as a viable area of academic specialization in the late 1960s, the “empire” had already begun to ‘write back” (to paraphrase the title of the well known Ashcroft, Griffths, and Tiffin book and its importance to the emergence of postcolonial literature and literary theory in the English-speaking world of the 1980s and 1990s). The result was that beginning in the 1960s and running at least to the end of the century, Brazil and Spanish America – long regarded as occupying the fringes of the old empire – suddenly and dramatically emerged as the centers of the Spanish and Portuguese literary world, a process aided and abetted in no small way by the repressive dictatorships still in operation at the time in both Spain and Portugal. (Fitz 440)

We have gained a new voice in literature as writers all over the world break free from the traditional sense of literature. We are no longer bound by the literary canon but rather we have had our eyes opened by perspectives all over the world. There are many written works which can be encompassed or introduced into the canon; it is no longer a standard in which to follow but a never-ending, constantly expanding list of literary works from all across the world. We can see the effects as such as Vera’s The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle, Placencia’s The People of Paper, and the collection of Garcia-Marquez’s novellas have become a part of mass production. Their literary message provided by can effectively be distributed globally. Their literary message and alternative perspective have become a part of the mainstream; Latin American literature has been fixed upon by the public eye and its rapid expansion and wealth has been deemed worthy of literary succession. The Latin American literary world has become an ever-growing and ever consuming empire; in the Atomik Aztek sense, it sets to reconquer the literary world by storm and blitzkrieg with blood, martyrs, and human sacrifices.

Works Cited

Fitz, Earl Internationalizing the Literature of the Portuguese-Speaking World Hispania , Vol. 85, No. 3, Special Portuguese Issue (Sep., 2002), pp. 439-448 JSTOR. Web. 15 Dec. 2011

Jahn, Manfred. 2005. Narratology: A Guide to the Theory of Narrative. English Department, University of Cologne. 28 May 2005. Web. 17 Dec. 2011.

Plascencia, Salvador. The People of Paper. Orlando, FL: Harcourt, 2006. Print.

Yunqué, Edgardo Vega. The Lamentable Journey of Omaha Bigelow into the Impenetrable Loisaida Jungle a Novel. New York, NY: Overlook, 2004. Print

Garcia, Marquez Gabriel. Nabo: The Black Man Who Made the Angels Wait Collected Stories. Trans. Gregory Rabassa and J. S. Bernstein. New York: Harper & Row, 1984.  Print.

Garcia, Marquez Gabriel. Eyes of a Blue Dog Collected Stories. Trans. Gregory Rabassa and J. S. Bernstein. New York: Harper & Row, 1984.  Print.

Garcia, Marquez Gabriel. A Very Old Man with Enormous Wings Collected Stories. Trans. Gregory Rabassa and J. S. Bernstein. New York: Harper & Row, 1984.  Print.

Foster, Sesshu. Atomik Aztex. San Francisco: City Lights, 2005. Print.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Leave a Reply