A literary text is able to create a verbal universe that has not existed in the previous irrespective of its nature. However, this is influenced by the fact that the world constantly demands to be written about; as a result, literary writers respond to this desire and create a story that is able to relate with the audience and as well take them to the interior of societies. Magical realism has been commonly associated with the portrayal and depiction of magical or unreal elements as a natural part in a literary text (Aljohani 73). It is one of the many techniques that literary authors involve in their texts to create the adventure that takes the audience to the interior of societies and that of human beings. The technique is associated with the Latin American literature. Carlos Fuentes is one of the writers who greatly contributed to the magical realism technique through his texts, especially, Aura. This paper will analyze the text Aura in reference to the representation and portrayal of magical realism element. In analyzing the representation of the magical realism element, the author will involve discussions from outside materials to be able to critique the novel Aura and determine how the element has been used.
Carlos Fuentes, also popularly known as the father of modern Latin American literature, has contributed greatly to expanding the use of magical realism and fantastic in literature. One of his finest works, Aura, highly shows the use of magical realism element. Although the book is only a few pages long, Fuentes has successfully created an adventurous world where the audience can relate to the circumstances revolving around the characters and also reflect on the real society. Aura, which was first published in 1962 became one of the best, finest, and innovative novella pieces of writing in Mexican literature. The story revolves around a young scholar who becomes passionately involved with the niece of the widow, who is also a representation of magic in the text. The young scholar, Felipe Montero falls in love with the niece of the widow, Aura. As a result, the young scholar is able to determine his true relationship between the two women in the house and himself. Everything that Fuentes has written in this text keeps the audience on the border of reality and magic. Consequently, the audience may find it difficult to establish what is real from what is a fantasy.
As Gordillo, Adriana states in her article "Carlos Fuentess Mirrors of Time: Art and Literature in the Twenty-First Century, Fuentes has mixed both the concept of life and death as well as reality and magic in the text Aura. Felipe Montero represents the world of the living while the husband of the widow, the late General Llorente is a representation of death. However, the author manages to integrate the two concepts together that make it very difficult for the audience to establish reality from fantasy and magic. Consuelo, the widow desires to have her late husbands journals published she dies as well. As a result, Felipe finds the job through an advertisement that he sees in the newspaper. Felipe decides to get the job; the first time he steps in the house, the audience is presented with magical elements through the description of the house. The house is dark; for instance, the narrator says try to penetrate the darkness of this covered alley-courtyard, where you can smell the moss, the dampness of the plants (Fuentes 2). Despite the condition of the house, Felipe decides to accept the offer by the old and dying widow, who is in her sick bed and her only last wish is to see her late husbands journals published. However, as Felipe continues to work in the dark and magical house, he spots the niece of the old widow, Aura, whose beauty he cannot turn away from. His feelings for Aura unveil something that keeps the readers on the border of reality and fantasy. He discovers the astonishing relationship between the old widow and her niece. Felipes desires and emotions towards the young woman, Aura changes his role in the house to that of the late General Llorente. This can be seen when he walks into Auras room and embraces her and she transforms to the old widow, Consuela and Felipe Montero transforms to the late General Llorente. Through the relationship between Aura and Felipe, the readers are able to establish the coordinated actions between Aura and her aunt, Consuelo. As Bell, Michael explains in his article The" Fuentes" of Fuentes and the Aura of" Aura": Carlos Fuentes'up-Dating of a Cervantean Theme, the novel Aura is concerned with the act of deception amounting to seduction (106). Bell argues that Felipe Montero is attracted to the young Aura through an emotional illusion (106).
As Hafez, Nadia, the irreducible feature of magical realism is what mainly characterizes the magical realism texts. The novel Aura is also characterized by the irreducible feature that cannot be eliminated or assimilated into the realistic narrative. In the novel Aura, the element of magic forms the core part of the text; as Hafez states, without this feature the novel would be difficult to conceive (2). The irreducible feature of magic and fantastic features in the novel can be portrayed through the characters, Felipe and Aura who are a representation of the magic and fantasy. Aura is portrayed as a simulation of the old widow, Consuelos youth, while Felipe is a simulation of the late General Llorentes youth. The narrator explains that Now you know why Aura is living in this house; to perpetuate the illusion of the youth and beauty in that poor crazed lady Fuentes 91). Fuentes has used Aura as a mystical figure in the novel; therefore, this shows that she does not have her own identity because it is controlled by her aunt, Consuelo. Aura is portrayed in a symbolic manner to represent something mystical or unreal.
The house where Consuelo lives is a perfect scene for mystical events that happen in the story. Fuentes has created a perfect setting for the events to take place. The audience can easily relate the house environment with the activities going on. For instance, at first, it is difficult to establish the relationship between the old widow and her niece. From an outsider, it is difficult to comprehend what is happening in the house. It is only known to the people that live inside. Felipe who is a newcomer in the house finds it strange at first. He finds the darkness and mystery that revolves around the house very strange. As Aljohani states in his article Magical Realism and the Problem of Self-Identity as Seen in three Postcolonial Novels, the element of magical realism places the supernatural alongside the mundane everyday problems and issues that people face. Events that take place in the house of Consuelo are not coincident. Everything has a purpose and destiny serves as the core purpose of events that take place in the house. Felipe is faced with the most difficult task to establish the reality of the young and beautiful Aura. He has to decide whether the young lady is real, implying that she belongs to this world or she is a fantasy, implying that she belongs to the world of Consuelo. As a result, Fuentes has created irreducible and inseparable worlds of fantasy and reality. To Felipe, everything in the house feels like there is no difference between reality and fantasy. Aura and her aunt have a secret connection that Felipe cannot seem to understand, and so is the audience. Every event that Fuentes has described in the novel seems unreal and purposely created; nothing happens as a result of coincidence. Beginning with the advertisement in the newspaper; the narrator explains the advertisement seems to be addressed to Felipe. When he first saw the advertisement in the newspaper, he felt that it talked about everything about him; it is only his name that was missing (Fuentes 5). The author begins the fast chapter of the novel with the magical note; for instance, the advertisement that seems to address only Felipe and no one else (Fuentes 3). As the events continue to unfold in the novel, the boundary between reality and fantasy becomes wider than before. After Felipe visits the house and starts his job, his encounter with Aura seems to have complicated the realism of the novel. Aljohani asserts that magical realism is a concept that portrays the inability of the human beings to cope with the failures of the world. It confirms the lost spirituality in an attempt to establish the reality that is prevented by the reality that does not exist anymore. As Aljohani states, magical realism is therefore considered to be a representation of forgotten history (75). Felipe represents the old forgotten history of General Llorente. Fuentes has used this element to countercurrent the modernity. Auras identity has been consumed by her aunt. The relationship between Aura and Felipe is a countercurrent event that shows forgotten the history of Consuelo and her late husband, General Llorente. Aura and Felipe seem to represent the youthful times of the widow and her late husband. The audience, just like Felipe is unable to establish the border between reality and fantasy. Felipe becomes obsessed with Aura that he starts to fantasize about her. He dreams of having sex and eloping with Aura. As the narrator explains, Felipe has a problem in sleeping because he lacks satisfaction that he should obtain from sleep. The melancholy, weight on his diaphragm, and sadness that he feels while sleeping makes his sleep difficult (Fuentes 115). Despite the attempts to fight the dissatisfaction of sleep, Felipe still cannot control what he feels. For instance, he tries to put his hands on his forehead in an attempt to calm his disordered senses (Fuentes 117); however, he is unable because there are things stronger than imagination. Felipe is helpless in distinguishing reality from fantasy. The events unfolding in the novel symbolizes the reincarnation of the past becoming present. Fuentes reproduces the late General Llorente and the old widow through Felipe and Aura respectively.
Hafez states that magical realism element in the novel makes the audience experience some difficulties in reconciling the contradictory understandings of the events in the text. According to Hafez, the audience is unable to fully relate with the magical realist texts because of the doubt that develops as a result of the widened border between fantasy and reality (5). In the novel Aura, readers are unable to reconcile with the contradicting events happening in the house of Consuelo. It is difficult to understand whether what is happening in the house is a dream, hallucination or magic (Hafez 5). Felipe falling into a sleep and is unable to have comfort in his sleep due to dreams that seem fantasy and transformation of Felipe and Aura into General Llorente and Consuelo respectively are part of the doubts emerging from the difficulties in reconciling with the events in the novel. In your dreams, you had already felt the same vague melancholy.that wont stop oppressing imagination (Fuentes 115). Since Felipe, the protagonist has fused dreams, reality, imagination, and hallucinations; it is possible that the same doubt and confusion is experienced with the readers as well.
Hafez further states that magical realism is that realm of fantastic and the real that combine together to form what he calls an in-between world (7). In the novel Aura, an in-between world is clear in that Felipe Montero cannot differentiate what is dream or fantasy about him and Aura. He keeps oscillating between the world of reality and fantasy and so is the audience. Fuentes creates a seductive environment which equally supports the development of every character. Through the use of the second narration point of view, the audience is able to relate...
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