One of the most artistic ways in which both reality and fiction can be used hand in hand is when the author of a piece of literature seeks to outline some not so apparent aspects of the narrative using magical realism to bring into light the essence of the story and evoke in depth analysis. ‘Like Water for Chocolate’ is a narrative that revolves around Tita whose feelings and emotions have been supressed and even hurt to the point that as a young, she girl seeks to get rid of the pressure by indulging in cooking. The story of Tita is narrated to the reader by her niece. On the other hand, ‘Life of Pi’ is a story about a young man who narrates a painful period in his childhood when he was forced to watch his family die and look for ways to survive in a boat with only animals as companions. In the two stories the authors significantly use magic realism in order to explain to outline how the characters take advantage of certain circumstances to make their existence bearable in face of stressful situations, to emphasize the actual emotions felt by a character by distorting reality so as to give the reader an in depth understanding of the situation and to bring out various themes within a literal piece in order to provide the reader with an understanding of various circumstances experienced by the characters and thereby underscoring the essence of the story.
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Magical realism can be used to demonstrate how in stressful situations characters can resort to unlikely solutions just to quench their desperation and hopelessness. In such circumstances the author transforms the reality in order to demonstrate how characters deal with stressful circumstances. In the ‘Like Water for Chocolate’the author outlines that Tita due to feelings of compassion and love for the baby delivered by Rosaura she manages to produce milk for the baby. It is quite unnatural for a person who has never even given birth to produce milk under any circumstances. The use of this unnatural occurrence is used by the author to bring out the emotional attatchement that Tita had developed towards Rosaura’s baby to the point that it surpasses the aspects of reality moving closer to magic. During this period Tita was experiencing loneliness after the love of her life Pedro was forced to marry Tita’s sister. On setting her eyes on the baby right after it is born Tita finds satisfaction in loving the baby to the extent that she provides for the baby milk. Tha author writes that “…baby’s cries fiiled the empty space in Tita’s heart.” (Esquivel, 180). In the same regard, in ‘Life of Pi,’ Pi attempts to reconcile reality and the provisions of religion just to make the circumstances he is bearable. Having been left with a hungry tiger, it would have only been natural for the tiger to have devoured Pi instead of waiting for Pi to provide it with fish. However, by the personification of the tiger Pi considers the tiger as having the power of reason and even gives the tiger a vioce and a human name. (Martel, 128)
Reality distortion is where the author uses reality but alters it in such a way as to bring out some specific important aspect. In ‘Like Water for Chocolate’the author uses cooking which is actually a normal occurrence but distorts it in such a way that the activity ceases to be just cooking alone but describes the emotions and passions burning within the character of Tita. From an early age Tita is compelled to find comfort in cooking but as the author describes it she finds more than just comfort. For Tita cooking becomes some sort of magic that she uses as therapy for herself due to her situation and as a way to hypnotise her adverseries. This is demonstrated when after eating Tita’s recipe of ‘Quail in Rose Petal Sauce’ the guests are consumed by feelings of lust. (Esquivel, 183) This is actually substantiated by the fact that Tita’s recipes are secret making it look like they were some form of magical concotion. In the ‘life of Pi’ the author also uses reality distortion when he outlines that at some point during the ordeal, Pi was so hungry that he even ate a shoe. Eating when somebody is hungry is actually a natural occurrence but eating a show would not even be satisfying let alone being unpleasant. (Martel, 189).
Merging Reality with Unreality
In ‘Like Water for Chocolate’the author uses Tita’s cooking as a way of bringing out the theme of conflict within the book. The conflict between Tita and her mother is due to the fact that Tita’s mother has become the single reason for Tita’s failure to marry Pedro. This fact is brought when the author despaite of informing us of Tita’s mastery in cooking she is unable to cook a good meal for her mother. Instead the meal she cooks for her mother is so bad that it makes her unwell. Cooking is a reality but in this case it has also been merged with the brewing of poisonous concotion just to outline the hatred existing between Tita and her mother. The hatred is as a result of the conflict that arose from the refusal of Tita’s mother to let her marry the love of her life and instead condemn her to loneliness and desperation. (Esquivel, 216) In the same way in ‘Life of Pi’ the author merges reality with unreality to bring out the theme of conflict in the book. Conflict exists within Pi when he is faced by a desperate situation. By personifying the tiger, Pi is given the chance to contemplate whether to kill the tiger or look for ways to co-exist with it. Killing the tiger would condemn Pi to loneliness while keeping the tiger would mean that Pi would have to live with the danger of being eaten. Eventually, Pi chooses companionship over his security. (Martel, 146).