Sunday, January 31, 2010

El Reino de Este Mundo, parte 2

While Caprepntier continued to use a sense of magic to describe the Haitian Revolution, the themes and passing events became even more morbid than in the first part of the book. The slaves are continually abused by their oppressors, whether those oppressors be white or black. There was no way of escaping a monarchy in Haiti. What was bitter-sweet for me was the attitude of the slaves. They maintained a positive outlook and continued to fight for their emancipation and rights, but no matter how hard they fought, they could not overcome oppressive monarchies. It is a theme that I believe demonstrates the actual state of Haiti and its people and has been perpetuated until today.

Another point I wanted to bring up is the idea of escapism. The way the story is written, Ti Noel doesn't actually express very much emotion, and I don't feel like I knew the character very well. It seemed as though he served more as a narrator than someone I could identify with (although this could very well be due to the language barrier and the fact that it was difficult for me to understand everything that was happening). Anyway, this idea of detachment parallels the use of magical realism; it is almost as though the magic is used as a way to escape reality and make things seem better than they actually were. The magic is embraced by the slave culture as a coping mechanism and is what allowed the Haitians to maintain their positive attitude and perserverance.

All-in-all, I truly enjoyed this book, even though it is a very somber subject, especially given the current situation in Haiti. Carpentier was able to capture slave, African, white, and Haitian culture, integrating them in a way that told the history of a country that has long been overlooked and forgotten.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

El Reino de este Mundo

I would like to begin by saying that I am enjoying this book much more than the Leyendas which I think is due in part to the fact that El Reino de este Mundo is much more relatable, especially given the current situation in Haiti- very topical. I also enjoy historical context of the Haitian Revolution in that I feel as though I am learning quite a bit about the revolution that I previously was quite ignorant to; I knew the basic history, but after reading half of El Reino de este Mundo, I feel as though I have a better grasp on the socio-historical/political context and almost an "insider's view" of Haiti's history.

I would also like to touch on the topic of "realismo magico" vs "realismo maravilloso". I did a very little bit of research on the book to grasp a better understanding of what was going on and in doing so found some sort of article declaring that El Reino is a book of "maravilloso" vs "magico". I'm really not sure what the difference is, but the author seemed quite adamant in saying that they are different things. Maybe maravilloso is more believable and less fantasy than magico? I don't know.

That being said, because this is a course on magical realism, I am going to stick to the idea that Carpentier was writing a novel based on el magico. He was able to capture, what I view to be, the single most important event in Haiti's history in determining the country's present politics, culture, etc, and make it not only accessible, but thought-provoking, through the use of magical realism. He took a brutal revolution and while keeping the history quite factual (the use of Mackandal as a character for instance) and was able to allow the reader to experience the Haitian Revolution through the eyes of a slave through the use of African religion as the magical aspect. As a reader I was able to gain perspective on African culture and it's major influences on Haiti. I think it truly ingenious on the part Carpentier to use African religion to create the magical world- it added quite a bit of depth and meaning to the text and kept an air of poetry. He took two oppressed cultures and people (the slaves of Africa and Haiti) and meshed them into one story, which parallels the history of Haiti.

Okay, that's all for now, but I suppose there will be more to read next week!

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Well, it seems that the general consensus remains that the Leyendas de Guatemala are a bit difficult to decipher and follow, and they definitely take a long time to read. That being said, it is true, in my opinion, that while the legends are lengthy, they allow the reader to explore Mayan culture and it's influences on Guatemala.
While these legends have probably been passed down through generations verbally, which means the legends have probably changed a bit through time, they retain obvious Mayan influence which can be seen in the almost worship of the morning, the evening and the night. "de la manana a la tarde, de la tarde a la noche, de la noche a la manana" seems to be a constant theme which is repeated continuously throughout the stories. I found this to have a connection to the idea of the changing worlds of reality and magic. The magic world comes to life at night, while reality is set in the daytime. Dusk is the transitional period. It seems that the author is attempting to reenforce the idea that both of the worlds rely on each other to truly exist, as do day and night.
There is also a very well defined connection made between these worldly forces, nature, and the people. Caculcan continuously repeats "Soy como el sol!", which I took as a literal reference to said connection. It takes a connection with all of these forces for the world in this story to function and to maintain order.

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Esto es un cuento bastante representativo de la cultura Guatamalena.Se da ejemplos de la cultura mas viejo; una cultura que es representado en una forma mas surelisto, y es claro que partes del cuento son leyendas cuales han dicho entre generaciones del gente guatamalena. Asturias nos dice en la introducci√≥n que la cuenta es basada mas en un sueno de la realidad, y bastante obvio en pasajes como esto: “Existe la creencia de que los arboles respiran el aliento de las personas que habitan las ciudades enterradas, y por eso, costumbre legendaria y familiar, a su sombra se aconsejan los que tienen que resolver casos de conciencia . . . (pg 13-14). Esto es un ejemplo que mas claramente ejemplifica las ideas del suenos y leyendas como la base y fundacion de esta cuento. Asturias nos provide con un conceptualizacion de la identidad cultural de Guatemala mediante el uso de las creencias de los Guatemalenos, pero mas importantemente, el se abarca el estilo de los escritores del “Boom” para denunciar la dictadura en esta tiempo.El se usa el estilo de realismo magico para escribir una obra mas influencial cual pone mucho √©nfasis en los politicas del Guatemala, pero tambien se da al lector un sentido de la cultura y la vida en esta siglo.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


Me llamo Brittany. Estoy en mi trecer ano de UBC como un estudiante de las estudias de latina america y espanol. Me encanta la cultura latina americana, y creo que se provide una vista muy diferente del mundo y la vida. Creo que es una cultura fascinante que se pone valor en las cosas mas divertirse y enojable, pero tambien con la familia y es bastante tradicional. Para mi, es una cultura mas preocupada con las cosas mas importante del vida- mucho mas que la cultura norte americana.

Pase dos meses este verano viajando por sur america. Comenze mi viaje en Argentina, y terminelo en Mexico. Aprendi mucho en este tiempo, especialmente sobre la lengua de espanol y muchos culturas latina americanas, y uno de mis suelos es que viajar mas por alli para aprender y vivir la cultura latino americano.