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Martel & Allende

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In Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, and Isabel Allende’s The House of Spirits, both employ magic realism in their novels. Isabel Allende, a Chilean writer, is well known for writing in this style. Many of her books incorporate this genre. Yann Martel, a novelist born in Spain, only uses this style of writing in this one book. Both authors are able to integrate this unique style of writing into these novels to help express their themes.
Magic Realism is a “chiefly Latin-American narrative strategy that is characterized by the matter-of-fact inclusion of fantastic or mythical elements into seemingly realistic fiction”. It is a unique style of writing most commonly used by Latin American authors. This genre is also being applied to art. The term now can apply to paintings. It was created in the early 1900’s by a German writer but shifted to Latin America where it is still most commonly found today.
In Yann Martel’s Life of Pi, magic realism is present throughout Pi’s long journey in the Pacific Ocean. The ship, Tsimtsum, that he and his family are traveling on sank and he was the lone survivor. He was tossed onto a lifeboat with some animals from his family’s zoo. Two and a half days into his adventure, Pi discovered that he was not the only one on it. “How I had failed to notice for two and a half days a 450-pound Bengal tiger in a lifeboat twenty-six feet long was a conundrum I would have to try to crack later, when I had more energy. The feet surely made Richard Parker the largest stowaway, proportionally speaking, in the history of navigation. From the tip of nose to tip of tail, he took up over a third of the length of the ship he was on.”(134). Yann Martel applies magic realism here when Pi discovers Richard Parker. Pi survives 227 days with this beastly tiger on board. He is in a twenty-six foot long lifeboat with an animal triple his size. To survive that long…...

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