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Magical Realism in The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World

In “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World,” Gabriel Marquez uses magic realism in the most effective way. Magic realism is the literary technique that applies fantasy to ordinary events. Marquez incorporates magical realism into “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World” to show themes such as isolation, culture, and transformation. This story used magical realism in the most effective way because of the way it incorporated it into the plot.

In the story, children were playing on the beach and a dead man washed up on the shore. The children are having fun burying him, digging him up, and reburying him. The day is ordinary, but the man is not. He is big, giant, and handsome, unlike the men who live in the area. When the people of the town learn of the drowned man, they take in to a house. The village people name him Esteban. The women begin sewing clothes for the him knowing that nothing that the men own will fit in. “The tallest men’s holiday pants would not fit him, no the fattest ones’ Sunday shirts, nor the shoes of the one with the biggest feet. Fascinated by his huge size and his beauty, the women them decided to make him some pants…” (Marquez 91) This is magical realism because Esteban’s appearance and physical features are unrealistic and impossible.

Later on in the story, the women begin planning a funeral for the drowned man. One of the locals adopts the man as a relative. They mourn for him as if he was part of the family. The village people start to wonder what the town would have been like if Esteban lived there. Houses would have to be made larger and doorways taller in honor of Esteban. The villager’s reaction to Esteban emphasize the magical elements. That a dead man can have so much influence on a town of village people. The local community adopts the stranger as if he were their own.

“The Handsomest Drowned Man” incorporates magical realism into the story better than “The Youngest Doll.” In “The Handsomest Drowned Man,” it uses for lifelike things with little twists on them to make them fantasy. Such as using a man just making him giant. “When they had laid him on the floor they said he’d been taller than all other men because there was barely enough room of him in the house.” (Marquez 90) In “The Youngest Doll,” they use lifelike dolls that come to life to incorporate magical realism into the story. “The aunt had continued to increase the size of the doll so that their height and other measurements conformed to those of each of the girls.” (Ferre 82) This makes the story seems more unrealistic and that it is not incorporating magical realism into it as much.

Gabriel Marquez used magical realism in the most effective way through his story “The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World.” He incorporates magical realism into the story to show different themes such as isolation, culture, and transformation.

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