Magical realism is the writing style with magic or the supernatural presented in the real world. This specific writing style is most commonly used in Latin American literature to make the reader “question what is ‘real,’ and how we can tell.” (Oprah) The two novels, Chronicle of a Death Foretold by Gabriel Garcia Marquez and The Stories of Eva Luna by Isabel Allende, both have aspects of magical realism woven into the novels, but use different techniques to approach the magical realism aspect. Both novels use the characters’ actions and their descriptions of what is happening in the novel to make the reader know that it’s all fiction. However, these novels have different central ideas. A couple of themes showed in Chronicle of a Death Foretold are lies and reputation while The Stories of Eva Luna presents themes of absolute power and absolute poverty.
Throughout both novels, the authors use the characters’ actions as a way to include magical realism in their novel. In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Marquez describes Pedro’s sickness in the jail by writing, “The pain in his groin had reached his throat, his urine was shut off, and he suffered the frightful certainty that he wouldn’t sleep ever again for the rest of his life. ‘I was awake for eleven months,’ he told me, and I knew him well enough to know that it was true.” (47) Pedro saying that he was awake for eleven months is a sign of magical realism in use because it is very unlikely that anyone can stay awake for eleven months straight. Marquez used this exaggerated commentary to describe how much pain Pedro was in during this time but also makes the reader wonder if this part of the story was actually true or not. The Stories of Eva Luna uses the same technique in the short story, The Judge’s Wife. The story starts off with “Nicolás Vidal always knew that he would lose his life for a woman. He was predicted on the day of his birth and confirmed by the owner of the store on the only occasion when he allowed him to see his fortune in the coffee shop…” (72) At the beginning, Allende shows the readers what the magical realism in this story will be; this being that Vidal was predicted to die for a woman which is unrealistic. She uses the realism part of a fortune-teller telling his future with the magical aspect of being right about Vidal losing his life for a woman which makes the short story a little bit believable. Although both novels use the characters as aspects of magical realism, the novels use magical realism to present different themes.
In Chronicle of a Death Foretold, Marquez presents themes of lies and deceit and reputation. The theme of lies and deceit are shown through the novel’s investigative writing style of finding out how Santigo died. As the narrator interviews the townspeople, a few of them lie, one of them being Angela Vicario. The narrator writes, “The most current version, perhaps because it was the most perverse, was that Angela Vicario was protecting someone who really loved her and she had chosen Santiago Nasar’s name because she thought her brothers would never dare go up against him.” (53) When Angela’s husband finds out that she is not a virgin, she tells her brothers that Santiago is the one that took her virginity which they end up killing him for that. The deceit of one young girl turned into a chain reaction of lies that ended with Santiago being murdered. Each of the little lies seemed unlikely to hurt him, but when the town spread those little lies around, it became a fatal thing.