Magical Realism The Mexican critic Luis Leal has said, "Without thinking of the concept of magical realism

, each writer gives expression to a reality he observes in the people. To me, magical realism is an attitude on the part of the characters in the novel toward the world," or toward nature. He adds, "If you can explain it, then it's not magical realism." According to Naomi Lindstrom's Twentieth-Century Spanish American Literature, magic realism is "A narrative technique that blurs the distinction between fantasy and reality. It is characterized by an equal acceptance of the ordinary and the extraordinary. Magic realism fuses (1) lyrical and, at times, fantastic writing with (2) an examination of the character of human existence and (3) an implicit criticism of society, particularly the elite." Characteristics of magical realism: Hybridity Magical realists incorporate many techniques that have been linked to postcolonialism, with hybridity being a primary feature. Specifically, magical realism is illustrated in the inharmonious arenas of such opposites as urban and rural, and Western and indigenous. The plots of magical realist works involve issues of borders, mixing, and change. Authors establish these plots to reveal a crucial purpose of magical realism: a more deep and true reality than conventional realist techniques would illustrate. Irony Regarding Author s Perspective The writer must have ironic distance from the magical world view for the realism not to be compromised. Simultaneously, the writer must strongly respect the magic, or else the magic dissolves into simple folk belief or complete fantasy, split from the real instead of synchronized with it. The term "magic" relates to the fact that the point of view that the text depicts explicitly is not adopted according to the implied world view of the author. As Gonzales Echevarria expresses, the act of distancing oneself from the beliefs held by a certain social group makes it impossible to be thought of as a representative of that society. Authorial Reticence Authorial reticence refers to the lack of clear opinions about the accuracy of events and the credibility of the world views expressed by the characters in the text. This technique promotes acceptance in magical realism. In magical realism, the simple act of explaining the supernatural would eradicate its position of equality regarding a person s conventional view of reality. Because it would then be less valid, the supernatural world would be discarded as false testimony. The Supernatural and Natural In magical realism, the supernatural is not displayed as questionable. While the reader realizes that the rational and irrational are opposite and conflicting polarities, they are not disconcerted because the supernatural is integrated within the norms of perception of the narrator and characters in the fictional world.

April 23rd. as they want to see the children grow up. who is believed to be dead. By what Dora. Dora and Nora attend Melchior's 100th birthday party. These include her early theatre performances. arrives on their doorstep. is revealed.a gift from Peregrine.Wise Children (1991) was the last novel written by Angela Carter. Tristram Hazard. They realise that they "can't afford" to die for another twenty years. is missing. Peregrine Hazard.his partner. Dora and Nora Chance. Melchior Hazard. but he is unwilling to take on the responsibility. and it is believed to be Tiffany's. The novel plays on Carter's admiration of Shakespeare and her love of fairy tales and the surreal. Once this bombshell has been dropped. Grandma Chance. as well as the time that she spent in Hollywood. who is also the narrator of the story. and his twin brother. it soon emerges that a body has been found. The story begins on the 75th birthday of twin sisters. it is also the 100th birthday of their natural father. but Carter does not clear this mystery up. her legal father. and the true nature of their long-time enemies. and the goddaughter of the twins. who believes himself to be the nephew of their twins. describes as a bizarre coincidence. and their bizarre theatrical family. As well as providing the backstory of her natural father. The final line of the story is a message constantly conveyed by Carter throughout the novel: "What a joy it is to dance and sing!" Main characters: . Dora describes key events of her life. Most of the novel consists of Dora's memories. where he acknowledges they are his children for the first time in their lives. how she and her sister deal with being rejected by their father. Dora and Nora Chance. and her guardian. Melchior Hazard. Peregrine Hazard. The twins learn that both Peregrine and Tiffany are alive. incorporating a large amount of magical realism and elements of the carnivalesque that probes and twists our expectations of reality and society.[5] Dora and Nora's birthday gets off to a dramatic start when their half-brother. He announces that Tiffany . It explores the subversive nature of fatherhood. Dora and Nora soon discover that Tiffany is pregnant with Tristram's baby. producing a film version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. The novel ends with Dora and Nora being presented with twin babies to look after . The date is similarly Shakespeare's birthday . It also makes the reader wonder about a sexual and incestuous relationship between Peregrine and Dora as there are hints that some sexual activity took place on the Brighton trip. The novel follows the fortunes of twin chorus girls. Saskia and Imogen. the denying of which leads Nora and Dora to frivolous "illegitimate" lechery.

but Dora considers this unlikely. Tiffany .Twin sister and best friend of Dora. illegitimate daughter of Melchior Hazard and "Pretty Kitty". Adventurer. Believed by outsiders to be the daughter of Peregrine Hazard. Peregrine suggests that Grandma Chance may have been Dora and Nora's mother.' My Lady Margarine . she is cared for by Nora and Dora after her daughters push her down a staircase and take all her money Delia Delaney (Daisy Duck) .High-profile theatre and film star.First wife of Melchior Hazard. y y y y y y y y y y y Other characters: . known for putting career before his family.Son of Melchior Hazard's third marriage. actor.Third wife of Melchior Hazard. Mother to Gareth and Tristram. Plays a fish on a children's TV program. In her later life. Embodies magic realism and the carnivalesque. minor theatre and film star. Nudist and vegetarian. Also pregnant with Tristram's baby. Lady Atalanta Hazard (Wheelchair) . Later marries Puck from the production of 'Midsummer Night's Dream. who raises Nora and Dora. twin sister of Saskia Hazard.Legal daughter of Melchior Hazard.75 years of age. Peregrine Hazard . Nemesis of Dora Chance. She is also against picking flowers. Tristram Hazard .Goddaughter of Dora and Nora Chance.y Dora Chance . second wife of Melchior Hazard. Girlfriend of Tristram Hazard. Nora Chance . Assumed by Nora and Dora to be the biological daughter of Peregrine Hazard. Presenter of "Lashings of Lolly. believing it to be cruel. mother of Saskia and Imogen.Actress.Guardian of Dora and Nora Chance. a TV gameshow.Legal daughter of Melchior Hazard. explorer. Has an ongoing relationship with Tristram. her half brother. Melchior Hazard . who dies in childbirth. Known as "Lady Margarine" because she stars in a margarine advert on TV. TV chef. with whom she hosts "Lashings of Lolly". and former lover of Peregrine Hazard. Grandma Chance . Imogen Hazard . Cunning and ambitious. Saskia Hazard ." Twin brother of Gareth.Twin brother of Melchior.

Marries Daisy Duck. Estella 'A Star Danced' Hazard Mother of Melchior and Peregrine. Our Cyn Mother of Mavis.y Gareth Hazard Son of Melchior Hazard s third marriage. He is later on reduced to begging at the end of the novel. Cassius Booth Boyfriend of Estella Hazard. Takes his name from the ruthless Mongol warlord Genghis Khan because he behaves in manner that is perceived as similar.A film producer. grandmother of Brenda and great grandmother of Tiffany. His children are presented to Dora and Nora at the end of the novel. to whom Dora loses her virginity on her seventeenth birthday. Worthington Miss Worthington s mother. He became a missionary in his teens and was later based in South America. Cassius Booth and himself. she dies giving birth to the girls. y y y . Pantomime Goose Nora Chance s first boyfriend. Blond tenor with unmemorable name Nora Chance s boyfriend. Genghis Khan s first wife A jealous woman who still loves her ex-husband after his marriage to Daisy Duck. A Patriot who displays a map of the British Empire on his body. Twin brother of Tristram Hazard. Ranulph kills Estella. Mascara . Genghis Khan . Her nickname is a reference to a line in William Shakespeare's Much Ado About Nothing said by Beatrice: "Then there was a star danced and under that was I born. A Shakespearian actress. Mrs. Pretty Kitty Mother of Dora and Nora Chance. but the marriage does not occur." Ranulph Hazard . Gorgeous George Comedian who appears as Bottom in a film version of A Midsummer Night's Dream. y y y y y y y y y y y Principal boy The wife of the Pantomime Goose. Showed up at Grandma Chance's door as a peasant. Miss Worthington Dora and Nora s dance teacher. At one point is engaged to Dora Chance.Dance teacher during the filming of The Dream. He produces a film version of The Dream later described as a masterpiece of kitsch . Possibly the father of Melchior and Peregrine.Husband of Estella Hazard.

Major symbols: There are many symbols used in the book which illustrate the themes. Leroy Jenkins The husband of Brenda. who taught her about literature. It is flawed. as it has a manic recklessness to it. Tony . There is also a carnivalesque element to London it is a city that is constantly changing: can t get a cup of tea . y y y y Dramatis personae: Wise Children is notable for the number of identical and fraternal twins in its cast of characters. as it doesn t always strike the right time: "it gives out the time in a falsetto ping. adds to the sense of incredulity which Angela Carter's use of magical realism has also created. The most important moment of carnivalesque in the novel is the party which ends in the fire. Ross "Irish" O'Flaherty An American writer and a boyfriend of Dora Chance. London: their own city it is their birthplace. which parallels the pre-renaissance carnivals. The complicated relationships between the characters. Like them it is light-hearted and full of energy. Song and dance: represents their career. including some incestuous relationships.Melchior and Peregrine's Presbyterian aunt. it also corresponds to the description of carnivalesque by Bakhtin. Brenda The granddaughter of Our Cyn and the mother of Tiffany. Miss.y y y Radical German exile Boyfriend of Dora Chance. who adopts Melchior after his parents' deaths. She is pushing the boundaries of what is acceptable and possible so that a reader must suspend their disbelief to follow the novel. Carter frequently uses objects and places which take on meanings beyond the literal and begin to develop ideas about society. It is also a phallic symbol. such as his vanity and not recognising his daughters for many years. It is also a cliché making a song and dance making a fuss. This links to their father.Nora's boyfriend and fiance on the set of The Dream. as he is also flawed. because there are many aspects of his personality which are less than admirable. as it was given to them by their great Aunt (Ranulphs Sister) and was sent to their house by accident as it was the last known address of Melchior. and always the wrong time". . for example: The grandfather clock: represents their absent father. Puck Third husband of Delia Delaney. Euphemia Hazard .

perhaps emphasising the superficial nature of the differences between them. Lady A). worshipping earth from ground that Shakespeare once performed on more than his own daughters. . two words with the same meaning. The inclusion of Shakespeare references in Dora's narrative highlights the idea of culture and class and of Shakespeare now being considered "high art". Shakespeare: Shakespeare is used continually. as it inverts social hierarchies and boundaries. Dora and Perry having sex almost brings down the divide between the highbrow and lowbrow sides of the family. Daisy Duck..g. comparisons made continually between characters of the book and of the play and the book itself is written in five chapters just as a Shakespearian play often had five acts. Some of the imagery used in this scene echoes the imagery of the Chapter 2 scene.The pairing of opposites: Shown most simply in the number of sets of twins. Perry sleeps with Dora. her half-brother. Important instances include the scene at the burning mansion in Chapter 2. their father is a pillar of the legit theatre and throughout the book the twins are constantly trying to become legitimate and be accepted. See Illegitimacy in fiction. There is also the recurring idea of the actress playing Cordelia falling for the actor playing Lear in Shakespeare's "King Lear" on stage. Melchior and Peregrine also share partners (e. with plaster dust and come and fire". This is similar to the final chapter when Dora and Perry have sex. and also in the family names. Nora loses her virginity to a pantomime goose when playing a goosling. Carnivalesque: Carter uses the carnivalesque to illustrate some of her points about social boundaries. for example Saskia has an affair with Tristram. for example "cover them all. Nora and Dora both sleep with the Blond Tenor. the ideas of his plays are incorporates."Chance" and "Hazard". such as illegitimacy and highbrow/lowbrow. Culture and class: the high culture of the theatre in the legitimate side of the family as opposed to the dance halls in which Nora and Dora perform. This could be seen as carnivalesque.. Melchior idolises his father. and whether it is just a perception rather than reality: even the characters that are seen to be from the legitimate side do not always act in a respectable way. passionate near-orgy by the fire and the breaking of social boundaries. using images of the "flickering flames" to emphasise this: the highbrow party and mansion is reduced to a ruined. and also Shakespeare. Carter questions the concept of legitimacy. However. Themes: Illegitimacy versus legitimacy: Nora and Dora are from the wrong side of the tracks and were born out of wedlock . as Nora says she wishes Dora would "fuck the house down": as well as physically damaging the Hazard residence. where she describes the "orgiastic" element to the scene. Incest: for example Saskia and Tristram are half brother and sister (although may be cousins).

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