Essay Sample on Magic Realism and Cloud Tectonics by Jose Rivera

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  3
Wordcount:  638 Words
Date:  2022-06-23


In Cloud Tectonics authored by Jose Rivera, a huge flood with a biblical allusion consumes the entire Los Angeles. In the middle of the crisis, Anibal who handles baggage at the Los Angeles International Airport comes across an expectant woman, Celestina, by the roadside, offers her a ride and ends up inviting her to his residence. What follows is an elusive, dreamlike romance involving the two key characters. As such, comprehensive analysis is significant in highlighting the completely encompassing aura of magical realism that is greatly emphasized in the play in relation to Latin America (Asayesh, & Arargu, 2017). The use of a genre that is not only real but also imaginary makes the love story beautiful as miracles infiltrate the lives of the characters on a daily basis.

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Most parts of the story are told from the perspective of the memories of Anibal as an old man which makes the intangible elements of magical realism necessary in order to articulate his past. In actual sense, the journey begins in his epilogue traveling back in time to where the love story began. Therefore, the entire aspect of the play, the dialogue inclusive, is heightened as well as concentrated into a single stormy night in order to make it appear as a brief and unclear dream. The love story is detailed in a single night in a craftsman's home that belongs to Anibal, however, Rivera juggles with the concept of time to the point that the audience is not able to tell the duration that events in the play take. For instance, Celestina confesses that "time...and I don't hang out together." (Rivera, 1997). The transitory quality employed by Rivera only serves to add to the short-lived atmosphere that makes rationalization and explanation of the play difficult. For example, when Anibal asks Celestina for how long she has been heavy with a child, her response indicates that she has had the pregnancy for more than two years.

After the conversation between the two for the entire night, forty years are said to have suddenly passed. Time, in this aspect, has the synonymy of the shared act of love as well as human connection. When one is really happy, time does not seem to move, instead, it appears to be standing still. The love that Anibal and Celestina have for one another happens in what can only be related to the blink of an eye. Therefore, the relationship that forms between the two characters is neither melodramatic nor rushed. Rather, it is a love based on the shared Mexican heritage and in conjunction with their capacity to open up about their dark past lives without feeling embarrassed or ashamed about it. Cloud Tectonics deviates from the conventional storytelling when it mystifies the relativity of time such that the play has no definite beginning, middle, and end, whereas the characters, Celestina, Anibal, and his brother Nelson, who has been in the army for six years, all shape the story into daily naturalism and believability. The characters are real and the audience can relate to them as capable of living, loving, and die.


In the three characters, the playwright leaves loopholes of profound questions and speculations that cannot be answered, all of which are expressed by the use of the genre of magical realism. At the end of the play, the audience is left wondering the actual meaning of time, and whether it dictates the life of a man or not. Additionally, one wonders if a man is capable of controlling time. However, love and its ability in changing people remain an uncontrolled force that enlightens the audience in the entire play.


Asayesh, M. E., & Arargu, M. F. (2017). Magical Realism and its European Essence. Journal of History Culture and Art Research, 6(2), 25-35.

Rivera, J. (1997). Cloud Tectonics. Broadway Play Pub.

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Essay Sample on Magic Realism and Cloud Tectonics by Jose Rivera. (2022, Jun 23). Retrieved from

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