Tuesday, January 19, 2010

el Palacio de los Tres Colores

Magical realism is not an entirely new genre to me. I have read a few Garcia Marquez books and other stream-of-consciousness style books. However, the genre comes to its readers in many shapes and forms. There were several elements in the "cortina amarilla/roja/negra" stories that I identified as being part of the genre. Some are more obvious than others such as the dream-like structure of the narrative and the mythical characters that are at times humans, animals, spirits, gods, and plants. There were other aspects in this series of stories that confused me though. Maybe my compañeros can help me out... I was wondering if the characters such as Guacamayo and Chinchibirín exist in all the amarilla/roja/y negra stories at once. For example, in Primera cortina amarilla, Chinchibirín asks Guacamayo to tell him about the night saying "Sí, cuéntame de la noche!" (84). In Primera cortina roja, Chinchibirín asks the same question (88) either having no recollection of asking it in the first story or more likely that these stories and characters exist at the same time and not in a chronological order per se. This would explain why lessons learnt in one story are not necessarily passed on to the same character in the following story (also allusions are sometimes made - p.95).

On a different note, something else that interested me about these stories was the character of the Guacamayo. This colourful bird plays many parts in this series of stories. He is sort of an omniscient character who watches over and listens to the action below the treetops. He takes pleasure in arousing conflict and confusion such as in in 1era cortina roja as a drunk and in 2nda cortina roja, warning Yaí of her emanating sacrificial death. There was tension not only between Cuculcán and Guacamayo but between him and Chinchibirín as well. He seems to see through the long held customs and traditions of the Maya and likes to meddle in their problems (or make problems). Although he is definitely a trouble maker, it seems his intentions are somewhat good such as warning Yaí, flor amarilla that after spending a night with Cuculcán, she would be sacrificed. It might be beneficial to learn about the Maya's symbolization of plants, flowers, and animals in order to better understand (if thats possible) the significance or the stories and characters.

Finally, I found the form of the stories to be very interesting such as the use of the three cortinas with reference to the three parts of the day - morning, afternoon, and night - in order to create three different trajectories of storytelling. The image of the guerreros shooting arrows at the cortina roja gave me a vivid visual of hundreds of warriors shooting their arrows into the reddening, late-afternoon sky. The use of colour and imagery in the stories is another theme that I would love to discuss - possibly in class - because its time for me to sign off!

1 comment:

kayohk said...

Interesting points. I found your point about the discontinuity between cortinas particularly interesting, as this is something I hadn't thought about while reading the text. I think the fact that lessons learned in one story not following over into other stories definitely reflects a sense of time and order different from Western chronology.