Short Story Author Presentations: Gabriel García Márquez Gabriel García Márquez was born March 6, 1958 in Aracataca, Colombia. He was the son Gabriel Eligio García, a telegraphist, and Luisa Santiaga Márquez de García. Shortly after Gabriel’s birth, his mother and father left home to find work (“Márquez, Gabriel”). He was raised by his maternal grandparents for the first eight years of his life (“Garcia Marquez”). A majority of the people in his area was illiterate and newspapers did not circulate meaning the townspeople relied on vallenatos - musical ballads that told tales interspersed with real people and events - to learn about current events (“Márquez, Gabriel”). These cultural songs, combined with his grandmother’s storytelling and…show more content… He died on April 17, 2014 in Mexico City, Mexico of pneumonia. Márquez is best known for his use of magical realism to express the Columbian culture but many of his works can stray from this style. (La Paz Colombiana). An example of Colombian influence in his work is the fictional town of Macondo in One Hundred Years of Solitude, which is based off Márquez’s hometown Aracataca (“Marquez Town Rebuffs Macondo Name”). The technique of magical realism uses just enough reality so that magical elements seem believable. To understand the meaning of his stories, a reader needs a “willing suspension of disbelief” or in other words the ability to forget about realism and avoid criticisms of fantasy (From Mrs. McAllister).
The short story I read, The Handsomest Drowned Man in the World, is typical of Márquez’s works because of its magical realism and the need for “willing suspension of disbelief.” The story focuses on a gigantic villager named Esteban who washes ashore on an island after drowning. The villagers arrange a funeral for the man while reflecting on his large size and feeling pity for his condition. The funeral is overdone and in the end the women throw Esteban into the ocean with various religious relics while the townspeople cry so loud it reminds one person of the stories of the sirens. They do not anchor Esteban “so that he could come back if he wished and whenever he wished.” A “willing suspension of disbelief”