“The Day We Were Dogs” is a short story written by an author born in Puebla, Mexico, in 1993. Elena Garro’s major themes revolve around the concepts of time and memory. I do not believe this story is a true example of magical realism; however I do see the sublime and the fantastic used in this story.
I think that this story is really a misidentification of magical realism. To start out, I was moved by the way the author talked about a day with two days inside of it. How could this occurrence be? It is two days and two realities. There also were two afternoons and two heavens, dogs talking, dogs named Buddha and Christ. I just see Garro trying to imitate magical realism, but she did a bad job of it. I do have to give her credit for bringing the sublime and the fantastic in, though.
The characteristics of magical realism are phenomenal, deeper realm, visibility, mysterious, opinionated, timeless fluidity, and fascinating. This story has none of those characteristics, or at least it does not express them the way a magical realism story would. “We recognize the world, although now-not only because we have emerged from a dream-we look on it with new eyes”(Roh 17). I see what Roh is trying to say about magical realism, and I do not think one can use these certain strategies to figure out this story because it is fantastical and sublime.
The fantastic is characterized by the marvelous, the uncanny, the natural, and the supernatural. The marvelous to me in this story would be the two parallel days. It seems so normal how Garro talks about it. They looked at one day or thing and saw what happened, and then they looked at another. Being able to experience time this way seems so wild and crazy. Rabkin states that “we recognize this reversal (90 to 180) through certain textual (signals):the reactions of the characters, the statements of the narrators, and the implications of structures provided by implied authors.”(Rabkin 11). The story does show a big reversal as the dogs act as dogs and the people act as dogs. Also, the character questions, “I’m a dog”? Then another dog replies, “Yes we are dogs.” I saw that later on in the story she realizes that she was a dog by replying ,”Woof, Woof, Woof,” when someone asked her a question.
Lack of Magical Realism in The Day We Were Dogs Day We Were Dogs Essays
Lack of Magical Realism in The Day We Were Dogs Three Works Cited Latin American author Elena Garro wrote works such as “Recuerdos del porvenir,” “Andamos huyendo Lola,” “Testimonios sobre Mariana,” and “The Day We Were Dogs.” The short story “The Day We Were Dogs” (1964) uses events that are questionable to the reader even though the characters do not question. Because these events are questioned by the reader, it is not a Magical Realist story. This story may have been classified incorrectly because it was written by a Latin author. In “The Day We Were Dogs,” the author uses magical elements to help tell the story two sisters and there day as “dogs?”. These elements seem to be magical by means of Magical Realist techniques, but becuase the author dosen’t make it clear as to whether these two sisters are dogs or if they are pretending to be dogs the reader hestitates. After reading the following passage, the reader might conclude that the two girls are pretending: Eva got up and disapeared among the plants. She returned running and threw herself down next to Toni.”I told them to cook for three dogs and no people.” I didn’t ask anything. Next to Toni the house had lost its wieght. Two ants were walking on the ground of the day; an earthworm peeked out of a hole, I touched it with my fingertip and it became a red ring. There were bits of leaves, little pieces of branches, tiny pebbles, and the black earth smelled of magnolia water. The other day was off to one side. Toni, Eva, and I watched without fear its gigantic towers and stationary winds, purple and mulberry colored.”You, what is your name going to be? Look for your dog name, I’m looking for mine.” “I’m a dog?” “Yes we are dogs.” (208) Then readers read this following passage and questions the decision they had made by reading the former passage: The dogs got to the gate; it was hard for them to open the door; the bolts were very high. (209) By making the reader hesitate (Todorov) about whether this is supernatural or real, this story could be placed into the Fantastic genre, but we can’t put it into this genre because it also has an element of the Sublime in it. The Magical Realist technique that the author uses is the closeness or near merging (Faris) two different days. This becomes apparent when the narrator states that it was “a day with two days in it” (206). This Magical Realist technique also becomes apparent in the following passage: And she jumped up on my bed to look at me up close. Her blond hair Covered her forehead. From my bed she jumped to the floor, put a finger Up to her lips and penetrated cautiously into the day that advanced parallel To the other. (207) Since this technique is a Magical Realist technique it seems to be a part of the Magical Realism, but since the reader has this hesitation to the magical elements it is not acceptable as a Magical Realist text. The only people who do not hesitate are the characters, but it depends upon which day the girls are in as to whether the characters are pretending or not. In the following passage, it seems as though the characters think that the girls are pretending in one of the days: Everything was still. The other afternoon got so high that down below The street was outside of it. In the distance appeared several men with Rifles. They were like all the men; dressed in white, with palm Sombreros on their heads. They walked slowly. The treads of their Huaraches sounded from very far away. In the street there were no trees To deaden the sound of the footsteps; only white walls, against which Echoed, closer and closer, the steps, like the roll of the drums on a day of Fiesta. The roar stopped suddenly when they got to the wounded man. “Did you kill him?” “I sure did, ask the girls.” The men looked at the dogs. “Did you see it?” “Woof! Woof!” replied Buddha. “Woof! Woof!” replied Christ. (210) When trying to place a story into a genre I believe that people must be careful and analyze the story more thoroughly. They must understand that just because a story is written by a Latin author and has the characteristics of a certain genre doesn’t make it a part of the genre. And they must examine the events to see whether or not the reader questions the events that take place in the story. In this story the reader does hesitates and questions whether or not the events are natural or supernatural. And even though the author does use a Magical Realist technique this story is not a Magical Realism story because of the former characteristic of the story. Works Cited Faris, Windy B. “Scheherazade’s Children: Magical Realism and Post Modern Fiction.” Magical Realism: Theory, History, Community. Ed. Lois Parkinson Zamora and Windy B. Faris. Durham