Identifying The Day We Were Dogs
Whether or not "The Day We Were Dogs" (1993) is a magical realist story is questionable. Often stories are misidentified because of the closeness of literature such as magical realism, the fantastic, and the sublime. The story leaves a lot to one's imagination instead of presenting it in the text. Elena Garro blends two days and two completely different worlds together in this story.
The magical elements depend on how one uses his or her imagination throughout this story. The girls could either be pretending to be dogs or they could have actually become dogs. If they are in fact real dogs, they are able to talk, and their dog Toni also talks. Also, magic numbers are used throughout the story. The main magical element is the blending of the two days. The story jumps back and forth between the two and never distinguishes between them.
The realistic elements include Toni's actions. He shows how dogs spend their days lying under a tree and eating all day. Another realistic element depends on how one accepted the events that happened within the two parallel days. If the girls were not actually turned in to dogs but were just pretending, then this fact is another realistic element. Children often pretend they are animals, expecially dogs.
In magical realism, "the text contains something we cannot explain according to the laws of the universe as we know them" (Faris 167) and the "descriptions detail a stong presence of the phenomenal world" (Faris 169). These quotes explain why one might think that this story is magical realism due to the two different worlds that are going on at the same time. Also, one "experience[s] the closeness or near-merging of two realms, two worlds" (Faris 172), and the "boundary is blurred between fact and fiction" (Faris 173) in 'The Day We Were Dogs.' If in fact the girls were turned into dogs, this occurrence would also point to this story being magical realism because "metamorphoses are a relatively common event" (Faris 178).
The characters in this story did not hesitate. As a matter of fact, they did not hesitate when the children were turned into dogs and could speak. The reader does hesitate quite a bit. There is no hesitation between the author and the events. The author, Elena Garro, in the way she blends the two worlds and the two days together, leaves a lot of questions to the reader. It is difficult to figure out what is happening in the two different days. One tries to figure out if the girls are actual dogs or if they are just pretending.
The purpose of the story seems to be to heighten one's sense of reality about the world around him or her. It shows there may possibly be other dimensions and other worlds that are taking place at the same time. It makes one wonder about the world as we know it.
In fantastic literature, there is either the uncanny (which is the natural) and the marvelous (which is the supernatural). Both are used in this story...