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Uko Okon MA Applied Project: 'The Myth of Progress and White Supremacy: How One Hundred Years of Solitude and The Tin Drum use Magical Realism to Challenge Historical Narratives'

Committee: Elizabeth Horan (Chair), Jonathan Hope.  ::  ABSTRACT: The Tin Drum (1959) and One Hundred Years of Solitude (1967) use magical realism to create alternative historical narratives that address gaps in understanding underlying western epistemologies, gaps that grew into racist fear and genocidal violence, as seen in the inhumanities of Nazi Germany and colonialism. This project considers the duality of the fantastical and the real to argue that Günter Grass and Gabriel García Márquez use magical realism to challenge myths of progress and white supremacy associated with the history in their regions. Günter Grass uses fantastical elements, such as Oskar Matzerath’s drum, to address history that Germans wanted to forget and illustrates that everyday Germans were implicated in the growth of the racist ideologies that led to the Holocaust. García Márquez uses hyperbolic specificity to liberate his novel from the standards of reality. When fantastical elements are juxtaposed alongside reality, the real and fantastical blur in such a way that encourages the reader to accept both with equal legitimacy. Where García Márquez challenges western notions of reason by depicting democracy, capitalism and the promise of progress as myths, Günter Grass’s narrative as told by Oskar Matzerath from an insane asylum, exposes European rationality, science and sophistication as delusions. 

This is a virtual presentation via Zoom:

Password: E0yTD3

Samantha Franze
Monday, Nov. 29, 2021, 12:30 p.m.