Magical realism

In the three texts we have examined that were written by women, two by Isabel Allende and one by Laura
Esquivel, there are many occasions where the writers apply, whether they consciously know it or not, the
theories of Simone De Beauvoir and Helen Cixous discussed in class. Think particularly of the way women,
and men, are represented in the novels, their agency (ability to do things and help themselves and others),
their choices, their freedom to make those choices, and the authority which they may possess or not possess.
Think about how they could have been written differently if a man had been writing. Consider, perhaps, similar
characters between the two novels, or sharply different characters between two or more works that you could
contrast with each other. Fundamentally, examine the myths that are being either affirmed or negated through
the writing of these women: what stereotypes (myths) are being confirmed? What stereotypes are being
shattered? What normative gender roles are being re-imagined? How are positions of power inverted or
reversed from their traditional spaces?
Prompt:
Is there at least one example in which one of the women writers, Isabel Allende or Laura Eszuivel (or both?)
conform with, or do not conform with, the theories of myth and the writing of women espoused by Simone De
Beavoir and Helene Cixous? In about 1000 words, please elaborate the specific theoretical angle you will be
applying to the text and at least one example from the novel(s) that illustrate how the author applied this theory.
Allende, Isabel, and Magda Bogin. The House of the Spirits : A Novel. First Atria paperback edition., Atria
Paperback, 2015.
Allende, Isabel, and Margaret Sayers Peden. Island beneath the Sea : A Novel. 1st ed., Harper, 2010.
Esquivel, Laura. Like Water for Chocolate: A Novel in Monthly Installments with Recipes, Romances, and
Home Remedies. United States, Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group, 2002.
De Beavoir, Simone. “Myths.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 3rd ed., edited by Peter Simon,
W. W. Norton & Company, New York, 2018. Pp. 1214 – 1221.
Cixous, Helene. “The Laugh of the Medusa.” The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism, 3rd ed., edited by
Peter Simon, W. W. Norton & Company, New Y

Sample Solution

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