In the very first chapter of One Hundred Years of Solitude, José Arcadio Buendía discovers a new kind of faith in the science of Melquíades's gadgets. After his unsuccessful experiments with magnets and solar warfare, he's dazed by the revelation that the earth is round, "'like an orange.'" Úrsula, his wife, reacts with anger, "'If you have to go crazy, please go crazy all by yourself!'" she exclaims. Later, in the face of the persistence of these "'mad, gypsy ideas'," Úrsula takes the children off to pray.

Yet, to the citizens of Macondo, a magic carpet is no more or less mysterious than magnets, an icebox and a telescope. Nor is a wondrously preserved ship carpeted in flowers, at the far side of a darkly enchanted region of forest, any more explicable for the Buendías than the miraculous excitement of lust, or the wonders of a pianola. This conjunction of science and magic, of wonder and the ordinary, is more than novelty. Science becomes magic—and the magical becomes logical—thanks to the narrator's careful story spinning and the reader's willingness to accept it.

Unpack these other contradicting forces:

For more information about magical realism, go to MARGIN: Exploring Modern Magical Realism.


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