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Magical Realism of Julio Cortazar Literature

Julio Cortazar together with Borges, Garcia-Marques and Asturias began something that became a great boom or El Boom in Latin American literature. The generation of talented writers and the appearance of magical realism made Latin American literature popular all over the world. In his works Cortazar goes beyond sharply detailed realism, at some point the reality of his characters undergoes a mysterious influence of some magical forces. This is what makes the works of Cortazar differ from stories of Traven and Ruflo. Cortazar in his stories explores the reality and its nature, he wonders if our reality is the only one possible or are there other dimensions? Can these different realities influence one another? He has a very deep thinking philosophical mind.

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I enjoy reading mystery books. Sometimes I feel how they influence me; I get caught in the events happening in the imaginary world of the book, my heart beats faster, it feels like I am experiencing that reality much sharper than the actual world around me. As Cortazar wrote, I “disengage myself line by line from all that surrounds me”.

“Continuity of Parks” starts as a realistic story, a day of a business worker relaxing with a novel in his armchair and ends in a mesmerizingly scary way. The man’s reality mixes together with the reality of the book he is reading. The merge starts with the phrase “the illusion took hold of him almost at once” and in the end he finds himself the victim of a murderer he is reading about. I think the ending of the novel is clear – the murderer with “the knife in his hand” approaches “the high back of an armchair covered in green velvet” and stabs the person sitting there. At the same time, to my mind, the story of the man reading the book ends with him shutting the novel, pressing a hand to his chest and dying from a sudden heart attack.

“The Behavior of Mirrors on Easter Island” is a short prose narrative that has traits of both realistic writing and fiction. A whole life of Solomon Lemos gets flashed in two mirrors set in the east and west of Easter Island. Realistic parts of the story are the descriptions of events of Solomon’s life – the flash-backs and the flash-forward such as Lemos “in short pants on his way to school” or him as a baby “in a bathtub being enthusiastically soaped by his mummy and daddy”, and a horrifying image of him being dead of typhus. In a matter-of-fact key the story tells about the mystical phenomenon of the mirrors on the Island – their mysterious ability to “run forwards and backwards”.

Easter Island is located in the Pacific Ocean and is used by writers as a metaphor for the whole Earth (Briney par. 2). In the past its population has drained all the Island’s resources. In a way the Island lives in both past and future.

The western side reflection of me would be from my childhood, surrounded by family or playing in the yard with other children. The east side mirror would probably show me as a mature person, married and with the babies of my own.

The two characters of “The Lines of the Hand” are at the docks. The blond woman came to docks by bus, she is probably there to meet her husband, a sailor coming back home from a long journey. The line from a letter this man has read makes him very unhappy; we notice that the man’s hand is “beginning to close around the butt of a revolver”. Most likely he has learnt something from this line in a letter, something about the woman. He is going to shoot, although we do not know who he is going to shoot – her or himself?

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Works Cited

Briney, Amanda. Geography of Easter Island. 2010. Web.

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"Magical Realism of Julio Cortazar Literature." StudyCorgi, 3 Dec. 2020,

1. StudyCorgi. "Magical Realism of Julio Cortazar Literature." December 3, 2020.


StudyCorgi. "Magical Realism of Julio Cortazar Literature." December 3, 2020.


StudyCorgi. 2020. "Magical Realism of Julio Cortazar Literature." December 3, 2020.


StudyCorgi. (2020) 'Magical Realism of Julio Cortazar Literature'. 3 December.

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