The function of magical realism in contemporary women’s fiction: Jeanette Winterson's The Passion, Laura Esquivel's Like Water for Chocolate and Isabel Allende's The House of the Spirits

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2020
İnanç, Zeynep
This thesis aims to discuss the function of magical realism as an emancipatory literary mode worldwide to make the voices of the oppressed heard with reference to the novels of three contemporary women writers from different geographies, The Passion by the British Jeanette Winterson, Like Water for Chocolate by the Mexican Laura Esquivel and The House of the Spirits by the Chilean Isabel Allende. Magical realism embodies oxymoronic concepts such as the ordinary and extraordinary and displays them as a whole without detaching from the real world. Magical realism is used to allow authors a chance to express themselves against patriarchal values and oppressive regimes. In The Passion, through magical realism, Winterson transgresses the boundary between fact and fiction and it functions as a significant tool of postmodern historiographic metafiction to question the objectivity of historical knowledge imposed by the authorities, to subvert traditional gender roles constructed by the patriarchal discourse and to enable alternative histories to be verbalized. In Like Water for Chocolate, Esquivel employs magical realism to criticize the traditions against women imposed by the society. In The House of the Spirits, using magical realism, Allende criticizes the Chilean military coup and reverses the monopoly of history writing by the political power holders to demonstrate the agonies of the persecuted. This thesis claims that although these writers focus on different problems existing in their societies, through magical realism they unite to struggle against patriarchal totalizing discourse, to refute dominant notions of reality and to be the voice of the repressed.

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Citation Formats
Z. İnanç, “The function of magical realism in contemporary women’s fiction: Jeanette Winterson’s The Passion, Laura Esquivel’s Like Water for Chocolate and Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits,” Thesis (M.S.) -- Graduate School of Social Sciences. English literature., Middle East Technical University, 2020.