Postethnic Narrative Criticism: Magicorealism in Oscar "Zeta" Acosta, Ana Castillo, Julie Dash, Hanif Kureishi, and Salman Rushdie

Postethnic Narrative Criticism: Magicorealism in Oscar "Zeta" Acosta, Ana Castillo, Julie Dash, Hanif Kureishi, and Salman Rushdie

Postethnic Narrative Criticism: Magicorealism in Oscar "Zeta" Acosta, Ana Castillo, Julie Dash, Hanif Kureishi, and Salman Rushdie

Postethnic Narrative Criticism: Magicorealism in Oscar "Zeta" Acosta, Ana Castillo, Julie Dash, Hanif Kureishi, and Salman Rushdie

Excerpt

Magical realism”: Does the term identify a subtype of basic prose epic genre, a storytelling style, or an ethnopolitics of representation? Furthermore, if identified as a subtype, is magical realism to be located within a particular cultural and historical period such as the postcolonial or postmodern, or does it transcend periodization? If magical realism differs from its next of kin—realism and the fantastic—then how does it differ and why? As more postcolonial and multiethnic writers and directors gravitate toward magical realism as a form for telling stories, does this trend allow for an identification of it as an ethnopoetics? Is there something about magical realism as a storytelling mode that allows an author or director to do a “better” job at destabilizing colonial and Western knowledge paradigms than, say, realism or the fantastic? Why do practitioners of magical realism commonly invent storyworlds where Firstworlds (traditionally coded as Western, metropolitan, pure, civilized, and “real”) and Thirdworlds (traditionally coded as non-Western, rural, impure, and “unreal”) fuse; why are the protagonists of those narratives usually identified as an ethnic hybrid and/or diasporic postcolonial subject? What might be the problematic relationship between an author or director representing his or her worldview through this kind of narrative and the narrators and characters depicted in them? Are magical realist authors and directors using the privilege of a cosmopolitan erudition to candy-coat the “real” experiences of peoples violently dislocated and/or submitted to brutal acts of genocide to turn a profit? What is at stake when a mainstream comes to identify ethnic American and postcolonial writers and directors as capable only of producing magical realist worlds? Who is given, as Said discusses more generally of Orientalism and the East, “the power to narrate, or to block . . .

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