The Garden of Forking Paths through Magical Realism - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Essay
Pages:  4
Wordcount:  943 Words
Date:  2022-04-28


A genre can be said to be a category of art. It is a style that is used to depict a scene in a better manner than it would if the scene was acted plainly. There are different types of genres literature including but not limited poetry, fiction, comedy. This paper will seek to analyze a piece of art through the lenses of its genre. It will explain the manner in which the genre of an art can contribute to the reading of the material. The is paper will also help in understanding the expectations that can be drawn from a piece of art based on its genre and draw the formal conventions of the genre to help in the interpretation of the work. The paper will be relying on The Garden of Forking Paths and explain how it fits into its genre of Magical Realism because of the mystery it has with it accompanied by psychological thriller. Magical realism is an art that combines the natural and magical elements in a piece of art.

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The Garden of Forking Paths begins when the narrator brings a document that explains why a British offensive against the Germans had been delayed by 13 days (Shmoop Editorial Team). This document is a testimony that had been given to Yu Tsun. However, Dr Yu Tsun discovers that the authorities have leant of his role as an undercover spy and he has to try and escape from Captain Richard Madden who has killed his coconspirator so as to deliver the secret on the location of the British weapons to The Chief, his boss back in Germany. He narrowly escapes from Madden who actually misses the train he had boarded. He alights at an Ashgrove shop and finds children who direct him through a road to a summer house. Upon arrival, he gets to listen to familiar Chinese music. He finds Dr. Stephen Albert who explains to him The Garden of Forking Paths. He is told of the story of his father, Ts'ui Pen, a former governor who left his political career to write a novel and build a labyrinth (Cengage Learning Gale,7). Both projects failed as the novel made no sense and the labyrinth wasn't found. Having learnt the legacy of The Garden of Forking path, he kills Albert upon seeing Madden approach. He is then arrested but had actually succeeded in his mission to in relating the message about the British weapons.

The Garden of Forking Paths fits into the genre of magical realism because it has both the elements of reality and also has fictional confession in the storyline. The part of the story involving Dr. Yu and Madden is realistic but the story about the Garden of Forking Paths and his father's stories, which are actually similar stories, are not realistic.

The knowledge that this story is magic realism will affect the approach taken while reading the story. It creates suspense around the unrealistic character, what role are they going to play. The reader is also able to as the question about the connectivity between the unrealistic characters to the natural characters and the role in understanding the theme being advanced by the unreal characters. When the story of The Garden of Forking Paths begins, the author brings about this piece of paper that was written. Definitely, the attention of the audience is affected when reading this story because he wants to get more about the content of the letter and who wrote it.

The effect the genre has on reading the story will also affect definitely the interpretation that will be given to the story. The Garden of Forking Paths is written such that without understanding the magical realism in this text, it's easy to crucify Dr. Yu for killing Dr. Stephen Albert from an open interpretation. A dipper understanding of the fictional story of Garden of Forking Paths will make the reader understand that in deed the killing of Dr. Albert, although wrong but was done in good faith. At the end of the story, even his boss who has watched about his arrest is comfortable because the information that was needed has actually been delivered and Dr. Yu has accomplished his mission.


The Garden of Forking Paths fits into magical realism because the chronology of activities in the story that goes hand in hand with the characteristics that make what magical realism is. First, there is a line drawn between the real characters like Dr. Yu. Madden and Albert and the fictional characters like that of Ts'ui Pen. The works of Ts'ui Pen cannot be explained by the natural laws in existence but they have been given the normal conditions (Zamora, 150). This is what defines magical realism. The other distinguishing feature that makes the story magical realism is the merger that has been created by the natural character and those fictional characters. There is disparity between the two and it's upon the reader to acknowledge the difference between the two scenarios. This story is timeless and historical, which is a key aspect of magical realism. The time that the events in this story were set up cannot be defined. Based on these features of magical realism, it can be drawn that The Garden of Forking Paths in deed falls in the category of magical realism.

Works Cited

Gale, Cengage L. Study Guide for Jorge Luis Borges's "the Garden of Forking Paths.". Detroit: Gale, Cengage Learning, n.d.. Print.

Shmoop Editorial Team. "The Garden of Forking Paths Genre." Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 6 Apr. 2018.

Zamora, Lois P, and Wendy B. Faris. Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006. Print.

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