Love and Work in Sara Gruen's 'Water for Elephants'

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One very interesting trend in contemporary literature is a combination of literary realism with a more modern approach. Literary realism tends to focus on the everyday experience of normal, everyday people who often do extraordinary things. The postmodern movement reacted to earlier trends, and tends to be more anti-establishment. Combining these to allow for a great deal of contextual symbolism and a sort of wonder within everyday life. This genre, revealed in the 2006 book Water for Elephants and subsequent movie of the same name, can be understood and exemplified in the term "magical realism." Within this genre, there are times when serendipitous, magical things happen in normal settings. The true power of this genre seems to lie in the juxtaposition of the two elements magic or wonder and reality all within a setting that could be construed as banal in which no one would expect anything extraordinary. However, contrary to what one might expect, the basic idea of this juxtaposition is not simply to entertain with wonder, but to provide a greater insight into the possibilities that the world has to offer, or the manner in which the individual can transform themselves, and the lives of others, from the mundane to the wondrous. Besides symbols, then, one can also move into the belief that not everything can be explained in a rational or logical manner some things simply transcend what many construe as "normalcy." A superb way to think of this comes from author and scientist

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