My Brother Joshua

My little brother Joshua was born when I was ten years old on the sunniest day in July. He came out of the womb complaining, unlike most children who simply cry during their delivery my little brother came out speaking perfect spanish and english curse words that described his current unhappiness. He was born with a very dangerous high fever that no medicine or Mexican herb could fix. It wasn’t until I held him with my cool clammy hands that his terrible temper went away and he finally stopped cursing like a full grown adult.  Since Joshua’s birth it was quite obvious he received  my father’s  quick and hot temper. I on the other hand was born on a cool september night and received my mother’s patience and cool head. We are complete opposites in this sense and in many others. This became abundantly clear as Joshua grew older and attended kindergarten. I was known as the quiet student who always did as he was told exactly when he was told, while my brother was the student to question everything and demanded a reason for every action he did in school. I always kept to myself and rarely went outside, Joshua was one of the most popular kids in his class and hated the indoors. The differences between us are even more obvious in the way we play the game of baseball. I was the smart calculated player, while my brother loved to feed off of his emotions and relied on his instincts and talents to play. Growing up with Joshua was extremely entertaining for me as I loved to hear him speak without thinking and say anything that popped into his head at the wrong time. Such as when he told the doctor to “stop trash talking” when he was told the fried skin of the chicken was unhealthy for him. While I on the other hand cried when I was his age because, the doctor recommended I eat more. I also believed Joshua loved spending time with me as he always seemed to calm down and seem less angry. When it was finally time for me to select which college I would attend my cheapest and therefore only option was to attend a school that was several hours away from my home. It hurt me a great deal leaving my family behind as I traveled. I quickly learned that most of the people who attended this school were very different from the people I was accustomed to back home they spoke in a weird accent and it seemed like all of them were brought into this world by people who told my parents what to do day in and day out. I still however managed to make friends and adjusted very slowly to my new home , however I soon noticed I was showing even less emotion than I usually did I was cold and distant without my new friends even  realizing. I was extremely excited when break began so that I may go back home and see if everything was as I left it. When I arrived home from a long bus ride the door was wide open along with all the windows in the house. This is strange because, my hometown is in the middle of the country and becomes very cold that time of year. As soon as I stepped in the house I was greeted by an incredible heat wave, the house was at least 40 degrees warmer than the temperature outside. My mother greeted me in the kitchen, she was genuinely happy to see me but, there was obvious traces of pain in her face. She told me that my father was not home because he was  in search of a new job due to his last job being shut down. I asked my mother about the heat wave in the house. She took me to my brother’s room where Joshua was laying down with ice on his chest. The heat was coming off of him. My mother explained that Joshua had hit a rapid growth spurt, while he also became more angry and more emotional. She also explained that one day he had cut himself when he was throwing a fit and that his blood was literally boiling  and melted a piece of the table. He became ill with fever and had been asleep for one whole day. They did not have the money to take him to the hospital since she was the only one working. Since I was around my brother I actually felt emotion and was not numb, I began to cry as guilt fell over my body like a side effect of the extreme heat. I knew it was my fault for not being home so that my cold body could protect Joshua from himself. I immediately tried to hug my brother like the day he was born to cool him off and so that he may return to normal. It burned attempting to hug him, I knew in that moment that it was too late I began to cry. The next thing I remember was waking that night when my father woke me up he had found a new job. I went to joshua’s room where I began to weep again. That was the last form of emotion I have felt in my life even now as I write this story I am not sad by my brother’s death. My brother’s funeral required a special metal casket that would not burn like the wooden ones as heat continued to radiate from my brother even after his death. I felt nothing not even a wince of pain as the metal box was dropped into the earth and I no longer felt the warmth of my brother. The priest mistaking my lack of tears for disbelief attempted to hug me, he screamed in pain as the mild case of frostbite affected his skin. At that moment I realized I no longer could go back to school.I stayed at home where  my parents died of a severe case of pneumonia during the summer. I still felt no emotion.

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The unbelievable story of Latin America: The use of Magical Realism in 100 years of solitude and The House of Spirits    

Magical Realism is the acceptance of magical or spiritual properties that are are  accepted as normal or go unquestioned by the characters in a piece of literature. Magical Realism has found great success when used by Latin American  Authors especially when Magical Realism is used to emphasize a theme in a story such as the history of Latin America.  In this paper I will explore the use of Magical Realism in both 100 Years of Solitude and “The House of the Spirits” . I will try to explain how both authors Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Isabel Allende use Magical Realism as a way to explain the very complex history of Latin America such as the coup d’etat in Chile or the neo-colonization of American fruit companies in South America. In both stories the authors write about something very close to them.

Magical Realism has found great success in Latin America from a variety of authors from Isabel Allende in Chile,to  Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Colombia, and Laura Esquivel in Mexico. Since Magical Realism has found success through out the very diverse landscape of Latin America, we must evaluate what makes Magical Realism so appealing to these different cultures. I believe part of  the answer lies in the history of these cultures. All Latin American countries have experienced both colonization and neo-colonization  and the effects of both.Neo- Colonization in this paper will be defined as  the economic and political policies by which a great power indirectly maintains or extends its influence over other areas or people, and colonization is defined as   control by one country over another area and its people I believe it is Magical Realism’s ability to both explain the trouble with colonization and neo-colonization while

presenting it as a parody. The absurdity of the situations and hard to believe story plots force the reader to focus on the deeper meaning of the text and question what the text is actually saying.

In “100 years of solitude” by Gabriel Garcia marquez we can see clear examples of magical realism which contains a deeper meaning. An example being when Jose Arcadio Segundo attempts to organize all of the workers in the banana plantation. The absurdity comes when the banana plantation tells the workers they were invited to a meeting, but are instead massacred. All the bodies are put into a train by the soldiers including Jose Arcadio Segundo to be dumped into the sea. Jose Arcadio Segundo survives the train and walks back to Macondo where he discovers nobody remembers the death of the workers. Jose Arcadio Segundo slowly goes crazy from this information. The fact that a massacre so large would go undetected in the region where it happened seems extremely unrealistic. Gabriel Garcia Marquez does this in order to represent a real life event. The “Banana Massacre” occurred on December 6, 1928 when an estimated 47- 2,000 people were murdered by the Colombian Army after US officials and the United Fruit Company threaten to invade Colombia with the US Marines. This form ofpressuring is clearly an example of Neo-Colonization. Marquez uses the absurdity of the whole town forgetting a large scale event to create a social comment about the event. Marquez is trying to speak on the great injustice that happened to his country men and women who simply wanted better working conditions, and instead were senselessly murdered. Marquez also makes the point that the murderers never really faced any real punishment at all. A second would be the gypsies and the things they bring to Macondo such as magnifying glasses, magnets, and flying carpets. The magical realism obviously comes from  the fact that flying carpets are presented as a normal everyday thing such as a magnifying glass or magnet. Marquez does this on purpose in order to   demonstrate another effect of colonization or New-Colonization which is the arrival of new technology and other cultures to South America specifically by the Europeans. The Gypsies are an ethnic group which were originally from Eastern Europe. Marquez uses this group to represent all outside influences and their gifts both magical and non magical are  used to represent technology and cultures which affected the people of South America. The absurdity

of the gypsies traveling that great of distance in order to demonstrate magical items to a small town in South America is Marquez’s way of commenting on both the positive and negative affects of the outside influences that were introduced by colonization and Neo-Colonization. Marquez is saying that the influences were not necessarily a bad thing and also not necessarily a good thing. He does this by giving us the example of the magnifying glass which by itself would be a good technological advance until Jose Arcadio Buendia  tries to weaponize it and sell it to the military. This is to show the negative side of the outside influence. Marquez wants us to understand that these outside influences definitely had a strong part in affecting South America.

The novel “The House Of The Spirits” by Isabel Allende also demonstrates some sort of political and social commentary by using magical realism . We see this when Tres Marias experiences a horrible ant plague which is unable to be controlled by anybody including “Mr. Brown” a short white man who specializes in insecticides. A very old indigenous man named Pedro Garcia is given the opportunity to get rid of the ants out of pure desperation. He successfully gets rid of them by communicating with them and “showing them” the way off of the property. The absurdity of an old man speaking to ants and getting rid of them by simply showing them a different path is Isabel Allende creating Social Commentary. The Social Commentary is over the idea that the outside influences and ideas, which in this case are represented by Mr. Brown are not necessarily better than the old traditional South American way of  doing this. This comment is based on the effects of Neo-Colonization and Colonization.

In both novels there are examples of the author using Magical Realism in order to create some sort of political or social commentary by saying something absurd and making the reader focus on what the author wants them to focus on. I believe this is why Magical Realism is so widely popular in South America it allows the author to make a statement about the past or present state of things without sounding too direct or “preachy” it paradizes the situation in order for the lesson to be entertaining  while still making the reader think about things by focusing on the absurdity of the situation. This gives South American authors the perfect way to express their ideas over Colonization and Neo-Colonization which is a popular subject since those two factors are strong shapers of the current political and social situation in South America.

Works Cited

  1. Thomas Edison Alwa The New trends in Latin American bloom “Magical Realism” in the Novel of Gabriel García Márquez’ One Hundred Years of Solitude – a Postcolonial Study.

`    Mustanir Ahmad Magical Realism, Social Protest and Anti-Colonial Sentiments in One Hundred Years of Solitude: An Instance of Historiographic Metafiction

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A Comparison of 100 Years of Solitude, The Post Man, and Pablo Neruda’s Poetry

In the 4 pieces of art, “100 Years of Solitude” by Gabriel Garcia Marquez, The Post Man directed by Michael Radford, “Walking Around” by Pablo Neruda, and “I Like for you to be still” by Pablo Neruda we see clear examples of metaphors. In this post I am going to define metaphor as “two objects or ideas being compared either specifically mentioned or implied”. These metaphors serve several different purposes depending on the context in which they are used. However, in all 4 pieces of art we can see that some metaphors are used to further characterize either characters in the art or people in general. The characterization of the characters is used to then emphasize a theme.

An example from 100 Years of Solitude is the arrival of the gypsies and their scientific equipment at the beginning of the book such as magnets. The things that are being compared in this metaphor are the gypsies representing outside influences on Southern America such as European Culture. The scientific items like the magnifying glass are used to represent the technology and ideas the outside influences brought with them. This metaphor is used by Gabriel Garcia Marquez in order to help characterize Jose Arcadio Buendia as an energetic person that easily becomes obsessive into new ideas. We see this the way he spends nights and so much effort trying to develop weapons from the magnifying glass or find gold with the magnets. This characterization of Jose Arcadio Buendia is used to develop the theme of being careful when introduced to new ideas and technology. This is especially clear when we find out the way he turns crazy and has to be tied up to a tree until his death

When we see the poem “Walking Around” by Pablo Neruda a clear metaphor is when he uses the line “Kill a nun with a blow on the ear”. The nun represents society, since nuns are sometimes thought up as being strict we can see the representation of society as one that is very strict and demanding. The blow on the ear is a metaphor for Neruda somehow getting back at society or disrupting the order of things. Since he says he would take pleasure in this act we can clearly characterize him as a person who is tired with society and the order of things. This helps drive the theme of the poem which is life is difficult and sometimes we get tired along the way.

The poem “I Like for you to be still” by Pablo Neruda is different from the previous one but still has plenty examples of metaphors if we focus on the metaphor where he compares his lover to the night sky. We can see that he means she is very beautiful when she is still. We can use this metaphor to characterize the lover as a beautiful woman that is being still at the moment. We can also characterize the narrator as being someone who is at peace in his current situation. This characterization helps Neruda deliver his theme of appreciating certain moments of peace such as laying down next to your lover and appreciating the people you spend these moments with.

In the movie “The Postman” we can see the usage of metaphors all throughout the movie, but I want to focus on the specific metaphor when Marco recites Poetry to Beatrice, and in his poem he compares Beatrice’s smile to a butterfly. This obviously characterizes Beatrice as being beautiful and characterizes Marco as being in love. However, if we look deeper into the context of the story we can see that Marco is now a person who know what he wants. This is huge because at the beginning we see Mario as a person who seems lost even at home with his father. The first time we see Mario, the hero of “The Postman,” we think perhaps he is retarded (Ebert). This leads us to think that something has changed Marco. I think the change in Marco came from his new friendship with Pablo Neruda. “with Mario providing a sounding board for Neruda’s ideas and Neruda teaching Mario about poetry and its relationship to life.” (Berardinelli). The relationship with Pablo sort of woke Mario up from his simple life he now wanted to write, get the girl, and eventually stand up to the government that used the people. So in the end the simple metaphor comparing a butterfly to Beatrice’s smile helps emphasize the theme that friendships can change someone’s life for the better and create a better future

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‘Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’

“Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios” and House of Spirits”


In the movie “Mujeres al borde de un ataque de nervios” directed by Pedro Almodóvar and the novel “The House of the Spirits” by Isabel Allende, we see common themes such as the idea of people reacting solely off of emotion. An example of this being Esteban striking Clara out of anger when she tells him that what Pedro Tercero and Blanca did was no different than what he did when he was younger except for that fact that their daughter is actually in love. In the movie we see Pepa desperately trying to reach Ivan even if that includes constantly checking her message machine and throwing her phone in desperation. In both cases we see a character acting on feelings of frustration. In Esteban’s case his frustration arrives from his pride that has been damaged by his daughter’s actions of sleeping with a peasant. In Pepa’s case she “is losing her mind because extramarital lover Ivan” (Howe). Pepa’s anxiety from the recent news of pregnancy is than added to by her friend’s legal issues. In both cases the way these characters react to their emotions helps the director and author create characterization which is used to create similar deeper meaning in the individual works. In Esteban’s case his violent reaction and his violent past characterize him as a quick tempered person that is very dangerous to the people around him. This negative characterization of Esteban and men in general help Allende create the deeper message that men have oppressed women physically in Latin America. In Almodovar’s case the way Pepa reacts in desperation to her difficult situation creates sympathy for her, because most of the audience can identify with her situation of ending a relationship we feel sympathy towards her. This sympathy helps Almodovar send the message that men are the complicated ones even though they call women crazy. “Men being historically associated with rationality, straight forwardness and logic; Women with unpredictable emotions, outbursts and madness”(Nunn).



Works Cited:

Nunn, Gary. “The Feminisation of Madness Is Crazy | Mind Your Language.” The Guardian. Guardian News and Media, 08 Mar. 2012. Web. 22 Sept. 2016. 

Howe, Desson. “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown’.” Washington Post. The Washington Post, 23 Dec. 1988. Web. 22 Sept. 2016. 

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The movie and The book

Jacob Flores

Professor Patrick Duffey





Comparing Volver and House of Spirits


In the movie “Volver” directed by Pedro Almodóvar and the novel “House of spirits” by Isabel Allende we see several connections between them such as the close relationships between women characters, and the negative portrayal of men. In Allende’s novel we see several instances where relationships between women especially those between mothers and daughters. We see an example of this when Clara and Nivea become closer after Clara decides to no longer speak after Rosa’s death. Nivea fills the silence by telling Clara stories ab2016out her youth and taking her daughter everywhere including her suffragette events. This continues later when Clara has Blanca and instantly loves her child despite her weird appearance when she is born. She even keeps in contact with her daughter when she moves to the North with her husband. We can compare this to Raimunda and Paula who have an extremely close relationship that is strengthened by the traumatic event of Pablo’s murder. The daughter and mother develop something of a friendship which is explained when a review said the movie was about “the importance of friendship in the face of even the harshest of circumstances” (Liebman). Even though Raimunda did not have a good relationship with her mom due to her father’s sexual abuses we can interpret Raimunda and her aunt’s relationship as a substitute. This is why Raimunda feels so incline to worry about her aunt when she becomes senile. I believe the women and their daughter’s in both works are close due to the way they are oppressed by the men in their lives. Both works are structured so that men are negatively portrayed and we are forced to feel pity towards the women. As previously mentioned the movie gives us the character of Pablo, who is Raimunda’s husband, Pablo is portrayed as a drunk, jobless, extremely sexual, and a rapist and from the beginning we feel sympathy towards the mother and daughter characters. A critic even described the characters as“straying husbands, predators and dead bodies”(Scott). This is similar to the description of Esteban who is portrayed as a rapist, violent, and prideful. This description of Esteban makes us feel sympathy for the women who have to deal with him. The two books are similar in the way the women stick together in order to cope with their male oppressors and the problems that stem from them.









Works cited:

Scott, A. O. “The Darkest of Troubles in the Brightest of Co.” New York Times.                                                           . Web. 03 Nov. 2006.

Liebman, Martin. “Volver.” Blu-ray.., 08 Aug. 2016. Web.

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Paragraph on “The House of Spirits”




Isabel Allende’s “The House of Spirits” is a book filled with political and social commentary.One  of the biggest examples of this is her commentary on the relationship between males and females during the beginning of the twentieth century in South America. She specifically speaks about the oppression males direct towards the females. We can see several examples of this for example we can see Esteban’s cruelty towards women in his life such as Pancha who he rapes on multiple occasions, and the way he ridicules his wife’s suffragette movement.Even though we can view the suffragette movement as a way women are trying to fight back the oppression, however the book offers us some insight into how the oppression has become a social norm. We see this in the way the peasants react to the teachings of Clara.  “Since when has a man not beaten his wife?”, and” “Since when has  a woman ever done the same things as a man”. As we can see from the quotes physical violence towards women is fully accepted if not encouraged. Since the peasant women in the scene are not part of the oligarchy, we can view them as a representation for the common viewpoint held by the majority in South America during this time. In chapter five however we can see a subtle shift in this position, in chapter five there is a shift in the generation we are focusing on. We are now focusing on Blanca and the love she feels for Pedro Tercero. We can see this as shift because, we see Blanca continuing to see Esteban Tercero even though she fully is aware that her father hates him and his Marxist beliefs. A few generations ago this disrespect for the patriarch would be unheard of, but since this is happening in a new generation we can view this as a change in the times and traditions.  

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Common characteristics between “Pan’s labyrinth” and “Como agua para chocolate”.



When comparing “Como Agua para Chocolate” by Laura Esquivel and “Pan’s Labyrinth” directed by Guillermo Del Toro. You have to identify your perception of Del Toro’s extremely ambiguous movie. In this case I am seeing the things Ophelia sees as being real. In this case we can call it an obvious case of magical realism. That is the central thing these two works share in common. They both utilize examples  of magical  realism in order to demonstrate an important theme. In Tita’s example the magical realism involving food externalizes her internal emotion such as her love for Pedro and anger towards her sister for marrying him and threatening her. This allows us to see the theme that true love eventually conquers all. In the case of “Pan’s Labyrinth” the magical realism involving the magical creatures allows us to see the theme on the importance of decency and believing.



UNION STATION tl 101814 0161fHey my name is Jacob Flores. Originally from Kansas City, Kansas.I am now a student at Austin College.

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