African American Usage Of Magi Essay

1647 words - 7 pages

African American Usage of Magical Realism Magical realism is a literary genre that practically tricks the reader into believing elements of the supernatural. Those writing in this style craft very realistic storylines, characters, and settings using vivid details and a sense of accuracy to convince the reader that the elements in the story are realistic and entirely believable. Subtly and slowly, the writer creeps in elements of the supernatural at a pace that allows the reader to believe the unbelievable without even realizing it. By the time readers notice that "magical" things are occurring, they have been sucked into the realistic picture that has been so craftily painted for them and are duped into believing that the extraordinary is just ordinary after all. Because this literary genre allows writers to lure the "not-so-gullible" reader into their storylines, it has become a popular style among many writers, and African Americans especially. The African American heritage is a rich one, full of folklore, superstitions, and a distinctly magical religion known as Voodoo. It is this heritage that many African American writers try to express in their works. Through the use of magical realism, these writers are easily able to convince the dubious reader of the existence of ghosts and the power and widespread practice of Voodism. And because the believability of a magical realism work depends on the reality of the world the writer creates, this genre allows African American writers to explore and portray the history of their people while exposing some unique African traditions and beliefs. Through an analysis of Toni Morrison's Beloved, Gloria Naylor's Mama Day, and Kasi Lemmons' motion picture Eve's Bayou, one can see how this genre is used to explore African American history and plausibly depict certain African American beliefs and motifs.In Beloved, by Toni Morrison, the entire Suggs family talks about the ghost of Beloved as if it were a normal occurrence to have a mischievous ghost rampant in the house. Baby Suggs, Sethe, and Denver treat the ghost as they would any live human, giving in to its whims and acknowledging its likes and dislikes. In the first paragraph of the novel, the narrator blithely discusses the existence of the ghost, as if it is absolutely normal to have a ghost living in one's house: 124 was spiteful. Full of baby's venom. For years each put up with the spite in his own way?.the sons, Howard and Buglar, had run away by the time they were thirteen years old-as soon as merely looking in a mirror shattered it?; as soon as two tiny hand prints appeared in the cake?.neither boy waited to see more; another kettleful of chickpeas smoking in a heap on the floor; soda crackers crumbled and strewn in a line next to the doorsill. Nor did they wait for one of the relief periods: the weeks, months even, when nothing was disturbed (3).In this paragraph, the narrator is not surprised by the ghost's presence. It is this acceptance of the...

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