Death and Metaphor in Cien años de soledad, La casa de los espíritus and Paula

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Publication Date

Spring 5-22-2019




In the article I describe the ways in which we have created elaborate ways in making death illusory, so as to avoid confronting mortality. In particular I describe the way in which authors, too, circumvent the terror of death and the accompanying corpse by using words that emphasize the heroic or peaceful aspects of the character’s end or by employing euphemisms that invoke a contrived beauty. Literary descriptions of corpses, especially those of young female ones, frequently encourage readers to see the body through trope, as something other than death, in which the deceased turn into sleeping beauties or otherworldly celestial splendors—transformations that suppress death’s ubiquitous and threatening presence. This article briefly analyzes the representation of death and the dead body in Cien años de soledad (1967) by Gabriel García Márquez to pave the way for a comprehensive examination of Isabel Allende’s novel La casa de los espíritus (1982) and her memoir Paula (1994), both of which draw from García Márquez’s novel. Collectively, the texts underscore the frailty of human life but quickly mask death’s threat by employing hyperbolic metaphors and analogies skewed in degrees that make characters’ deaths implausible and unreal. Because Allende and García Márquez more often describe female corpses than male ones, this article in particular analyzes the metaphoric language used to describe these female corpses, which are often transformed into mythic goddesses, sirens, or holy virgins, or transmogrified into foodstuffs or other non-human entities.


Publisher Acknowledgment:

This is the publisher's pdf. The version of record appears here: Serrano, C. (2019). Death and Metaphor in Cien años de soledad, La casa de los espíritus and Paula. Latin American Literary Review, 46(91). DOI: http://doi.org/10.26824/lalr.63

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