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Magical Realism and the Sublime in The Monkey

Magical Realism and the Sublime in The Monkey

“The Monkey” is a short story written by Isak Dinesen. The story was published in 1934. “The Monkey” is a form of gothic sublime. In this story, I encountered many elements that related to magical realism as well as the sublime.

“The Monkey” has many magical elements. The beginning of the story mentioned a purple-eyed young fallow deer (109). The element appears to me as being a magical element rather than an element of the sublime. Another magical element was the tortoise being more than one hundred years old (109). A person knows that no tortoise is capable of living to be more than one hundred years old. Aunt Cathinka says that she will give Boris her experience of life in a little pill, sugar-coated by poetry to make it go down (115). I feel this part is another magical element. If anyone was given a pill to make him or her experience someone else’s situation, then life would go much easier. People have to learn from their mistakes to see what they are doing wrong.

There were not many realistic elements in this story. However, one realistic element that I did see was that the air smelled of fir leaves and toadstools and was so fresh that it made Boris yawn (120). The enviroment around him was his natural surroundings. People can imagine this as being a real element because they can recall this happening to them.

After reading the story, I felt that the relationship between the real and unreal elements was non-problematic. I understood how the author compared the sublime characteristics with the magical characteristics. The author put the elements in different order to make them stand out.

After reading the article on The American…

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…sier to pick out the sublime elements rather than the magical elements. Many sublime elements made up this story. However, I felt that there were many similarities between magical realism and the sublime. I did not notice many fantastical elements in this story. I thought that the fantastic elements did not relate to the sublime as well as the magical characteristics did. I learned a lot of interesting information on sublime literature. Sublime literature is not used much in writing; however, I think that the sublime needs to be fulfilled.

Works Cited

Arsenburg, Mary. The American Sublime, NY.: State University of New York, 1986.

Dinesen, Isak. “The Monkey”, NY.: Harrison Smith and Robert Haas, Inc., 1934.

Longinus. On The Sublime, Cambridge.: Harvard UP, 1995.

Sandner, David. The Fantastic Sublime, Conneticut.: Greenwood Press, 1996.

Elements of Magical Realism and Sublime in Toad’s Mouth

Elements of Magical Realism and Sublime in Toad’s Mouth

“Toad’s Mouth” is a short story written by Isabel Allende in 1989. She has lived in Chili for most of her life, but she was born in Lima, Peru. Her father was a diplomat in Peru, but when her parents divorced, Allende’s mother took her back to Santiago, Chili, to live with her grandparents. She wrote her first novel, The House of Spirits, around 1981. It became an international best seller. After reading “Toad’s Mouth, I believe that magical realism and sublime literature have many things in common.

Like magical realism, sublime literature has magical and realistic elements. Most of the magical elements in this story seem to fit into the sublime category. Burke describes the sublime as having great vastness (Burke). The English raised vast numbers of sheep. “After a few years the animals had multiplied in such numbers that from a distance they looked like clouds trapped against the ground; they ate all the vegetation and trampled the last altars of the indigenous cultures” (83). The story also talks about the vast country side and far places that people came from. James B. Twitchell says that the landscapes “often are focused on a point just where the horizontal margin of nature meets the supernatural world of the sky, where the landscape is connected with the quiet sky” (Twitchell). The land is described as, “stone, sedge, and ice; endless plains that toward Tierra del Fuego break up into a rosary of islands, peaks of a snowy cordillera closing off the distant horizon, and silence that dates from the birth of time, interrupted periodically by the subterranean sigh of glaciers slipping slowly toward the sea” (83). Another sublime element is the fact t…

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…l. “Toad’s Mouth”. A Hammock Beneath the Mangoes. Ed. Thomas Colchie. N. Y.: Plume Printing, 1991. 81-88.

Arensberg, Mary. The American Sublime. Ed. Mary Arensberg. State University of New York Press, Albany, 1986.

Burke, Edmund. A Philosophical Enquiry into the Sublime and Beautiful. New York: Pengiun Classics, 1998.

Faris, Wendy B. “Scheherasade’s Children: Magical Realism and Postmodern Fiction”. Magical Realism Theory, History, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Wendy B. Faris. Durham, Duke U.P.: 1995. 163-190.

Sandner, David. The Fantastic Sublime Romanticism and Transcendence in Nineteenth-Century Children’s Fantasy Literature. Ed. David Sandner. Westport, Connecticut, Greenwood Press, 1996.

Twitchell, James B. Romantic Horizons Aspects of the Sublime in English Poetry and Painting, 1770-1850. Columbia: U of Missouri Press, 1983.

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